TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A major discovery by a Florida State University researcher could change the way we look at the origins of man in what is now the United States.
Discoveries made in a sinkhole south of the state Capitol show that people were around about 1,500 years earlier than previously believed.
Beneath the waters of the Aucilla River about 45 minutes south of the Capitol lay some of the origins of ancient man in America.
Florida State anthropology professor Jessi Halligan and her team dived into the waters and excavated artifacts, which led to a major discovery.
"These were a big deal because they were about 14,000 years old," Halligan said. "These are remains of a mastodon."
The mastodon bones had markings on them consistent with tools that would have been used by man. Halligan and her team even unconverted a knife-like tool.
After carbon dating, the bones were found to be around 14,500 years old and the site was important. Scientists believed humans came here through Alaska from Asia.
"Since the site is 14 1/2 thousand years old and it's in Florida, which is really far from Alaska, we have to figure out a new way that people got to the Americas," Halligan said. "There was no ice-free corridor 14,500 years ago."
The important thing is, it was believed man came to the Americas 13,000 years ago. This discovery predates that by about 1,500 years, meaning we may have to rewrite the history books.
Halligan was assisted by researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of Michigan.