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Ever wondered why North America doesn't have any elephants? Scientists have the answer

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/17/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Early North American natives hunted prehistoric elephants to extinction

The Clovis people, thought by many archaeologists to be the original native Americans, hunted to extinction the precursors to modern elephants that lived alongside them in North America, new scientific evidence suggests.

A new study suggests that the earliest American natives hunted to extinction, a precursor to modern elephants.

A new study suggests that the earliest American natives hunted to extinction, a precursor to modern elephants.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
7/17/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Science, North America


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This proto-elephant species is known as the gomphothere, and until recently, scientists thought that these creatures had disappeared from North America well before the first humans showed up; but new fossil evidence does appear to show that at least one of these animals was killed by early humans around 13,400 years ago.

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"This is the first Clovis gomphothere, it's the first archaeological gomphothere found in North America ... it adds another item to the Clovis menu," says archaeologist Vance Holliday, who was a member of the dig which unearthed the fossilized animal.

Holliday and his fellow researchers are sure that it was Clovis people who killed this gomphothere, as its fossils showed signs of damage associated with the characteristic stone weaponry of the Clovis people.

"Of the seven Clovis points found at the site, four were in place among the bones, including one with bone and teeth fragments above and below. The other three points had clearly eroded away from the bone bed and were found scattered nearby," we are told.

Gomphotheres were about the same size as some modern elephants, much smaller than mammoths, the most popular elephant like creature of the Ice Age. These animals were thought to have disappeared from the continent's fossil record before humans arrived in North America, roughly 13,000 to 13,500 years ago.

Other early Americans may have also hunted the gomphotheres. As some scientists have challenged the idea that the Clovis people were the first Americans.

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