Clovis Age Western Stemmed Projectile Points and Human Coprolites at the Paisley Caves

Science. 2012 Jul 13;337(6091):223-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1218443.


The Paisley Caves in Oregon record the oldest directly dated human remains (DNA) in the Western Hemisphere. More than 100 high-precision radiocarbon dates show that deposits containing artifacts and coprolites ranging in age from 12,450 to 2295 (14)C years ago are well stratified. Western Stemmed projectile points were recovered in deposits dated to 11,070 to 11,340 (14)C years ago, a time contemporaneous with or preceding the Clovis technology. There is no evidence of diagnostic Clovis technology at the site. These two distinct technologies were parallel developments, not the product of a unilinear technological evolution. "Blind testing" analysis of coprolites by an independent laboratory confirms the presence of human DNA in specimens of pre-Clovis age. The colonization of the Americas involved multiple technologically divergent, and possibly genetically divergent, founding groups.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Archaeology*
  • Caves*
  • DNA / analysis
  • Emigration and Immigration / history
  • Feces
  • Fossils*
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • North America
  • Oregon
  • Population Dynamics
  • Radiometric Dating
  • Rodentia
  • Technology / history
  • Time


  • DNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/JQ734469
  • GENBANK/JQ734473