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. 2014 Jul 29;111(30):10972-7.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.1404546111. Epub 2014 Jul 14.

Human (Clovis)-gomphothere (Cuvieronius Sp.) Association ∼ 13,390 Calibrated yBP in Sonora, Mexico

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Free PMC article

Human (Clovis)-gomphothere (Cuvieronius Sp.) Association ∼ 13,390 Calibrated yBP in Sonora, Mexico

Guadalupe Sanchez et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The earliest known foragers to populate most of North America south of the glaciers [∼ 11,500 to ≥ ∼ 10,800 (14)C yBP; ∼ 13,300 to ∼ 12,800 calibrated (Cal) years] made distinctive "Clovis" artifacts. They are stereotypically characterized as hunters of Pleistocene megamammals (mostly mammoth) who entered the continent via Beringia and an ice-free corridor in Canada. The origins of Clovis technology are unclear, however, with no obvious evidence of a predecessor to the north. Here we present evidence for Clovis hunting and habitation ∼ 11,550 yBP (∼ 13,390 Cal years) at "El Fin del Mundo," an archaeological site in Sonora, northwestern Mexico. The site also includes the first evidence to our knowledge for gomphothere (Cuvieronius sp.) as Clovis prey, otherwise unknown in the North American archaeological record and terminal Pleistocene paleontological record. These data (i) broaden the age and geographic range for Clovis, establishing El Fin del Mundo as one of the oldest and southernmost in situ Clovis sites, supporting the hypothesis that Clovis had its origins well south of the gateways into the continent, and (ii) expand the make-up of the North American megafauna community just before extinction.

Keywords: Paleoindian; proboscidean.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
El Fin del Mundo with location of locality 1 (black area at east end is the excavation), nonarchaeological localities 3 and 4 (1 and 3 are in an arroyo system), and the areas of the upland Clovis camp (2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 22). Inset shows location of the site (El Fin del Mundo, FdM) in northern Mexico relative to the Clovis mammoth kills in the upper San Pedro Valley (SPV) of southern Arizona.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Schematic geologic cross-section through locality 1 (the main excavation area) south through the locality 3 island and then southwest to the uplands (Fig. 1) where diagnostic Clovis and later period archaeological materials were found on the surface of an eroded soil named “Big Red” owing to its striking color. In other localities, the Big Red soil is buried and is equivalent to upper stratum 2. Dates are means in radiocarbon years (rcy).
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
The upper bone bed in locality 1, showing bone concentrations 1 (#1) and 2 (#2), and highlighting the mandible (M). Also shown are key archaeological finds recovered in situ: C, charcoal; F, flake; P, projectile point; WB, worked bone with incised V.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.
Artifacts from locality 1: out-of-context points A (46023), B (59569), C (59342); points found in the bone bed: D (63177), E (63008), and F (62943); and rounded and incised bone G (59892).
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.
Reverse sides (A′–F′) of points in AF from Fig. 4.
Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.
The mandible from bone concentration 2, showing the molars characteristic of Cuvieronius sp. The molars have rounded cusps and are trilophodont with internal lophids simpler than external ones.

Comment in

  • Clovis at the end of the world.
    Meltzer DJ. Meltzer DJ. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Aug 26;111(34):12276-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1412945111. Epub 2014 Aug 13. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014. PMID: 25122674 Free PMC article. No abstract available.

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