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Did The Asteroid Cause The Extinction Of Prehistoric Native Americans? Study Reveals

First Posted: Mar 17, 2017 04:31 AM EDT

Archaeologists suggest that the prehistoric native Americans referred to as "Clovis people" may have become extinct because of the impact of asteroid around 13,000 years ago. The Clovis people existed around 13,200 to 12,900 years ago and were considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas. However, they suddenly died at the end of the last Ice Age together with other species of animals for unknown reasons.

The findings of the study were published online in the journal Scientific Reports on March 9, 2017. The research was led by archaeologists from the University of Carolina. The researchers examined 11 dig sites in North America and discovered elevated platinum in specific soil layers. This indicates that an asteroid might have impacted the region thousand years ago.

Christopher Moore, the lead author of the study stated that the visibility of elevated platinum in archaeological sites guaranteed the data reported in the past for the Younger-Dryas onset years ago in a Greenland ice core. He further said that platinum is very rare in Earth's crust. On the other hand, it is usual in asteroids and comets, as noted by RT.

The Younger-Dryas is a period of a tremendous cold atmosphere around 12,800 years ago and lasted around 1,400 years. In this period, the Clovis people and other 35 species of animals including mastodons, mammoths and saber-toothed tigers became extinct. On the other hand, they still coped and survived in the Ice Age and then suddenly vanished for an undetermined cause.

With the evidence of elevated platinum found by the archaeologists, North America might have been impacted by an asteroid. Moore said that it is continental in scale and could be global that an extraterrestrial impact or possibly an asteroid occurred.

The Clovis culture is also referred to as prehistoric Paleo-Indian culture. This culture is characterized by the creation of "Clovis points," which are fluted stone spear points and unique bone and ivory tools. It is reported that Clovis sites have been discovered in the United States, Mexico, Central America and northern South America.

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