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archaeologists discount the theory, citing the lack of resources to support travelers on the ice sheet and the 5,000 years between the Solutrean and Clovis cultures. Genetic studies of indigenous peoples across the Americas also show the Solutrean hypothesis to be unlikely, as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and DNA haplogroups show evidence of multiple migrations from Asia, starting at about 30,000 BP.3In contrast, no study has ever shown conclusive proof of European genetic markers among the Native American population before 1492.Finally, a handful of sites across the Americas have unearthed portions dating 50,000-33,000 BCE, tens of thousands of years before the earliest coastal migration sites were established. These sites, including the earliest components of the Monte Verde site in Chile and the Topper site in South Carolina, are hotly contested by many archaeologists, who claim that the stone tools from the levels attributed to these early dates are not man-made, but natural formations. Moreover, 50,000 years BP stretches the boundaries of radiocarbon dating: as dates go further back in time, dating becomes less and less accurate, leading many more to call these early dates into further CHAPTER ONE: UNITED STATES HISTORY BEFORE COLUMBUS
PaPage | 7 question. For now, these early radiocarbon dates are largely seen as aberrations, which offer no conclusive proof of human existence in the Americas before about 20,000 years ago.1.2.3 Before You Move On...Key ConceptsCurrent estimates hold that 43-65 million people inhabited the Western hemisphere at contact. There was a great deal of cultural diversity amongst this population, including languages, social and political structures, religious rituals, and deity worship. Each of these hundreds of groups had one or more creation or origin story explaining where they came from as a people as well as their relationship to the world around them. Origin stories help to define groups as a people and form an important part of the culture.Scientific explanations of the origin of humans in the Americas focus on ways that the first people migrated to the Americas. The two most important and well-accepted of these theories are the Bering Land Bridge and the coastal migration. Most archaeologists now accept that both theories are correct, and date the earliest arrival of humans in the Americas to 20,000-14,000 BP. Each of these theories supports human migration from Asia. The Solutrean hypothesis, a more controversial theory, argues that the first humans of the Americas descended from the Solutrean culture of Europe. Genetic studies of indigenous peoples across the Americas, however, show the unlikelihood of this hypothesis.CHAPTER ONE: UNITED STATES HISTORY BEFORE COLUMBUS
PaPage | 8 1.3 THE PALEO-INDIAN ERA THROUGH THE AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION This earliest period, from the time that humans entered the Americas until about 8,000 BCE, is known as the Paleo-Indian period. During this time, humans spread throughout the Western hemisphere, supporting themselves with similar subsistence patterns and technologies. Paleo-