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How did humans reach the American continent thousands of years before Christopher Columbus?

How did humans reach the American continent thousands of years before Christopher Columbus?

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How did humans first reach the American continent before it was discovered by Christopher Columbus? Did they cross the Bering Strait during the Ice Age on foot? Or did they sailboats across the Atlantic? And when did they get there? 10 thousand or 40 thousand years ago?

Scientists have put in a lot of effort, done a lot of research, and used the latest technologies to find out the answers to these questions, but the arrival of the first humans remains a puzzle.


Humans colonized the American continent thousands of years ago

Although the title of discoverer of the American continent is attributed to the Italian traveler Christopher Columbus, this information is wrong, as groups of people reached this continent thousands of years before Christopher Columbus, these groups formed what is known today as the Native American peoples.

When the European colonizers realized that they did not reach Asia, but rather discovered a new continent, questions immediately arose about the original inhabitants of this continent, who are they? And where did they come from? And how did they get here?

Some believed they were the remnants of ancient Jewish tribes displaced by the Assyrian invasion, while others believed they were the people of the mythical continent of Atlantis.

All of these hypotheses seem absurd today because we know that the ancestors of the Native Americans arrived from Asia through the Bering Strait that separates Siberia in Asia and Alaska in the Americas, most likely at the end of the last Ice Age.


The last ice age

The last Ice Age began about 110,000 years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago. During this era, temperatures decreased and huge amounts of water froze on the planet.

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This led to a decrease in the level of the seas and oceans and the exposure of the bottom of the Bering Strait, whose depth does not exceed 50 meters, and vast land with an area of thousands of square kilometers was submerged in water. This region is known In the name of the Beringia Bridge.

This newly created map shows what the Beringia region looked like in the last Ice Age, about 18,000 years ago. This bright green land is now submerged underwater.

In the late last Ice Age, some areas of the Beringia Bridge were similar to the plains of the Asian tundra, dry and very cold lands in which diverse animals such as mammoths, bears and caribou lived and grazing, these lands were traversable on foot, and through which some human groups crossed to the American continent.

“The Beringia Land Bridge has been exposed and submerged several times in the past three million years,” Julie Brigham, a professor, and chair of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, told Live Science. A continental landscape, few places on our planet are similar to this complex geographical area.”

After the end of the last ice age, huge amounts of ice melted, causing the seas and oceans to rise and flooding the Beringia Bridge crossed by human groups.


New studies, tantalizing results

The arrival of humans to the American continent remains a controversial topic, as until now, there is no scientific consensus about when the first humans arrived in America, and what path they took to get there.

The most accepted theory in the scientific community and supported by most scientists is the Beringia Bridge theory, but a recent study published in the American journal Nature provided new evidence. In this study, scientists studied the remains of a mastodon, an extinct species of mammoth, found near San Diego, California in 1992, these remains are about 130,000 years old.

Scientists have found that the bones were broken using a stone base used as an anvil and smaller stones used as a hammer. These primitive stone tools may have been made by humans or perhaps human ancestors. If true, it means that humans reached the American continent much earlier than previously thought.

The remains of a mastodon were found in 1992 during roadworks in the suburbs of San Diego, California, USA

Most scientists look suspiciously at the results of this recent study, and many want to analyze its results accurately because it shows that humans were present on the American continent at the same time as humans left Africa. This means that humans reached the American continent before they reached Asia or Europe.

Another hypothesis is that the first humans to reach the American continent came from Europe, where they crossed the North Atlantic Ocean during hunting. This theory is supported by the fact that primitive stone tools found on the eastern American coast are very similar to those made by humans in Spain. during the Stone Age.


What do the natives of the American continent say?

It is interesting to know that many Native American tribes flatly reject the idea that their ancestors came from elsewhere. They believe that they are the first humans created on Earth. And that their ancestors migrated from the American continent to other continents and not the other way around.

In addition, most Native Americans reject the theory of evolution, believing that they as humans were created as they are on American soil, and do not believe any accounts or hypotheses provided by scientists. to the graves of their ancestors.

The matter was further complicated in 1990, when the US Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which mandates that all human remains of any origin must at all times be treated with dignity and respect, and stipulates that human remains that have been found on state or tribal lands owned by descendants of indigenous descent and tribes.

The passage of this law led to disagreements between scholars and the indigenous people, as it was used by the indigenous people to prevent scholars from studying ancient human remains, although many of these remains are too old to be attributed to any tribe. Also, many tribes migrated from their original lands to new lands after the arrival of European colonizers.

Now many archaeologists feel trapped and have no freedom to conduct scientific research and studies. In some cases, scientists found skeletons dating back thousands of years and wanted to study them, but the indigenous tribes claimed that these bones belong to their ancestors and that they are only several hundred years old.

They allow radiocarbon studies to be conducted to determine their age, and they have prevented DNA tests that would provide accurate clues about its origin.

How did humans reach the American continent thousands of years before Christopher Columbus?

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