Pre-Clovis occupation of the Americas identified by human faecal biomarkers in coprolites from Paisley Caves, Oregon

Lisa-Marie Shillito*, Helen L Whelton, John C Blong, Dennis L Jenkins, Thomas J Connolly, Ian D Bull*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

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Abstract

When and how people first settled in the Americas is an ongoing area of research and debate. The earliest sites typically only contain lithic artifacts that cannot be directly dated. The lack of human skeletal remains in these early contexts means that alternative sources of evidence are needed. Coprolites, and the DNA contained within them, are one such source, but unresolved issues concerning ancient DNA taphonomy and potential for contamination make this approach problematic. Here we use faecal lipid biomarkers to demonstrate unequivocally that three coprolites dated to pre-Clovis are human, raise questions over the reliance on DNA methods, and present a new radiocarbon date on basketry further supporting pre-Clovis human occupation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaba6404
Number of pages8
JournalScience Advances
Volume6
Issue number29
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020

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