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Mc Nabb points to the lack of corroborating tools, such as well-made stone tools like flakes or scrapers, which are typically found at butchery sites of the same age or older.

Luis Borrero, an archaeologist in Argentina who studies first peopling sites, wants to know about any information that “does not fit within their interpretation.” or its part, the team has invited other researchers to take a look at the artifacts.

hat’s more, the authors claim, the fossils were found in fine-grained sediments, making it unlikely that a storm or landslide had deposited the rocks next to the mastodon.

Finally, geologists used a technique called uranium-thorium radioisotope dating to put the age of the bones at 121,000 to 140,000 years old.

“If you are going to push human antiquity in the New World back more than 100,000 years in one fell swoop, you’ll have to do so with a far better archaeological case than this one,” says David Meltzer, who studies the origins of the first Americans at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

, the position of the bones, the clusters of stones nearby, and the fracture patterns on the bones all point to someone bludgeoning the mastodon—perhaps for food or to use the bones as tools.

Radiometric dates showed the mastodon had been buried for about 130,000 years.

If correct, this means that ancient humans were in coastal California many tens of thousands of years before they were thought to be in the Americas.

“It’s a huge claim,” says John Mc Nabb, a Paleolithic archaeologist at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, who was not part of the study.

The gap between living and dead wood was first breached by A. Douglas while testing prehistoric beams in ruins near Show Low, Arizona. Experiments show the trees can grow more than one ring in unusual seasons.

Of course, "modern" evolutionists have held these dates up for ridicule, but the Bristlecone pine research may well verify them. Some experiments have even suggested that many periods of time could have been characterized by the growth of one extra ring every one to four years, with evidence in controlled laboratory situations showing extra ring growth tied to short drought periods.

They also intend to reconsider broken limb bones in collections across Southern California and re-examine the material collected from other sites.

In the past, paleontologists and archaeologists may not have been looking for the right clues in the right places, says Holen.