Researchers from the United States proposed to use data on the lipid composition of coprolites (fossilized feces) to determine which species visited a number of American caves thousands of years ago, reported in Science Advances. Using this method, scientists have confirmed that some of the coprolites in Oregon’s Paisley caves 12,2 thousand years ago left the people — and that means that some individuals of our species migrated to North America before representatives of culture Clovis.
Who of Homo sapiens first reached North America and when it was not quite clear. Several decades in the second half of the XX century among paleoanthropologists has been a popular hypothesis that it was the people of the culture of Clovis. According to genetic data, they were the ancestors of 80% of the native North American tribes. The assumption that the Clovis first came to the New world about 11 thousand years ago, was based primarily on the fact that the remains and traces of the material culture of other people almost no.
Gradually began to accumulate data on people who did not belong to the culture of Clovis and fell on the continent before — 20 or even more thousand years ago via the Bering isthmus. The ice sheet that covered Alaska and most of the territory of present-day Canada, have slowed their spread to the South, but 15-14 thousand years ago they settled in North and South America.
From people “pre-Clovis” left coprolites and stone tools, they found, in particular, in the Paisley caves in Oregon. Scientists attribute these coprolites of man as they found a distinctive DNA. However, the genetic material is particularly susceptible to contamination: in other words, human DNA could appear on the coprolites when they were extracted from the caves. Therefore, researchers from the UK and the USA, led by Ian bull (Ian Bull) from the University of Bristol has proposed to use to establish the origin of coprolites more stable compounds — lipids.