The theory goes that the first people to have travelled from Eurasia into North America did it by crossing the Bering Strait. However, a new theory, derived from a study which the journal Science Advances recently published says that these people might have followed a coastal route towards their destination. Recent analysis of bedrock, fossils and boulders from Alaska might shed some light on this interesting new theory. New geological evidence indeed shows the possibility of existence of a coastal route about 17,000 years ago. This would have allowed people to cross from Eurasia into North America while the Ice Age was still in full force.
Moreover, evidence of aquatic and terrestrial life has been also discovered, adding to the growing body of evidence. This means that those people most likely had access to food while travelling in that area. However, the team of researchers does not say clearly that humans indeed took the coastal route. But the conditions were there for this to be considered a possibility, 17,000 years ago. Back then, the massive Cordilleran Ice Sheet separated North America from Eurasia, stopping humans from arriving to the continent.
A new coastal route into North America from 17,000 years ago potentially discovered
History tells us that humans eventually travelled to North America, but experts still don’t know exactly what route they took. During the last century, experts assumed that humans travelled through a narrow, ice-free corridor. However, recent evidence debunked that theory. These retreating ice sheets did not have an ice corridor back then because it formed only about 14,000 years ago. Moreover, that strip was not accessible to humans and animals until 13,00 to 12,600 years ago. So, the timing is not right.
This is how the more recent Coastal Migration Theory, or the Kelp Highway Hypothesis, came to be. The idea is that humans took the coastal route and hugged the Beringian, Siberian and Alaskan coastlines. Eventually, they reached North America. More research is needed, but for now, this is the most believable theory.
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