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The QUIVER TM
Collecting On The WebTM
July 21, 2014
In This Issue:
What's A "Gomphothere"?
A Recent Archaeological
Excavation In Northwest
Mexico Sheds Intense Light
On The Question ... And Also
Shows Us Who Ate The Last
And Check Out This Crystal
Spear Point From This Latest
Indiana Jones Would Be
For Collectors Of Ancient & Authentic Arrowheads ...
Every Week A Point Or Two, Perhaps More, In:
(c) 2013. All rights reserved.
F. Scott Crawford.
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Recent Archaeological Discoveries In Northwestern Mexico Show That
The Clovis Culture Could Be Even Older Than Previously Established By
RadioCarbon Dating ... And, For The First Time, Finds Clovis Spear
Points And Other Tools Intermingled With Another Relative Of The
Elephant ... The "Gomphothere" ... Which Was Thought To Have Already
Gone Extinct Before Human Hunters Explored North America.
Will Wonders Never Cease? Just How Little Do We Really Know About
The Earliest Explorers Of The New World? Stay Tuned!
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From left to right, artist Sergio de la Rosa's depiction of three elephant
ancestors, the mastodon, the mammoth, and the gomphothere.
A recent archaeological dig in Mexico shows that gomphotheres — an extinct
elephant-like animal believed to have disappeared from North America long
before humans got here — actually roamed the continent longer than previously
Incredibly, the new evidence suggests these large mammals were hunted by the
The earliest known foragers to populate most of North America were the Clovis
people, who, according to some theories, migrated south from the glacial areas
some 11,500 to 13,500 years ago.
Known for their "Clovis" artifacts, they hunted Pleistocene megafauna such as
mammoths and mastodons.
But new evidence uncovered in Sonora, northwestern Mexico, suggests that
these ancient North Americans also hunted gomphotheres (Cuvieronius sp.).
These creatures were smaller than mammoths and about the same size as modern
elephants. They were once widespread in North America, but until now they
were thought to have gone extinct long before humans arrived on the scene.
The discovery broadens the age and geographic range for the Clovis people,
establishing El Fin del Mundo as the oldest and southernmost Clovis site.
This supports the hypothesis that the origin of the Clovis people was
considerably south of the gateways to North America — and that the makeup of
the continent's megafauna was more expansive and diverse than assumed.
Bones And Tools Mingled Together
Archaeologists discovered Clovis artifacts together with the bones of two
juvenile gomphotheres, a find which suggests they hunted and ate these animals.
During excavations, the archaeologists uncovered numerous Clovis artifacts,
including spear tips, along with cutting tools and flint flakes from stone tool-
Radiocarbon dating placed the site at 13,400 years old, making it one of the two
oldest Clovis sites in North America, the other being the Aubrey Clovis site in
According to study co-author Vance Holliday, the position and proximity of
Clovis weapon fragments relative to the gomphothere bones at the dig indicate
that the humans did in fact kill the two animals there.
Of the seven Clovis points found, four were in place among the bones, including
one with bone and teeth fragments above and below. The other three had
eroded away from the bone bed, and were found scattered nearby.
"This is the first Clovis gomphothere, it's the first archaeological gomphothere found in
North America, it's the first evidence that people were hunting gomphotheres in North
America, and it adds another item to the Clovis menu," Holliday said in a statement.
Excavation of the jawbone of a juvenile gomphothere.
The jawbone of a juvenile gomphothere.
The archaeological site in Sonora, northwestern Mexico. Remains of two
gomphotheres, extinct relatives of the elephant, with the hunting weapons of
Clovis culture mingled with and under the bones at the kill or butchering
site, give credence both to an earlier time frame for Clovis and the addition of
this previously thought extinct relative of the elephant and mammoth to the
menu of game animals hunted by the Clovis culture. The bones were shown
by radiocarbon dating methods to be one of the oldest known Clovis kill or
butcher sites ... 13,400 radiocarbon years of age.
Quartz crystal was used to make this Clovis point. It is one of those found at
the same site where the bones of two juvenile gomphotheres were excavated
in Sonora in northwestern Mexico. Of seven Clovis spear points or fragments
of spear points found at the site, four were mingle in with the bones. The
other three had eroded out of the deposit and were found in the immediate
vicinity. The gomphothere bones were shown by radiocarbon dating methods
to be one of the oldest known Clovis kill or butcher sites ... 13,400 radiocarbon
years of age.
Artist Sergio de la Rosa's depiction of the elephant relative, the gomphothere.