The human journey to the Americas

After watching the last show from the series Human Journey, “The Americas”, I learned about the discovery of the human bones known as “The Arlington Man” which were described as the oldest found in the Americas. These bones are calculated to be 13,000 years old. The remains were found in the Channel Islands National Park, in the Santa Rosa Island, which is approximately 10 kilometres off the coast of California. (There is a beautiful slide show about Santa Rosa Island National Park to get a view of this archeological site).

The Human Journey program identified the Arlington Man, as belonging to the Chumash people. Since it was the first time I heard of this group of Native Americans, I searched for information about them and found out that one of the bands of this ethnic group still survives and has a page on the web, presenting their history and some of their culture. In particular, the “History of the Chumash People” page is a good resource for learning about them.

All this reminded me immediately about the recent claims of finding very old human bones in Mexico, probably the earliest yet found in the American continents. So, the question to me was which are the oldest, so far.

In my previous post “Oldest human bones in the Americas found while diving near Tulum, Mexico” (in this same blog below), I commented on the news about another development in the search for the first inhabitants to the Americas, as the skeleton of a boy found underwater near Tulum seemed to be among the oldest human bones ever found. Digging for more information, I came across another article that talked about “Eva de Naharon” (Eve of Naharon) and other skeletons in the same area.

The article written by Eliza Barclay for the National Geographic News on Sep. 3, 2008, titled “Oldest Skeleton in Americas Found in Underwater Cave?” describes the finding of human bones that belonged to a woman living there approximately 13,600 years ago. Those bones, like the ones from the boy of Chan Hol, were also found in a cenote in an area that so far has contained the oldest human remains at least in Mexico.

Photograph courtesy of Arturo González
It seems like the answer to the question about when the first humans arrived to the Americas point to the Yucatan peninsula, around 13,600 years ago. There may be more recent discoveries yet that could change this view. In the meantime, it seems safe to say that Eva de Naharon is the first human found in the Americas.