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Science / Medicine : The Handprint of History?

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A single handprint in the clay wall of a New Mexico cave may push back the date of the first human settlement in North America by 23,000 years, Canadian and U.S. scientists said last week. They believe the partial print, which is 35,000 years old according to extensive radiocarbon tests, could be human, upsetting the traditional theory that people first arrived in North America 12,000 years ago.

Yale University’s Don Chrisman, who is leading the research, said further studies need to be completed before researchers can confirm that the imprint is human. But he said hot desert conditions 35,000 years ago virtually rule out the existence of other primates in New Mexico, where the imprint was found.


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