Big, hairy things - news story - 04 May 2012


A big pile of bones found at Vero Beach in Southern Florida between 1913-1916 has been the subject of some debate for nearly a hundred years. The fossil bones contain remains of humans - most of two skeletons - as well as many of the familiar Pleistocene megafauna - mammoths, ground sloths, sabertooth cats and so on.

There were doubts about the assemblage and whether the whole range - humans included - were of the same age or the sampling had crossed a wider span in time. The implications - that humans had reached Florida by 13,000 years ago. Was it not possible the humans had been buried at that level some time later? Fresh research using rare earth element analysis seems to confirm the humans and the big, hairy animals were around at the same time. It's a significant discovery, not least because of the controversial history of the Vero Beach site, but other signs of human presence in Southern states are mostly limited to bone fragments, weapons and tools.

You can read more on the story here.