But it wasn't until now that scientists were able to accurately date the findings, and possibly rewrite the history of the New World as we know it."This is a whole new ball game," Steve Holen, co-director of the Center for American Paleolithic Research and the paper's lead author, told CNN.
Legend: Mesoamerica = Mexico and Central America Pre-Columbian = Before Christopher Columbus Amerindian = Indigenous Indians of North and South America Paleoindian/Paleoamerican = The original Black settlers of the Americas The discovery of a bird-like dinosaur in South America has paleontologists rethinking when, where and how one group of raptors evolved.
The rooster-sized dinosaur is called Buitreraptor (bwee-tree-rap-tor) gonzalezorum.
Advanced radiometric dating technology allowed scientists to determine the mastodon bones belong to the Late Pleistocene period, or 130,000 years old, with a margin of error of plus or minus 9,400 years."The bones and several teeth show clear signs of having been deliberately broken by humans with manual dexterity and experiential knowledge," Holen said in a press release.
Experts agreed that the earliest records of human ancestors in North America is about 15,000 years old, but the discovery of the Cerutti site "shows that human ancestors were in the New World ten times that length of time," said paleontologist Lawrence Vescera.
"Buitreraptor is one of those special fossils that tells a bigger story about the Earth's history and the timing of evolutionary events," said Peter Makovicky, curator of dinosaurs at The Field Museum.
"It not only provides definitive evidence for a more global distribution and a longer history for dromaeosaurs than was previously known, but also suggests that dromaeosaurs on northern and southern continents took different evolutionary routes after the landmasses that they had occupied, drifted apart." The Buitreraptor fossil was found in northwestern Patagonia (the southern end of the South America continent) about 700 miles southwest of Buenos Aires.As with dromaeosaurs, new discoveries are forcing scientist to re-consider their earlier theories of Human presence in the American hemisphere as well.The time of the first peopling of Mesoamerica remains a puzzle, as it does for that of the Americas in general.Evidence that they existed in the Southern Hemisphere has been mounting.Today's announcement of a well-preserved fossil represents the first definitive evidence that dromaeosaurs roamed South America as well.What we call Laurasia eventually became North America, Asia and Europe.