First posited by the 16th century Spanish naturalist, José de Acosta, it has been a long-standing theory that the indigenous human populations in North and South America arrived there at the end of the last ice age, via the Bering land bridge, before rising ocean levels cut off the connection between the Asian and North American continents. According to this theory, the migrants made their way south via an ice-free corridor that ran between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets, cutting southward through what is now the province of Alberta in western Canada.
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When we think of woolly mammoths, what typically comes to mind is the classic hairy pachyderm that inhabited what is now Siberia’s tundra, megafauna that went extinct shortly after the end of the Pleistocene, nearly 12,000 years ago. But a number of mammoth species survived for thousands of years into the current era, including a colony of mammoths on Russia’s Wrangel Island that did not disappear until 1650 BC.
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It’s sometimes easy to forget that as humans, we’re not the only technologically-capable species present on Earth at the moment: many of our animal brethren make and use tools to shape their immediate environment, such as birds building nests as structures to raise their young in, beavers building dams to flood areas for security from predators, prairie dogs possessing a language that contains a vocabulary of hundreds of words, and chimpanzees shaping sticks to dig and hunt for ants.
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A new archaeological discovery has been made, and as with the previous discovery of undiscovered chambers in the Bent Pyramid in Egypt, the key to making the find was found in the cosmos: this time, the connection was made by a high school student, using the stars to plot the locations of ancient Mayan cities.
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