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Remarkable evidence of ancient humans found under Florida river

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Researchers who dove hundreds of times into a sinkhole beneath the brown murky waters of Florida’s Aucilla River have retrieved some of the oldest evidence of human presence in the Americas including stone tools apparently used to butcher a mastodon.

Scientists said on Friday the tools, animal bones and mastodon tusk found at the site showed that people already had occupied the American Southeast by 14,550 years ago, about 1,500 years earlier than previously known.

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The site provided some of the most compelling evidence that humans had spread across the New World earlier than the so-called Clovis people, who archeologists for six decades considered the Americas’ first people. The Clovis people, recognized for their distinctive spearheads, are known from archeological evidence about 13,000 years old.

The artifacts painted a picture of human hunter-gatherers butchering or scavenging a mastodon, an extinct elephant cousin, next to a small inland pond. The tusk had cut marks from a tool used to remove it from the skull, perhaps to access edible tissue at its base.

Intrigued by previous archeological finds at the site, the researchers conducted 890 dives into the 35-foot-deep (11-meter) sinkhole in limestone bedrock at the so-called Page-Ladson site near Florida’s capital Tallahassee from 2012 to 2014.

They excavated stone tools including a biface, a stone knife useful for butchering animals, and bones of extinct big mammals including camels, bison, horses and mastodons.

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Florida State University anthropologist Jessi Halligan, who dove 126 times, said nomadic hunter-gatherers may have followed big prey like mastodons from water hole to water hole. Bones that appear to be from dogs suggest the hunter-gatherers had canine companions with them.

There were no humans in the Americas until people crossed the land bridge that once connected Siberia to Alaska during the Ice Age but the timing of that event remains mysterious.

“The evidence from the Page-Ladson site is a major leap forward in shaping a new view of the peopling of the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age,” Texas A&M University archeologist Michael Waters said.

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“In the archeological community, there’s still a terrific amount of resistance to the idea that people were here before Clovis.”

Only a handful of pre-Clovis sites are known in the Americas. There is controversy about the legitimacy of some of them. The Florida site is roughly the same age as one in Chile that is considered the most scientifically accepted pre-Clovis locale.

The research was published in the journal Science Advances.

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(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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WATCH: Mike Pompeo goes dead silent when ABC corners him on Ukraine

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on "This Week" Sunday where he was faced with a question about chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's press conference Thursday.

During the press briefing, Mulvaney, who also serves as director of the Office of Management and Budget, confessed that Trump told him Ukraine corruption issues also had to do with the DNC server.

“That he also mentioned to me that the corruption related to the DNC server, absolutely,” said Mulvaney. “No question about it. That’s it and that’s why we held up the money.”

Pompeo said he wasn't going to answer any questions about hypotheticals, which he said host George Stephanopoulos was asking.

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Hillary Clinton posts fake letter from JFK to mock Trump’s absurd one to Turkey

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken up a new hobby of trolling President Donald Trump on Twitter.

The grandmother of three excelled in her sarcasm and stepped up her shade Sunday afternoon by releasing a fake letter from Former President John F. Kennedy to former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Read the fake letter and see the tweet below:

Dear Premier Khrushchev,

Don't be a d*ck, ok? Get your missiles out of Cuba. Everybody will say 'Yay! Khrushchev! You're the best!' But if you don't everybody will be like 'what an assh*le' and call your garbage country 'The Soviet Bunion.'

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2020 Election

‘I’d be open to it’: Trump voters warming up to impeachment as president’s Ukraine story unravels

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In one of the pieces that both the Washington Post and the New York Times are famous for, a visit to talk to Donald Trump voters outside the Beltway about how they feel about the president three years after the election reveals cracks in his support as more information becomes available about his Ukraine phone call that precipitated an impeachment inquiry.

According to the Post's report, they ventured out to Staten Island, or specifically: "New York’s 11th Congressional District, a swath of the country as good a place as any to gauge how a defining moment in American democracy is playing out."

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