A study revealing the evidence of salmon consumed by people living in the Ice Age Era has been published on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
The research is based on the uncovering of 11,500 years old chum salmon remains discovered by Ben Potter, an anthropologist from the University of Alaska FairBanks and his colleagues from Upward Sun River site located in Alaska. It seems that the Ice Age North American people used salmon as a food source.
The DNA analysis of the bone revealed that the salmon were exactly like the ones we all know nowadays, spending a great part of their life in the sea and spawning in water streams.
The UAF researcher, Carrin Halffman, who was responsible for the bones’ analysis, and co-authors Brian Kemp and Ben Potter stated that salmon fishing practices date back to years ago and that now it is known for sure that North American people would consume salmon beginning almost 11,500 years ago.
The excavation of the site located between Delta Junction and Fairbanks brought to light tools and even human remains, apart from the salmon bones. The researchers confirmed that the excavation was an interesting thing to do, as they could discover evidences of different cultures occupying that place at different times in history, from 13,000 to 5,000 years ago. Moreover, since the site is well stratified, they claim that this discovery allows them to establish the people’s occupations, how different they were, as well as their ways of living. Many complex ways of procuring their food were used.
“This suggests that salmon fishing may have played a role in the early human colonization of North America,” Potter declares.
The researchers also discovered that the ancient salmon would migrate upriver when Yukon River exists today. As a consequence, nowadays salmon migrations may have very old roots.
The salmon remains were found in a residential structure and they represent a great challenge for the researchers, because they are small and very fragile, needing careful handling. For this reason, the remains are insufficiently represented in the archeological studies.
Image Source: Geograph