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23 October 2014

At http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141023-paleo-indians-mig… … early Americans were in a remote oasis high in the Andes, 14,000 feet above sea level, as recently as 12,800 years ago. Most of us would not raise an eyebrow over this but apparently archaeologists are surprised by this. Okay, people were on the coast, migrating southwards, reaching the tip of S America as early as 14,500 years ago. What then is so surprising. It is the fact it is such a remote location and would have involved humans becoming adjusted to high altitude conditions. Oxygen pressure at Pucucho is just 60 per cent of its strength at sea level – a big difference. Hence, it is thought a long period of adjustment is required to allow them to be active on the high Andes. Archaeologists in the Americas are now being asked to think in terms of humans being able to adjust fairly quickly – but the crucial point here will be medical rather than archaeological, no matter how much they might like to stick to the idea no humans were in the Americas prior to the end of the Ice Age. 

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