“Bones, cut marks and stone tools – A human presence in the Yukon 24 000 years ago” is the talk Dr. Lauriane Bourgeon, from the University of Montreal, will give at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. It will be a free Long Ago Yukon community event.
Bourgeon’s research delves into landmark evidence for the earliest confirmed dates for human habitation in the Canadian Arctic to date.
She studied animal bones found decades earlier at the famous Bluefish Caves near Old Crow. Her goal was to find evidence of early human presence in Beringia, a continent-sized area that stretched from Siberia to the Mackenzie River delta during the last Ice Age.
The butchered bones she painstakingly found were sent off to an Oxford radiocarbon laboratory for dating.
The most ancient date returned was of a 24,000-year-old horse jawbone. This confirmed the presence of the early ancestors of First Nations peoples there 10,000 years earlier than the previously oldest accepted human occupation sites in Alaska or the Yukon.
This also supports the Beringia Standstill theory. That suggests some ancient people endured the hostile conditions of the Last Glacial Maximum in isolation in the relatively hospitable Beringia before moving southward past glacial barriers into the heartland of North America as conditions improved.
Archaeological evidence of their presence had been elusive until now.