back to article Native Americans arrived to find natives already there, fossil poo shows

The ancient people who have long been thought to be the first humans to colonise North America were actually johnny-come-latelies, according to scientists who have comprehesively analysed the ancient fossilised poo of their predecessor Americans. The new revelations come to us courtesy of Copenhagen university, where some of …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. edge_e

    you must be mistaken

    The earth's only 6000 years old so the poo can't be older than that

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's ironic...

      that while nearly *half* ( of the US adult population believes Bishop Ussher's Young Earth creationism chronology, most of them are unwilling to accept his more important (and more mainstream) Christian theology. (Or, for that matter, the bishop's more plausible history describing unicorns, King Lucius, and the creation of a second-century Christian episcopate in Britain.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's ironic...

        It is even more ironic that neither myself or anyone I have known for my entire life has ever participated in one of these "polls".

    2. Mark Eccleston

      Re: you must be mistaken

      Actually the universe is only 7 years old and was created by the Great Zabu.. On that date we were all created in our current forms, complete with false memories, jobs, diverse cultures, religious beliefs, and complete back history.

      Zabu has a sick sense of humour. All hail Zabu.

      1. Jon Double Nice

        Re: you must be mistaken

        Actually this one we're in right now was rebooted from a backup image just over five minutes ago.

    3. Graham Marsden


      That joke is older than 6000 years...

      1. asdf

        Re: @edge_e

        People in the UK might get tired of it but then again they don't have school boards trying to push creationism as valid science in their schools. Lucky bastards.

        1. Fibbles

          Re: asdf

          Not in schools perhaps. Academies on the other hand...

        2. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: school boards trying to push creationism

          In the UK the school system is derived from the Thomas Huxley tradition. Him of the 'rather be descended from a monkey' debat with Bishop Wilberforce.

          In contrast a crucial court decision in the USA held that science is not covered by constitutial restrictions on teaching religion.

          It is important to understand that this is not a debate about the meaning of Science (History and Philosophy of Science), or about the meaning of Religion (Comparitive Religion), it is a debate about a Legal decision and the consequences that flow from it.

          Huxley regarded Darwinism as part of an alternate explanation for the big existensial questions, and argued that the new English school system should allow space for it as a third religion, alongside Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism. This lead to the historic split between the govenment school system and the RC school system in England, since the Roman Catholic establishment insisted that the schools they sponsered had to include explicit RC indoctrination. He would have been appalled by the anti-scientific fundamentalism that Darwinisism descended to, but at least his school system allowed teaching competing systems of belief.

          The court decsion in the USA holding that (with regard to the funding dispute) Drawinism is not Religion was perverse in itself, having no regard to modern ideas of the History and Philosophy of Science, or Comparitive Religion, the history of the development of kludges to try to fix up naive Darwinism, the dificulty getting theories like Contenential Drift or the development of single cell organisms accepted, the conflicting High School Biology theory of Evolution and the standard Palentological theory of Evolution, etc.

          And, being perverse, has lead to the perverse outcome that since Science is not Religion, then (by the same standard) Religion is not Religion either.

          But it is important to remember that this is a perverse Legal outcome, nothing to do with Science or Religion.

          And of course it is perverse to try to use the courts to answer scientific or religious questions, but exactly the kind of thing that the courts do. As Dickens wrote -- the law is an Ass.

        3. Colin Millar

          Re: @edge_e

          Oh yes we do - we got a bunch of creationists approved to run a school very recently.

          We're on our way down the shitter right alongside you

          1. They Said WHAT?
            Thumb Down

            Re: @edge_e

            *groan* Just when you thought that kids may well have a chance in life, these idiots come along and take the UK back several hundred years......................before long they will have them believing that the world is flat and that the sun revolves around the planet!!!!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Once again a winner, however I thought the BBC had all the rights on using the word "poo" in headlines.

  3. Homer 1

    Everyone knows...

    ...the first colonists were aliens.


    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Everyone knows...

      Well, Clovis NM is not that far from Roswell (as US distances go), so you may be onto something ...

      1. asdf

        Re: Everyone knows...

        Well considering I grew up near both trust me you don't want to visit either. Not only are they dumps but they are fairly rural dumps as well.

      2. asdf


        I had the misfortune of having to go there for a sporting event and wow what a dump. Being New Mexico its roads are very poorly maintained. Being very close to West Texas there is nothing to do and nothing around for miles. I went into the one convenience store in town and wanted to get some things for the road when I noticed a few local cops were reading the riot act to some dumb yocal teen who was caught shoplifting. I went to buy the things and the hick clerk freaked out when I tried to buy it with a credit card. He was like I'm sorry we don't take those (which in America is very very unusual). "You will have to go to ATM." I was like ok where? He told me the only one in town was in the bank which was closed because it was the weekend. Didn't get my food, never been back to that crap hole and haven't missed it a bit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everyone knows...

      > ...the first colonists were aliens.

      By definition.

    3. Charlie van Becelaere
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Everyone knows...

      and likely illegal ones at that.

  4. auburnman

    Who decided to call them the Clovis? They sound like a brand of butter.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Established scientific opinion says: "I can't believe it's not Clovis.".

      1. Don Jefe


      2. Tel Starr

        When I see the word Clovis mentioned, I start humming the New World Symphony and want to push a bike up a hill.

        1. Graham Marsden
          Thumb Up

          @Tel Starr

          Eee, that's reet grand!

        2. NogginTheNog


          Surely that's just bread AND butter to these guys?!

  5. captain veg Silver badge

    Missed trick

    Prehistoric poo -- nice alliteration, Lewis. But you missed out on "DNA droppings dating"...


    1. Fibbles

      Re: Missed trick

      Cave coprolite curtails Clovis crowd's criticism?

  6. Yet Another Commentard

    DNA in poo

    Does that make it human poo with the, er, producer's DNA in it, or poo from something that ate a human with the human's DNA in it? Oooh, what if a human ate another human and had a poo, which he saved for posterity, just to mess with future scientists?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DNA in poo

      and another scientist then ate that poo and ...

      sorry, I've gone too far

      1. Mike Flex

        Re: DNA in poo

        > and another scientist then ate that poo and ...

        Don't say you haven't heard of Fecal Transplants?

        1. Aaron Em

          Re: DNA in poo

          Sure I have. But that doesn't go in the end you eat through...

          1. Mike Flex

            Re: DNA in poo

            > But that doesn't go in the end you eat through...

            Well, it can do. But via a tube.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Aaron Em

              Re: DNA in poo

              The transplant site is in the upper colon, I believe -- how long a tube are we talking about here? Yeesh.

              1. Mike Flex

                Re: DNA in poo

                > how long a tube are we talking about here?

                See the wikipedia link I posted earlier, and its cites.

  7. Jolyon Ralph

    Poor clovis

    So, the clovis travelled all the way from Asia to the US only to find someone had already shat in their caves.

    At least they didn't have Homeland Security

  8. ravenviz Silver badge

    So where does the pub come in? I wanted reassurance that our Clovis and earlier ancestors got pissed, made fools of themselves and woke up with heaaches.

  9. wowfood

    Everything comes down to poo

    From the Clovis folks

    and their predecessor who

    Were there as number 1

    So Clovis is number 2

    And we know all of this thanks to poo.

  10. Aaron Em

    Wait, wait, I'm confused! Does this mean the peaceful herbivorous aborigines, whom our ancestors slaughtered with smallpox and stole land from &c. ad nauseam, were in fact just as human as we are after all? The ramifications for your local university's Ethnocultural Studies department will be severe!

    1. fuggedaboutit


      You are naive. Native Americans were not peaceful, herbivorous aborigines. But, they were indeed human, i.e. they went to war with other tribes, enslaved their captives, and -- wait for it -- ate meat (yeah, buffalo most likely was not a vegetable even a thousand years ago).

      Pop quiz: Name a country on this planet that was not formed by conquering those who were there before (queue Jeopardy! theme song).

      1. Volker Hett

        Re: Puhleeze

        And they smoked tobacco!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Puhleeze

        Estonia ;)

      3. Droid on Droid

        Re: Puhleeze


      4. Aaron Em

        Re: Puhleeze

        Whose back-pocket troll account are you?

      5. david 12 Silver badge

        Pop quiz:

        That works well in the UK, but doesn't play so well in AUS, where your local university's Ethnocultural Studies department can point out that the local aboriginal community was NOT formed by conquering those who were there before.

        Indeed, the equivilant debate in AUS is the question if first aboriginal settlers wiped out the mega-fauna (evil right-wing revisionist theory), or if the mega-fauna was wiped out by climate change (noble-savage/left-wing tree-hugger theory).

        1. bep

          Re: Pop quiz:

          Well it just so happens there was a program on Sunday about this very thing. Their conclusion: not climate change, not the Aborigines actually eating the beasties, but the 'fire stick farming' they used changed the vegetation mix and indirectly killing off the megafauna. The lesson here is, it doesn't pay to be a fussy eater.

  11. Ben Holmes

    Poop-poking palaeontologists prove predecessors practised persistent plodding.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd
      Thumb Up

      @Ben Re: Persistent plodders.

      Well played Sir.

      Have a thumb. ;o)

  12. Scott Broukell

    <insert title>

    Archaeologists have a habit of getting to the bottom of things.

  13. David Wartski

    Petrified Poo

    First, "Petrified poo" flows better than "fossil poo." I can't say I can attest to the quality of the darts in the prehistoric pub, but when I went to the loo, I got petrified poo all over my shoe.

    1. Charlie van Becelaere

      Re: Petrified Poo

      Frankly, I can't imagine petrified poo flowing well at all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Petrified Poo

        "Frankly, I can't imagine petrified poo flowing well at all."

        Judging by the chod I had to deliver the other night you'd be quite right. Like a superglued pine cone it was. And the bastard woke me up at 2.00am.

        Sadly I flushed it away, and only now realise that I should have laid it to rest in a cave for future generations.

    2. They Said WHAT?

      Re: Petrified Poo

      That just conjures up an image of scared poo *giggles*

  14. Another Fiction Writer

    Hooray! New Textbooks on the Way!

    It's interesting that it's time to roll back the scientific Who's First Canon, once again. We've been involved in trading with the Hopi Indian people of Northern Arizona since 1985, and their own traditions say they have been there for forty thousand years. So I guess that listening to the ones who probably have a better idea of history might begin now among academics.

    Clovis? It's just the name of a Town in Southern New Mexico again, where some people passing through dropped some arrow heads and forgot to pick them up.

    1. Pen-y-gors

      Re: Hooray! New Textbooks on the Way!

      It's always interesting to listen to local legends, but don't take them as historical fact - there's a bunch of people in the Middle East who tell tales of how they're descended from one bloke and his rib.

      Another interesting and related report suggests that first wave of immigrants snuck into Merkinland from Ruskiland about 15000 years ago. Where are Homeland Security when you need them?

      1. Miek

        Re: Hooray! New Textbooks on the Way!


        I believe there's is an accompanying documentary to go with that news story. I remember watching it a while back.

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: Hooray! New Textbooks on the Way!

      "Clovis? It's just the name of a Town in Southern New Mexico again, where some people passing through dropped some arrow heads and forgot to pick them up."

      And they weren't even fined for littering!

    3. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: Hooray! New Textbooks on the Way!

      Except part of the evidence for Clovis First theory is the genetic makeup of the First Nations tribes. The Hopi are presumably therefore descendants of the Clovis immigration, meaning that 40,000 figure is probably just myth.

  15. NozeDive

    What about Captain Picard?

    About 15 years ago, I received an issue of Discover magazine that made me wonder "Why is Patrick Stewert's head on the cover?" (This was before his knighthood, so I purposefuly ommited the 'sir')

    The article told of some science guys taking a super old skull (these are technical terms) that predated Clovis, and handed it over to one of those guys who does forensic reconstruction of faces with clay. The result was a very anglican face that even the author of the article likened to Sir Patrick Stewert.

    I didn't follow up on it at all, but unless it has been refuted, it lends some cred to those poop poker's ideas.

    1. Aaron Em

      "unless it's been refuted"

      He said, as though facial reconstruction -- especially of fossils -- were anything remotely resembling a science.

      1. Miek

        Re: "unless it's been refuted"

        I think it is safe to say that it is part science and part guess work. You can scientifically analyse bones to deduce musculature structure, but cannot deduce the skin overlay by doing this. Features such as the nose, ears, skin colour, skin texture and eye shapes cannot be deduced without some of the original muscle and skin tissue being present, see "Feathery Tyrannosaur". Although we also find out such details from fossils such as the Archaeopterix in the following picture :,_replica_of_London_specimen,_Staatliches_Museum_f%C3%BCr_Naturkunde_Karlsruhe,_Germany_-_20100925.jpg

  16. Dave 32

    Paisley Peoples

    So, does this mean that I'm free to propose the theory that there were people earlier than the Paisley People who were cave-trained, such that they didn't sh*t in their caves, but went outside to do the number two? Sadly, the rains have washed away all evidence of these Dave People (Hey, I proposed the theory; I ought to get to name them!).


    1. lawndart

      Re: Paisley Peoples

      Dave? DAVE?

      There's only one proper name for Paisley People.


      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: Paisley Peoples

        They may be Ians, but they definitely dressed in nasty patterns that look like malformed ferns ...

  17. Fred 4

    This whole 'Clovis first' thing has been hogwash for years:

    excerpt from a 2004 article:

    "Topper is the oldest radiocarbon dated site in North America," Goodyear says. "However, other early sites in Brazil and Chile, as well as a site in Oklahoma also suggest that humans were in the Western Hemisphere as early as 30,000 years ago to perhaps 60,000."


    excerpt from another article, talking about cave/rock art:

    "It shows that about 11,000 years ago, there was already a very diverse manifestation of rock art in South America, so probably man arrived in the Americas much earlier than normally is accepted," Neves said.


    again 1 more excerpt:

    What are the artifacts and ecofacts from Monte Verde?...[snip]...

    An even bigger problem was the radiocarbon dates placing the site at over 13,500 years oldø older than nearly all the North American evidence and a millennium before Clovis. A much earlier layer that even Dillehay was unwilling to consider a cultural zone, but could have been, was dated to between about 33,000-34,000 years ago.

    warning - very long -


    So... we have multiple sites across the America's showing human habitation Long before Clovis. So why was Clovis still considered to be "First"???

    1. Miek

      "So... we have multiple sites across the America's showing human habitation Long before Clovis. So why was Clovis still considered to be "First"???" -- I'm quite positive that this article relates more to the sore-point that the Europeans went over to the new found land and embarked on a cruel eradication of the then sole occupiers of said country. Similar happened when Europeans, primarily the English went to Australia. The "Aboriginal Christmas Pudding" is a highlight of Human disgrace:

      1. asdf

        not quite

        Or it could be the other sites can not be unambiguously proven to be the age some publicity seeking professor who need to publish to get tenure claims it is.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hooray for the growth of science and historic knowledge.

    Now can we please stop calling the self-indulgent loser types in Canada "First Nations?"

    Because they clearly are not first in any way whatsoever, besides their status on the victimological totem pole.

    1. JaylikeBird

      No, all the native Americans who migrated over in the various migrations are considered Native Americans. This just pushes back the ownership claim, if anything it strengthens their claim of ownership.

    2. Mike VandeVelde

      hip hip hoor... wait what?

      Yes, because the hairy pale people from Europe during the renaissance are no different from cave men back in the stone age (excepting the magnitude of their brutality), right? Is that what you are trying to celebrate?

      They were first as in here before France, England, Spain, etc. What part of that can you not understand? The guy who won the gold medal in the 100m dash isn't really first because you saw that guy training cross the finish line *days* earlier??

      So in 50 years when the Chinese come to save us from wage slavery and topple our ridiculous sham of a democracy for us, you will kiss the ground in front of whatever mandarin the emporer appoints and be happy to have your offspring lifted from savagery, right? After all, people are people, progress marches on, and so on and so forth. If they wage horrible biological warfare on us, outlaw speaking English, forcibly take our children off to be civilized in boarding schools, make only token efforts to prosecute crimes against us and execute whole towns upon simple accusation of a crime by one of us, and all around treat us as sub human, well that will all be water under the bridge right? Nothing that hasn't happened before, who would we be to complain? Gah.

  19. Nightkiller

    Enough with Aboriginal Land Claim Settlements

    Millions and perhaps Billions of dollars at stake, where "First Nations" are claiming vast swaths of territory in North America. With further investigation, it can be established that they too need to pay for the land they are occupying.

    1. JaylikeBird

      Re: Enough with Aboriginal Land Claim Settlements

      What, now the Irish need to reimburse the Fomorians? Your greed is insatiable.

    2. JaylikeBird

      Re: Enough with Aboriginal Land Claim Settlements

      You must realize this strengthens their claim.

  20. fuggedaboutit

    Let's give it baaaaack

    The time has come

    To say fair's fair

    To pay the rent

    To pay our share

    The time has come

    A fact's a fact

    It belongs to them

    Let's give it back

    How can we dance when our earth is turning

    How do we sleep while our beds are burning

  21. JaylikeBird

    Um, the headline is strange. Aren't all the people who came over the land bridge considered the ancestors of native Americans?

  22. Bucky 2

    @naked as a JaylikeBird

    The problem here is that if the current Native Americans actually conquered and displaced ANOTHER people who were in the Americas before THEM, then any moral superiority in the face of Europeans who did the same thing kind of evaporates.

    1. Droid on Droid

      Re: @naked as a JaylikeBird

      The problem is that there is no proof for your claim. All this is, is another bit of evidence that the theory that the Americas were first inhabited around 11,000 years ago is wrong. There has been evidence for over 3 decades that humans have been in South America for at least 20,000 years, it's just not talked about in "PC" society. Probably because it would give a kick in the goolies to the theory that humans caused the extinction of the American mega-fauna and thereby upset a lot of enviro-nutters.

    2. J 3
      Paris Hilton

      Re: @naked as a JaylikeBird

      Good point, and given human nature, not a stretch at all that it might have happened.

      On the other hand, we know pretty well what happened in the past 500 years, but there is no evidence (yet) that any of the newer waves of humans killed off the previous ones. There are other possibilities:

      - the older ones died before (more likely if their numbers were low) without other humans being involved;

      - the older and newer populations did not meet in significant numbers then, and both genetic lines should be around today (apparently a study just came out showing three such different genetic lines are indeed present in the "native" populations till today, but I haven't read it yet so I might be misremembering);

      - the older and newer populations mixed (mostly) without trouble -- I know, hard to believe these being people, but who knows.

      I actually suspect we'll never know with enough certainty to be satisfied, but I'm fine with that fact of life.

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: @naked as a JaylikeBird

        In fact, the "Celtic" peoples of Britain aren't genetically all that Celtic. Culture is not transmitted through genes, after all....

  23. asdf

    not that much of a stretch

    14,000 years I can buy, 50,000 like these id10ts tried to claim not so much.

    1. asdf

      Re: not that much of a stretch

      Especially check out the anti American rhetoric in the Pedra article coming from some butt hurt Brazilian editor. Wikipedia can be so petty and such a joke sometimes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: not that much of a stretch

        Butt-hurt Brazilian - did the waxing go wrong, somehow? ;)

    2. Dave Bell

      Re: not that much of a stretch

      There's probably genetic evidence too, even if it has been messed up by randy Europeans over the last few hundred years.

      Since sea levels were much lower, the likely migration routes at the end of the last Ice Age are well under water. With the example of the Inuit, it's not impossible that human populations were getting into the Americas before the end of the last Ice Age, and thus before Clovis, and leaving no clues we can expect to find.

      If the DNA can be analysed, we might find the traces of an older population, with the sorts of differences consistent with pre-Clovis isolation. Be careful that such things as mutation rates aren't being set by what could becaome a circular argument. The differences might support Clovis first because the date assumed for the isolation is derived from Clovis.

      I don't find it hard to find room for 10 kY of pre-Clovis pre-history. And Clovis is a long way inland, even today. Making Clovis the First Americans doesn't make much sense. But as early inland North Americans, it's still significant. It's well south of the glaciers. Even with the conventional theory, it must have taken time for humans to have crossed from Asia. There is a gap in time and space.

      We just don't know enough to be sure of anything.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But at least no-one gave Smallpox blankets to the Trilobites ;)

  25. itzman

    Leving aside the jokes...

    ..this topic has been as hotly debated as the Australian aborigine question for years. I have a 1950s book where the idea of a pre clovis population is mooted..

    Ah well. Tis all candy for the brain.

  26. JeffyPooh


    These Pre-Clovis batch that are now "first" will eventually be deposed by a completely different batch of Pre-Pre-Clovis that will become the next "first".

    When any of these archeologist types say something about what happened thousands of years ago, they're probably more or less correct (assuming they have evidence). But when they imply that something plausible DIDN'T happen (based on LACK of evidence?), one should keep in mind that it's difficult to prove a negative and THEREFORE THEY REALLY DON'T KNOW.

    An example of their defective logic would be claiming that Clovis were "first", because that implies that many plausible circumstances didn't happen.

    The error of their logic is revealed by the next "first" (sic), these Pre-Clovis.

    1. Realiti Czech

      Re: Prediction

      "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Fact is, it's very hard to find things that are 10,000+ years old - they've been plowed over, cities have been built on top, etc. The Clovis-firsters were so strident because they built their careers on it, and could not tolerate dissent. See the Meadowcroft Rockshelter for an example.

  27. Hempy

    Undocumented illegals?

    So does that make the Clovis people undocumented illegals?

  28. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    UNIX is older than you think..

    They did core dumps HOW long ago?

  29. ray hartman

    Euro-sailors first Americans

    First Americans were east-coast landed seal-hunters ... bisque-eating Frenchmen nowadays ... say 25,000 BP. The PC crowd infected with a Red-In'jun-first virus gags on that fact documented in Pennsylvania caves and Virginia beaches. Tuff titty.

  30. edwhy

    Those pushy Danes

    Surprised no one mentioned Kennewick Man, earliest remains ever found in North America, discovered just up the road from the Paisley Caves in Washington in 2004. The American Indian mafia took charge of the body and it went down the memory hole, never again to be discussed. Science follows politics and money, in every case.

    1. Paul 48

      Cave Clovis homies pre-pooped! Say speleo-boffins after savvy scat scan

      Headlines are such fun.

    2. Killraven

      Re: Those pushy Danes

      Science didn't follow politics and money, it was bludgeoned to death by them.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leaving the poo aside...

    ...yes, just that.


  32. Mutantone

    Perhaps this is what happened

    Perhaps they were some of the first to come to America from Asia following the west coast and the time line for the other established locations is off, trusting the results of dating poo

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022