Arlington Springs Man

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Arlington Springs Man is the name given a set of human remains discovered on an island off the coast of California. In 1959-1960, two femora were excavated by Phil C. Orr, curator of anthropology and paleontology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, at Arlington Springs on Santa Rosa Island, California. Orr believed the remains were those of a 10,000-year old man and dubbed them the "Arlington Springs Man".[1]

The Arlington Springs Man was later re-examined in 1989 by Orr's successor at the museum, Dr. John R. Johnson and Don Morris. The two came to the initial assessment that the Arlington Springs Man was actually the "Arlington Springs Woman". Radiocarbon dating determined that the remains dated to 13,000 years BP, making the remains potentially the oldest-known human skeleton in North America. The term "Arlington Springs Woman" was used at that time to refer to these remains.

After further study, Johnson reversed his assessment in 2006, concluding that the remains were more likely those of a man, and the name "Arlington Springs Man" was again the more appropriate name.[2]

The Arlington Springs Man lived on current day Santa Rosa Island, California at the end of the Pleistocene. During the last ice age, the four northern Channel Islands were held together as one mega-island. The weather was much cooler and the sea level was 150 feet lower than today. His presence on an island at such an early date demonstrates that the earliest Paleoindians had watercraft capable of crossing the Santa Barbara Channel, and lends credence as well to a "coastal migration" theory for the peopling of the Americas by going around the blocking ice by sea along the "kelp highway" rather than between the two ice sheets perhaps through Alberta Canada .

The discovery of the Arlington Springs Man was significant because there was only one other find in North America which was a child burial that was dated to the same age, and also supports the theory that ancient people first discovered the new world by sailing down the Pacific Coast from Alaska. To date, she is the oldest human to be discovered in North America.


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  1. ^ Orr, PhilOrr, Phil C. (1962). "Arlington springs man.". Science 135 (3499): 219–219. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Portions of this Los Angeles Times article are reprinted and discussed at Scienceblogs.com.[dead link] Accessed June 11, 2007.[dead link]

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