Seaweed found at Monte Verde can cast light upon the human race and its settlements in the Americas.
The find was dated to more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than the best-known Clovis culture. Earlier this year scientists also found fossilized human feces dating to about 14,000 years ago.
Scientists recovered nine species of seaweed and marine algae from hearths in the ancient settlement, about 500 miles south of Santiago and about 10 miles inland.
Some of the seaweed had been chewed. Other examples were burned, indicating cooking.
Researchers have built a theory that people followed herds of migrating animals across an ancient land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, and then moved southward along the West coast.
The western side of the Americas has a long mountain chain with rivers and streams flowing down the mountains to the ocean.
This might have spurred north-to-south migration with some groups choosing to turn and follow rivers inland.
The Paisley Caves in Oregon and Monte Verde in Chile might have turned ideal locations for such settlements.
This site was inhabited with about 20-30 people. Other food remains found there include vegetables, nuts, shellfish, an extinct species of llama and an elephant-like animal called a gomphothere.
One of the places also unveiled beach stones and other materials, indicating the people at Monte Verde had a stronger coastal tradition than was previously known.
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