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Paleo-Indians and Megafauna. North America. At the end of the Ice Age, about 12,000 years ago people began traveling to North America. The first people in the America’s traveled across a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska. They spread throughout what is now the United States.

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Paleo-Indians and Megafauna

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Paleo-Indians

and

Megafauna


North America

  • At the end of the Ice Age, about 12,000 years ago people began traveling to North America.

  • The first people in the America’s traveled across a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska.

  • They spread throughout what is now the United States.

  • Some even leap-frogged across Kentucky’s major river valleys.


Paleo-Indians

  • The first people to inhabit Kentucky were hunter and gatherers who lived during the end of the last Ice Age.

  • Paleo-Indian camps were typically small ones, consisting of bands or groups of 20-50 people of both sexes and all ages.

  • Band organization was egalitarian, meaning there were no formal leaders and no social status or classes.


Kill Site

  • A Paleo-Indian group butchering and cooking a mastodon. This is an example of a kill site.

  • Because they preserve well, today we find bones, projectile points, other stone tools, and charcoal as evidence that prehistoric peoples inhabited a site.

  • Artifacts such as leather, fur, grass, and other foods don’t preserve well and are not often found.


Hunting Spear

  • One of the most distinctive tools was the Clovis projectile point.

  • This fluted point was hafted or tied to a wood harpoon-like lance which were thrown in close proximity to the animal.

  • Once the point was imbedded in the animal it would come loose from the spear shaft, allowing the point to be reused.


Tool Kit

  • Kentucky’s earliest inhabitants used a distinctive tool kit that was well adapted for the hunting and processing of big game animals.

  • Tool kits included a variety of stone, bone, and antler implements.

  • The kit was then carried around in a small purse-like pouch.


Tools

  • Antler awl used to make hide clothing.

  • Bone needle used to sew hide for shoes and clothing.

  • Hammerstone used to make stone tools

  • Chert knives used to process meat.

  • Scrapers used to clean hides.

  • Fluted projectile points used to hunt.

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Megafauna

  • Paleo-Indians hunted large mammals called megafuana, most of which are now extinct.

  • They followed herds of these big-game animals from place to place, hunting in groups.

  • Because of the danger, men hunted while women raised children and gathered wild plant foods like nuts and berries


Sabertooth Cat (Smilodon fatalis)Height: 4ft (1.2m) Lived: 1.5 million years ago - 10,000 years ago


Shortfaced Bear (Arctodus simus)Height: 5.5ft (1.7m) Lived: 800,000 years ago - 10,000 years ago


Dire Wolf (Canis dirus)Height: 5ft (1.5m) Lived: 1 million years ago - 10,000 years ago


Giant Ground Sloth (Eremotherium laurillardi)Height: 20ft (6m) Lived: 8 million years ago to 10,000 years ago


American Mastodon (Mammut americanum)Height: 9ft (2.75m) Lived: 15 million years ago to 10,000 years ago


Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)Height: 9ft (2.75m) Lived: 90,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago


North American Bison(Bison antiquus)Height: 7ft (2.1m) Lived: 40,000 years ago - 10,000 years ago


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