The site where Naia lies is now 130 feet below sea level and sea level rise would have raised the groundwater level in the cave system and submerged everything between 9,700 and 10,200 years ago.
Radio-carbon dating shows that elk have lived in northeast Asia for over 50,000 years.
(Radio-carbon dating can’t date fossils older than this.) Scientists examined the DNA of almost 100 Pleistocene-aged and modern elk specimens from northeast Asia and North America.
Hublin’s team returned to the site in 2004 hoping to clarify that date — and instead stumbled upon more fossils.
They also applied new dating methods, which pushed back the age of all the fossils to a stunning 300,000 years.
Related coverage: The trove of fossils is a snapshot of a species in transition.
The Irhoud people had more elongated, primitive-looking skulls than current humans.
They found that all living North American elk are descended from elk originating in east Asia.
North American elk apparently split from their Siberian ancestors about 15,000 years ago.
Most archaeological evidence in the Americas dates no further back than 10,000 years ago, although there is evidence that the Clovis people populated much of North America from 13,200 to 12,900 years ago.
The oldest human site found in the continents thus far is far south at Monte Verde in Chile, dating to 14,500 years ago.
But first, I’ll summarize the pertinent findings of this paper which was published in last year.