Did Modern Humans Originate in the Americas? A Retrospective on the Holloman Gravel Pit in Oklahoma


For decades, the dominance of the Clovis-first paradigm precluded the possibility of acknowledging a human presence in the Western Hemisphere before 11.5 ka. Yet there are a multitude of sites in the Americas with significant evidence for human occupation dating back to 200 ka and older. At two of these sites, Holloman in Oklahoma, and Hueyatlaco in Mexico, stone tools were found that indicate the possible presence of a lithic technology advanced beyond that found contemporaneously in Eurasia. Culturally modern humans may not have originated in Africa as is currently thought, but in America where evolutionary change was facilitated by geographic isolation. Homo sapiens could have re-entered Eurasia from America as early as 75 ka and spread rapidly, displacing archaic Homo species. The opening and closing of the Bering Land Bridge over the last several hundred thousand years may have functioned as the pacemaker of human evolution.

Keywords: Clovis, Out-of-Africa, evolution, Pleistocene, America

Authors retain copyright to JSE articles and share the copyright with the JSE after publication.