Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Image of ancient mammoth or mastodon found on bone

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of the earliest Americans turn out to have been artists. A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports.

While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

They hunted these animals, Stanford explained, and "you see people drawing all kinds of pictures that are of relevance and importance to them."

"Much of the real significance of such finds is in the tangible, emotional connection they allow us to feel with people in the deep past," said Dietrich Stout, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta, who was not part of the research team.

Cave paintings showing animals have been found in Texas, but those were dated to about 4,000 years ago, much more recent than the newly found carved bone.

The bone fragment, discovered in Vero Beach, Fla., contains an incised image about 3 inches long from head to tail and about 1 3/4 inches from head to foot.

This undated handout photo provided by the Smithsonian Institution shows a carved image, at least 13,000 years old, found in Vero Beach, Fla.

Article By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID - AP Science Writer | AP – Fri, Jun 24, 2011

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