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A Journey to a New Land

First people
Multimedia Library

Dr. Michael Wilson

Geology Department, Douglas College

South to North Movement through the Corridor

What we are finding in southern Alberta for example that is dated around 11,000, 11,300, 11,500 is a fauna of large buffalo, mammoths. We’ve got caribou in the fauna, big mountain sheep, and interestingly enough, all of these are of forms that we see well-documented to the south during the last glaciation. Their characteristics link with populations to the south. So the buffalo looks like bison antiquus which is a southern animal. It doesn’t look like the bison from Alaska that occurred during the same interval. Then we see a changeover perhaps 10,000 years ago, where the bison actually change in character. I’ve been hypothesizing that that represents the first influx of Alaskan bison moving southward. Nowadays I’m not even sure of that. I’m not even sure that the Alaskan bison even made it southward, because as the ice free corridor opened up it was for a time a sort of steppe tundra that could have been traversed quite easily by animals from the north but it was closed off pretty quickly by a forest barrier that would have prevented a lot of these grazing animals from moving south through the ice free corridor. So I’m not even sure that Alaskan animals even made it in large numbers southward into the corridor area. What I am sure of is that there are some strong linkages to the south in this fauna and I get the impression, and it’s an impression more than a conclusion, a feeling that that Clovis hunters were actually moving northward along with this package of fauna – moving northward into the southern part of the ice free corridor rather than having Clovis people moving southward.