Jenkins, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History, and his team analyzed Western Stemmed points from Paisley Caves, located about 220 miles southeast of Eugene, Oregon. The researchers also studied dried human feces, bones, sagebrush twigs and other artifacts excavated from well-stratified layers of silt in the ancient caves.
Based on the analysis, it's believed that the people who lived at the same time as the Clovis were "broad range foragers, taking large game whenever possible, but also well adapted to a desert mosaic plant community similar, but not identical to, that of the northern Great Basin today," Jenkins shared.
If the oldest fossilized feces found in the caves (dating to 14,300 years ago) belonged to the Western Stemmed occupations, then the individuals hunted now-extinct horses, camels and elephants, in addition to deer, elk, mountain sheep, bison, waterfowl, rabbits and other animals.
HOWSTUFFWORKS: Were the Clovis the first Americans?
In a separate paper published in Nature this week, David Reich, a Harvard Medical School geneticist, and his team found that Native Americans descend from at least three streams of Asian gene flow. Most come from a single ancestral population, but the Eskimo-Aleut language speakers from the Arctic and the Na-Dene-speaking Chipewyan from Canada inherit some of their ancestry from different streams.