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 say in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
"It's pretty exciting, we haven't found anything like this in North America," says one co-author. 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.