|Figure 1. Map of the California Channel Islands, including...|
North America experienced regular fires for thousands of years before the arrival of humans in North America according to new research published today.
Scientists from the University of Portsmouth, Royal Holloway University of London and from several US Universities publishing their results this week in the Philosphical Transactions of the Royal Society B has cast new light on the fire history of the California Channel Islands, a chain of eight islands located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California.
In addition, the study found evidence of wildfires well before human arrival and a significant period of charcoal deposition, which occurred between 12,500 to 14,000 years ago, possibly coinciding with the arrival of the first humans on the island. Human populations in North America who might have used fire as a tool thousands of years earlier than previously thought.
Dr Mark Hardiman, senior lecturer in Geography at The University of Portsmouth and lead author of the study, said: "This study allows us to paint a much better picture of what these early occupied landscapes would have looked like. The sedimentary record that exists in the canyon is truly spectacular and records 'snapshots' of the landscape changes which were occurring on the islands at the end of the last ice age, he added. [...] ScienceDaily