The abundance of theories on how and when the first people arrived in America creates .
a complicated picture that Paleo-anthropologists are still trying to clarify. Different hypothesis place the first American colonizers here between 12,000 and 35,000 years ago.
Once in America, the new settlers spread at a pace of about 8 miles per year and within a 1,000 years had made it all the way to Amazonia and Patagonia (Diamond: 1999: 45). Evidence shows that these hunter-gatherers grew in population size and spread across the landscape at a very rapid pace encouraging the continuous migration southward. However, the only certainty is that hunter-gatherers did arrive and spread across the Americas. As research continues to expand and grow, the pieces of this puzzle are beginning to change and expand on the current models. Hopefully, the challenges to traditional thought and theory will finally bring the answers that solve the mystery of who were the "first Americans". .
Traditional theory teaches that the freezing of the ocean water in the Wisconsin Ice .
Sheet during the last Ice age opened a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska, allowing Asian Immigrants to cross the Bering straight into the "New World". These migrant hunter-.
Gatherers made the journey by foot and are estimated to have crossed around 12,000 years ago. The ancient settlers were known as the Clovis people, named after an archeological find in Clovis, New Mexico (Boyle: 2000). Clovis culture consisted of big game hunters with mongoloid features who created distinct spear points capable of piercing armor. Although widely held, this traditional model of the first settlers has come under ever increasing scrutiny. Now with the recent acceptance of anthropologist Tom Dellehay's find of human remains in Mount Verde, Chile, that have been dated to 12,500 years ago, the old theory is losing its validity as the sole explanation, and new theories are providing strong new insight .