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Evidence of Paleo-Indian Culture
The name Paleo-Indian refers to the earliest human inhabitants of North America. We know about them because the chipped-stone tools they made have been found on the surface of the land and from ancient campsites and butchering sites across the continent. Paleo-Indians were big-game hunters who hunted mammoths and giant bison.
This was a time of change in the environment. The climate warmed and the last glacier melted, or "retreated." Vegetation changed too, and the great Pleistocene megafauna (animals larger than 100 pounds) became extinct. With these environmental changes came changes in how humans lived and their technology—how they made and used things. Archeologists identify early people by their technologies, because the traditions of how they made and used things can be traced over periods of time.
Early Paleo-Indian Clovis
Throwing spears with atlatls (spear-throwing sticks) were probably also used during this time.
Evidence of the Folsom Tradition is found across North America. Although no butchering site with Folsom points have been found in Iowa, numerous Folsom points have been collected on the surface, especially in southwestern Iowa.
Atlatl and Spear
When the arm moves to throw the spear, the arc is increased by the length of the atlatl and imparts more energy to the spear. Experienced throwers can increase their force by two and a half times. With practice, a spear will travel more than 100 yards.
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