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Archaeological evidence indicates humans were present in the Americas by at least 14,500 years ago, and probably arrived via northeast Asia during the last glacial period. But the timing and route of their entry into the Americas is still not clearly understood. Oregon State University professor and archaeologist Loren Davis will shed new light on this earliest of chapters in human history when he presents “The Search for the First Americans: Perspectives from Western North American” at the OSU-Cascades Science Pub on Jan. 15 in Father Luke's Room at McMenamins Old St. Francis School in Bend.
Davis specializes in the early record of hunter-gatherers in western North America. He is the executive director of the Keystone Archaeological Research Fund, a million-dollar endowment used to help trace the trail of humankind's first footprints in the Pacific Northwest, coastal California and Mexico's Baja California Peninsula.
Davis creates landscape models of environmental conditions to predict the locations of hunting sites or project the distribution of Pleistocene age geologic deposits. He goes underground, as he did as part of the Paisley Caves expedition in southeastern Oregon, which helped establish some of the earliest evidence of human presence in the Americas. His research even extends below the surface of the ocean: Davis has participated in a search for submerged prehistoric sites off the coast of Baja California Sur in Mexico.
In 2016 Davis was called upon to study a mammoth femur bone found during construction of the Valley Football Center expansion at the OSU Corvallis campus.
OSU-Cascades Science Pubs engage community members in the work underway by Oregon State researchers and scholars from both the Corvallis and Bend campuses. Since 2009, OSU-Cascades has hosted Science Pubs on topics ranging from fermentation science to forest fires to autism.
Science Pubs take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Networking and food and beverage service begin at 5:30 p.m., and the presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. Science Pubs are free to community members, but reservations are required. Space is limited to 100 guests.
Register by 5:00 p.m. the day prior to each Science Pub at http://www.osucascades.edu/sciencepubs
About OSU-Cascades: Oregon State University’s campus in Bend, Ore. features outstanding faculty in degree programs that reflect Central Oregon’s vibrant economy and abundant natural resources. Nearly 20 undergraduate majors, 30 minors and options, and three graduate programs include computer science, energy systems engineering, kinesiology, hospitality management, and tourism, recreation and adventure leadership. OSU-Cascades expanded to a four-year university in 2015; its new campus opened in 2016.
Note: edited to reflect event location.