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A little ways away, they found something resembling a hearth or fire pit.

"We think that represents someone butchering a horse," and then possibly cooking and eating it, Davis told Live Science.

Scientists on Thursday said they used a technique called radiocarbon dating to determine the age of artifacts unearthed at an archeological site called Cooper's Ferry along the Salmon River in western Idaho near the town of Cottonwood.

People were present there at a time when large expanses of North America were covered by massive ice sheets, and big mammals such as mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed cats, the giant short-faced bear, horses, bison and camels roamed the continent's Ice Age landscape."The Cooper's Ferry site contains the earliest radiocarbon-dated archaeological evidence in the Americas," said Oregon State University anthropology professor Loren Davis, who led the study published in the journal Science.

Since they were found in the same layers as human artifacts, such as tools, they are likely of similar age, Davis said.

The comparison of these Western stemmed points with Japanese counterparts is "superficial and unconvincing, based on five specimens selected for suggested morphological similarity," said Ben Potter, the department chair and a professor of archeology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who was also not a part of the study.

What's more, the findings don't refute the idea that the first people arrived via the ice-free corridor, he said.

Related: To re-create the picture of this vast, ancient migration, Davis and his team analyzed ancient remains found at the Cooper's Ferry archaeological site, which sits at the junction of the Rock Creek and the lower Salmon River in western Idaho.

The Cooper's Ferry site was first excavated back in the 1960s.

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