FLORIDA'S FIRST PEOPLES, 12,000 BC | The Paleo-Indians | Visit Florida
The Florida Paleo-Indians were descendants of people who traversed into North America from eastern Asia during the Pleistocene epoch. At that time, the oceans of the world were several hundred feet lower than they are today and Asia and Alaska were connected by a bridge of dry land more than a thousand miles in width. The higher sea levels that followed the Ice Age have covered that bridge, leaving the two continents separated by the narrow Bering Strait.
Although little is known about the culture of the Paleo-Indians, archaeologists have formulated a few ideas on the lives of Paleo-Indians. Like many tribes, it is believed that the Paleo-Indians were nomadic people who primarily were hunters-gatherers. They traveled in tribes of between 20 and 50 people, carrying their belongings on their back. They often sought shelter in caves, but occasionally built crude shelters from brush and animal skin. They decided where to camp depending on where the animals, such as mastodons, caribou, bison, and mammoths, were.
When they first began hunting, they probably trapped smaller animals. But they are known for inventing spears with stone points that could be thrown by using an atlatl, but before they created spears. A tribe of Paleo-Indians may have even worked together to herd larger game over a cliff, killing it for food. In addition to the game they trapped or killed, the Paleo-Indians also ate seeds, fruits, roots, and possibly even insects. They used animal skin and plants for clothing.
Because archaeologists have found stone points in different areas, it is believed that the different bands communicated, perhaps even trading among each other.
- Mammoths and mastodons were so abundant that their teeth are the most commonly found fossil mammalian remains in the state. Mastodons were not true elephants and differed from the mammoth in having straighter tusks, higher cuspid teeth with fewer ridges than those found in the mammoth and in having all of the cheek teeth in place simultaneously rather than having the next replacement tooth already crowding against the back face of the functional tooth as is evidenced in the mammoth and his living relative the elephant.
- Sabre Toothed Tiger: The Sabre-toothed tiger is one of the most well-known prehistoric animals along with giants such as the woolly mammoth. Sabre-toothed tigers roamed the mid-western US and parts of both North and South America and were named for the enormous canines which skeletons show, protruded quite far out of their mouths.It became extinct in the Quanternary period(the end of the dinosaur period) and during the ice age.