Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Archeologist at the University of South Carolina are now closer than ever to proving how early man disappeared in America. It’s all thanks to platinum found in the soil.
"The Clovis culture is pretty interesting because it was right at the end of the ice age, it went away suddenly, along with mammoths and mastodons,” says Albert C. Goodyear, archeologist.
These Clovis people, who lived 12,800 years ago, were considered some of the first Americans, but their culture and existence was nearly wiped away.
Scientists believe a comet hit the northern hemisphere near Canada, causing ice sheets to break up and eventually impacting Clovis sites.
A recent study released in Scientific Reports shows 11 sites that were impacted.
"We found in our study from California to the Savannah River, higher than ordinary concentrations of platinum,” says Goodyear.
While rare, platinum can be found on earth, but higher concentrations can be found in the great beyond.
"When we have things from outer space coming in, meteorites, meteors comets, they're bringing in elements like platinum."
Those platinum discoveries can help prove that an extraterrestrial impact played a role in the extinction of American Mastodons, Mammoths and a drastic drop in numbers of the Clovis people.
"There's stuff out there that can destroy us, just as the dinosaurs. To have that come in when we know that people are here, like the Clovis people makes it very intriguing, because the Clovis people themselves just disappeared,” says Goodyear. “We don't think they were exterminated by this or anything else, but their populations surely diminished greatly."
While proof of what caused their disappearance is growing, how they got to American in the first place still remains a mystery.