Did the First Americans Take a Ride on the Kelp Highway?

Many of us were taught the Bering Land Bridge Theory in school to explain how communities Indigenous to the Americas ended up in these lands. But an archaeological site in modern-day Chile has called that theory into question. Monte Verde, on the southern coast, has been dated to 14,500 years–1,000 years earlier than the civilization that had formed the basis for a lot of theory surrounding migration. 

The new theory comes from Dr. Jon Erlandson from the University of Oregon, an article about which can be found here. This hypothesis focuses on the “kelp highway”, theorizing that the first human inhabitants of these lands were seafarers that migrated throughout the west coast of the Americas following nutrient rich kelp in the oceans, and from there spread throughout the rest of the lands. National Geographic has a discussion activity on this topic, including a teachers’ toolkit. Find that link here.