Around 26,000 years ago, the ice sheets comprising the Earth’s arctic regions reached their maximum extension, reaching as far south as Germany. This period is appropriately known as the Last Glacial Maximum, and it occurred at around the same time early humans were beginning to explore the arctic regions.
By Daniel Oberhaus|MOTHERBOARD
Our picture of early human movement in the arctic region before the Last Glacial Maximum is hazy at best—strikingly little evidence exists to indicate our ancestors were ever there.
A handful of discoveries in the last two decades have shown that contrary to popular belief, humans were in fact present in the arctic prior to the Last Glacial Maximum. There were some artifacts found at the Arctic Circle dating to 40,000 years and some traces of human activity a bit further north which dated to 28,000 years ago, but outside of this meager evidence, archaeologists had little else to go on to indicate how early the first humans had actually arrived in the Arctic and how far north they had traveled. Recently, a team led by archaeologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences discovered a 45,000 year old woolly mammoth carcass which bears the telltale marks of death by humans, suggesting that our ancestors could have arrived far north of the Arctic Circle about 15,000 years earlier than previously thought.