chapter  11
ELEVEN: Settling Down in America
Pages 24

Without any doubt whatsoever, the most ferocious, the most bloodthirsty, the most lethal hunters who ever followed the spoor of prey on the surface of the planet earth are known in the aggregate as Clovis Man. By the chief account of his doings, Clovis Man burst into what are now the lower 48 states of America from the alley between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets 13,500 years ago in a group numbering no more than 100. (In this scenario, proposed by geoscientist Paul Martin in the 1960s, it is not clear whether the entire group numbered 100 or whether there were 100 hunters attended by their women and children. Neither Clovis Woman nor Clovis Child comes in for much in the way of discussion.)

Arriving in the midst of some 35 genera of large animals, like mammoths, mastodons, giant bison, giant sloths, and sabertoothed tigers, that had never seen anything with two legs bearing spears and thus were as easy to knock off as the dodo, Clovis

Man proceeded to wipe out 30-odd genera not just in North America but in Central and South America, all the way down to Tierra del Fuego, which he reached a mere 700 years after arriving in Minnesota. Never had so rapid a colonization of new lands taken place, and never had so few eaten so much meat in so short a time or left so much blood soaking into the ground. Clovis Man, practically everyone agreed, was corporately the fi rst American.