Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleoamericans is a classification term given to the first peoples who entered, and subsequently inhabited, the Americas during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period.
The prefix "paleo-" comes from the Greek adjective palaios (παλαιός), meaning "old" or "ancient".
The term "Paleo-Indians" applies specifically to the lithic period in the Western Hemisphere and is distinct from the term "Paleolithic".
Stone tools, particularly projectile points and scrapers, are the primary evidence of the earliest human activity in the Americas.
Crafted lithic flaked tools are used by archaeologists and anthropologists to classify cultural periods.
Scientific evidence links Indigenous Americans to Asian peoples, specifically eastern Siberian populations.
Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been linked to Siberian populations by linguistic factors, the distribution of blood types, and in genetic composition as reflected by molecular data, such as DNA.
This time range is a source of debate and promises to continue as such for years to come.
The few agreements achieved to date are the origin from Central Asia, with widespread habitation of the Americas during the end of the last glacial period, or more specifically what is known as the late glacial maximum, around 16,000 – 13,000 years before present.The Mammut americanum (American mastodon) became extinct around 12,000 to 9,000 years ago due to human-related activities or climate change.From 16,500-13,500 BCE (18,500-15,500 BP), ice-free corridors developed along the Pacific coast and valleys of North America.This allowed animals, followed by humans, to migrate south into the interior.The people went on foot or used primitive boats along the coastline.The precise dates and routes of the peopling of the New World are subject to ongoing debate.