A map showing how Beringia—which includes the famous ice age land bridge—once looked.

The Bering Land Bridge, a stretch of land that once connected Asia with North America, came into existence much later than experts previously thought, but humans likely crossed not long after it formed, according to a new study.

Researchers reconstructed the sea level history of the Bering Land Bridge from 46,000 years ago and found that it didn’t emerge until around 35,700 years ago, which is less than 10,000 years before the last ice age, also known as the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), according to the study published Dec. 27 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (opens in new tab). The land bridge existed toward the end of the Pleistocene epoch (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago), a time filled with cold glacial and warm interglacial periods. The land bridge’s dates are still debated, with some scientists saying it existed from about 30,000 to 16,000 years ago.  

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