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Up to about 10,000 to 8,000 years ago, North America was occupied by a group of people we refer to as Paleoindians. They lived here soon after the last ice age ended, which was approximately 10,000-12,000 years ago.

The mostly nomadic Paleoindians hunted mammoths, giant sloths, camels, giant bison, and other animals that are now extinct as well as birds and fish. They also gathered seeds, berries, and other plants.

The climate 10,000 years ago was much different. Utah’s temperatures were cooler and it might have rained more often. Paleoindians camped along the shores of lakes and streams, including the Great Salt Lake, which was much bigger then and not yet salty. Here they could get foods like cattails, roots, berries, birds, rabbits, and fish.

The oldest inhabited sites archaeologists have found in Utah are in caves in the Great Salt Lake Desert.