CORVALLIS, Ore. - A leading national expert on the search for the continent's first inhabitants will deliver free public lectures in Loveland on Sept. 27 and in Denver on Oct. 2.

Robson "Rob" Bonnichsen, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Oregon State University, will speak in both locations on the topic, "Who Were the First Americans?"

The Loveland talk will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Stone Age Fair in the Pulliam Community Building, 545 Cleveland Ave.

His speech in Denver will begin 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway. Persons attending the Denver talk are encouraged to RSVP by calling 1-800-3554-7281.

The Center for the Study of the First Americans at Oregon State conducts original research and acts as a clearinghouse for information from studies around the world relating to the peopling of the Americas. The OSU center gained national attention a couple of years ago when researchers there were able to extract DNA from an ancient hair recovered from an archaeological site.

Originally, researchers believed the first inhabitants of the continent came over a Bering land bridge about 12,000 years ago. New evidence suggests that date may be much, much earlier, according to Bonnichsen, and there may have been multiple points of entry.

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Rob Bonnichsen, 541-737-4596