03/07/2011 02:47 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

12,000-Year-Old Fishing Tackle Found In Southern California

These are by far not the oldest tools ever found.

But finding them in Southern California is a different story.

The ancient fishing equipment, alongside a stash of discarded seashells and bones, was uncovered by Jon Erlandson and his 15-person team from the University of Oregon. The team examined three sites on the Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands, according to GrindTV.

What's so important about the discovery, which was published in the March 4 edition of Science, is the proof it provides suggesting that there was a distinct difference between coastal peoples and the more well-documented Clovis population in the Americas.

From New Scientist:

They are a clue to the lifestyles of some of the earliest American settlers, and suggest that two separate cultures lived in North America at the time: one, the well-known Clovis culture, lived inland and feasted on mammoths, mastodons and other mammals; the other was a coastal culture with a taste for seafood.

The archaeologists who made the find believe that the two groups were distinct, but shared trade links.

The delicacy with which some of the tools were made astonished Erlandson. "The points we are finding are extraordinary, the workmanship amazing. They are ultra thin, serrated and have incredible barbs on them. It's a very sophisticated chipped-stone technology," he told Science Daily.

However, the find wasn't completely unique. The researchers also found Clovis-like spearheads at the sites, which leads them to believe the two cultures shared at least some interaction and perhaps even trade.