In 1961, fragments of a human infant skull from were recovered from the banks of the Oldman River near Taber, Alberta. The find sparked an archaeological controversy, as the bones apparently came from geological deposits that were between 20 000 and 40 000 years old. This suggested that the Taber Child site was far older than the conventionally accepted date for the arrival of the first people in the New World - about 12 000 years ago.
Subsequent excavations at the site failed to recover additional human bones. However, 2 recent analyses - measurement of bone protein, and dating by the new accelerator radiocarbon technique - indicated that the bone fragments more likely date from about 4000 years ago, a time when prehistoric peoples were well established on the Canadian Plains.