North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), representing approximately 16.5% of the Earth's land area and 4.8% of its total surface area. It is the third-largest continent by size after Asia and Africa, and the fourth-largest continent by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. , North America's population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population. In human geography and in the English-speaking world outside the United States, particularly in Canada, the terms "North America" and "North American" are typically defined as including just Canada and the United States.
The first human populations reached North America during the Last Glacial Period approximately 20,000 to 17,000 years ago, during which they crossed the Bering land bridge in the Bering Strait on their way to reaching North America. The Paleo-Indian period in North America followed the Last Glacial Period, and lasted until about 10,000 years ago when the Archaic period began. The classic stage followed the Archaic period, and lasted from approximately the 6th to 13th centuries. Beginning in 1000 AD, the Norse were the first Europeans to begin exploring and ultimately colonizing areas of North America.
The site is medium to large, with groups of temple-pyramids set on terraces rising some 71 metres (233 ft) above a plaza, a large court for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame, and over 100 carved monuments, most dating from the 6th century through the 9th centuries AD, during the Classic period. Toniná is distinguished by its well preserved stuccosculptures and particularly by its in-the-round carved monuments, produced to an extent not seen in Mesoamerica since the end of the much earlier Olmec civilization. Toniná possesses one of the largest pyramids in Mexico; at 74 metres (243 ft) in height, it is taller than the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. (Full article...)