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(Phys Org2)   Scientists hide discoveries for years, fearing torch-wielding mobs of rabid... scientists?   ( phys.org) divider line
    More: Ironic, San Diego, Cerutti Mastodon Site, New World, Mastodon leg bones, Demere, Archaeology, broken bones, San Diego museum  
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3310 clicks; posted to Geek » on 29 Dec 2017 at 11:15 PM (28 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-12-29 09:59:57 PM  
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" - Carl Sagan
 
2017-12-29 11:23:25 PM  
There has always been speculation that another hominid reached America before humans.  I understand that confirming this theory has been a tad bit politically sensitive.
 
2017-12-29 11:35:03 PM  

winedrinkingman: another hominid reached America before humans


If they did, they did not flourish.  And there is no apparent reason why they would not.
 
2017-12-29 11:51:56 PM  
Didn't someone come up with a rational explanation for this recently?
 
2017-12-30 12:15:06 AM  
I knew an archaeologist who was telling people that physics must be wrong if evidence says that there were pre-Clovis people.

Clovis First is a damned religion in American archaeology. They will insist there is no evidence of pre-Clovis people, then dispute a half dozen sites that were perfectly acceptable except for the pre-Clovis dating. I don't know the exact number of sites but there were two in South America and a couple of caves along the Atlantic seaboard. The Smithsonian has sponsored several excavations to find evidence of a "Europe first" argument after the first cave dwelling was found.

The problem is one of site preservation. There is absolutely no good reason to expect that humans only came over the land bridge one time when we know the ice ages happened several times. For decades there was no evidence of pre-Clovis people. But for decades nobody was looking.

It was a big reason why I decided against a career in archaeology, I cannot look at how long ago we know early Homo flavors spread all over Eurasia without wondering how they would have been held back from crossing the Bering during previous glacial periods. Even early Homo were very similar to us. But to ask those questions is a heresy and the high priests will denounce however many data points are necessary to maintain their ideology.

Knowledge advances one tenured death at a time in many disciplines.
 
2017-12-30 12:30:40 AM  
Mastodon legs are like pier pilings. These were broken to hell.
 
2017-12-30 12:50:22 AM  

BolloxReader: I knew an archaeologist who was telling people that physics must be wrong if evidence says that there were pre-Clovis people.

Clovis First is a damned religion in American archaeology. They will insist there is no evidence of pre-Clovis people, then dispute a half dozen sites that were perfectly acceptable except for the pre-Clovis dating. I don't know the exact number of sites but there were two in South America and a couple of caves along the Atlantic seaboard. The Smithsonian has sponsored several excavations to find evidence of a "Europe first" argument after the first cave dwelling was found.

The problem is one of site preservation. There is absolutely no good reason to expect that humans only came over the land bridge one time when we know the ice ages happened several times. For decades there was no evidence of pre-Clovis people. But for decades nobody was looking.

It was a big reason why I decided against a career in archaeology, I cannot look at how long ago we know early Homo flavors spread all over Eurasia without wondering how they would have been held back from crossing the Bering during previous glacial periods. Even early Homo were very similar to us. But to ask those questions is a heresy and the high priests will denounce however many data points are necessary to maintain their ideology.

Knowledge advances one tenured death at a time in many disciplines.


The fact that folks made it to Australia 50k+ years ago, most likely by rafting along the shore makes the theory of coastal movement fairly plausible.

They find early hominid sites on the coast of Africa, no surprise Mog and Ook might have taken a long trip down the beach.

The Cerutti Mastodon display was pretty cool when I saw it at the SD Natural History Museum this summer.  Old Man Cerutti was hovering over the bones telling folks about it.  Personally I think flash floods did it for that particular carcass, but I totally buy the 20k+ coastal migration sites.

There's plenty of interesting stuff lying offshore, I bet.
 
2017-12-30 01:35:26 AM  

RoomFullOfMonkeys: Mastodon legs are like pier pilings. These were broken to hell.


This bears repeating.

3 or 4 times actually.
 
2017-12-30 01:55:30 AM  
The only weird archeological theory I subscribe to is an idea of "the beach comber express" where shore hugging early humans traveled via rafts around east from Africa to the Americas and everyplace in between during the last ice age. It becomes iffy because the shores were several hundred feet lower and any settlements were washed away. But it sets the beginnings of the various cultures after the end of the last ice age.
 
2017-12-30 02:55:22 AM  
s2.quickmeme.comView Full Size
 
2017-12-30 03:42:30 AM  
I would expect no less from the civilization who has entire segments of it's population who can't accept reality in regards to recent and well documented history, much less the deeply ancient.

If I were to do it all over again I'd go for underwater archaeology. The odds are really good the preponderance of significant ancient sites that remain to be found are on former shorelines. Almost no one is looking there, because working underwater sites is ball-bustingly difficult.
 
2017-12-30 05:10:58 AM  

BolloxReader: I knew an archaeologist who was telling people that physics must be wrong if evidence says that there were pre-Clovis people.

Clovis First is a damned religion in American archaeology. They will insist there is no evidence of pre-Clovis people, then dispute a half dozen sites that were perfectly acceptable except for the pre-Clovis dating. I don't know the exact number of sites but there were two in South America and a couple of caves along the Atlantic seaboard. The Smithsonian has sponsored several excavations to find evidence of a "Europe first" argument after the first cave dwelling was found.

The problem is one of site preservation. There is absolutely no good reason to expect that humans only came over the land bridge one time when we know the ice ages happened several times. For decades there was no evidence of pre-Clovis people. But for decades nobody was looking.

It was a big reason why I decided against a career in archaeology, I cannot look at how long ago we know early Homo flavors spread all over Eurasia without wondering how they would have been held back from crossing the Bering during previous glacial periods. Even early Homo were very similar to us. But to ask those questions is a heresy and the high priests will denounce however many data points are necessary to maintain their ideology.

Knowledge advances one tenured death at a time in many disciplines.


smart reply is smart, and has been smarted as smart.

Logical projection of human exploratory nature simply isn't congruent with clovis being first. It's quite improbable from my perspective.
 
2017-12-30 08:42:07 AM  

Sgygus: winedrinkingman: another hominid reached America before humans

If they did, they did not flourish.  And there is no apparent reason why they would not.


How about "a relatively small tribe, isolated from the rest of the population, which encountered something that killed them all off?"

See also: Roanoke Colony.
 
2017-12-30 09:38:22 AM  
I remember a historical documentary about something like this.

wbkidsgo.comView Full Size
 
2017-12-30 09:47:43 AM  

Boudyro: I would expect no less from the civilization who has entire segments of it's population who can't accept reality in regards to recent and well documented history, much less the deeply ancient.

If I were to do it all over again I'd go for underwater archaeology. The odds are really good the preponderance of significant ancient sites that remain to be found are on former shorelines. Almost no one is looking there, because working underwater sites is ball-bustingly difficult.


Almost no one has been looking because of the perception that the coastal erosion that comes along with post-glacial sea level rise across continental shelves would be very effective at destroying the integrity of sites. That view has been changing, but there are still significant challenges beyond diving logistics. This paper seems to be open access if you read the html version; although it's from 2008, it does a pretty good job of explaining the issues in a non-jargon-y way.

The interesting bit re TFA: they have a date on the mastodon bone that's 130,700 years, +/- 9,400 years. Most of that range would place the site timewise during the Last Interglacial, a.k.a. the Eemian.  Sea levels were thought to be 6 to 9 meters higher at that time than today, so if there were more coastal sites of that age, they'd actually be inland of the present shoreline. Unfortunately that probably also means any such sites were either wrecked by modern development, or buried by it. It would be a bit of a long shot, but their best bets for looking for related sites in that area will be undeveloped upland locations, where site stratigraphy and context would be easier to establish.
 
2017-12-30 10:44:30 AM  

Lydia_C: Boudyro: I would expect no less from the civilization who has entire segments of it's population who can't accept reality in regards to recent and well documented history, much less the deeply ancient.

If I were to do it all over again I'd go for underwater archaeology. The odds are really good the preponderance of significant ancient sites that remain to be found are on former shorelines. Almost no one is looking there, because working underwater sites is ball-bustingly difficult.

Almost no one has been looking because of the perception that the coastal erosion that comes along with post-glacial sea level rise across continental shelves would be very effective at destroying the integrity of sites. That view has been changing, but there are still significant challenges beyond diving logistics. This paper seems to be open access if you read the html version; although it's from 2008, it does a pretty good job of explaining the issues in a non-jargon-y way.

The interesting bit re TFA: they have a date on the mastodon bone that's 130,700 years, +/- 9,400 years. Most of that range would place the site timewise during the Last Interglacial, a.k.a. the Eemian.  Sea levels were thought to be 6 to 9 meters higher at that time than today, so if there were more coastal sites of that age, they'd actually be inland of the present shoreline. Unfortunately that probably also means any such sites were either wrecked by modern development, or buried by it. It would be a bit of a long shot, but their best bets for looking for related sites in that area will be undeveloped upland locations, where site stratigraphy and context would be easier to establish.


I failed to find it, but I did try lazy Googling for what the shorelines looked like during the period in question since I knew the Pleistocene covers a lot of time and water/ice moving around. So thanks for nailing it down.

And just as TFA shows we are talking about sites that are tough to define and hard to prove when they are on land, this stuff isn't like Alexandria. Unless we are in for a huge Atlantis-level surprise, large stone artifacts are right out in the Americas in the water. Just like you said, so far it's been caverns, and inland sites but even in those cases there's still water involved. The Page-Ladson site, and other pre-clovis sites have already broken the clovis-first theory, and it's worth keeping in mind people didn't just magically drop out of the sky at these sites. They had to come from somewhere.

North America specifically must be maddening for archaeologists, never mind what the glaciers or moving coastlines did to signs of human habitation. The current population is just as likely to ignore, dynamite, or not even notice a significant find. Just look at TFA where the guy had to charm and manage workers even after he knew he had something.
 
2017-12-30 10:56:29 AM  

Sgygus: winedrinkingman: another hominid reached America before humans

If they did, they did not flourish.  And there is no apparent reason why they would not.


That's not how anything works.
 
2017-12-30 11:04:59 AM  

Boudyro: North America specifically must be maddening for archaeologists, never mind what the glaciers or moving coastlines did to signs of human habitation. The current population is just as likely to ignore, dynamite, or not even notice a significant find. Just look at TFA where the guy had to charm and manage workers even after he knew he had something.


In the US, archaeological site protections are managed mainly at the state level, so there's wide variability in what actions are required when a potential site is found. In any case, when developers are required to deal with cultural resource assessment, they hope and pray that nothing significant is found, because delays can mean everything from added expense to a complete change of development plans. It would not surprise me at all if the CalDOT contractor's workers were specifically told (by their bosses, not CalDOT) to ignore anything they might see, in hopes that Cerutti wouldn't find anything to hold up the work.
 
2017-12-30 01:24:35 PM  
If this theory is correct, I am a bit surprised the butchers would not have found a use for the tusks. Worldwide, what was the earliest use of tusks and what were they used for?
 
2017-12-30 04:58:00 PM  

Bonzo_1116: BolloxReader: I knew an archaeologist who was telling people that physics must be wrong if evidence says that there were pre-Clovis people.

Clovis First is a damned religion in American archaeology. They will insist there is no evidence of pre-Clovis people, then dispute a half dozen sites that were perfectly acceptable except for the pre-Clovis dating. I don't know the exact number of sites but there were two in South America and a couple of caves along the Atlantic seaboard. The Smithsonian has sponsored several excavations to find evidence of a "Europe first" argument after the first cave dwelling was found.

The problem is one of site preservation. There is absolutely no good reason to expect that humans only came over the land bridge one time when we know the ice ages happened several times. For decades there was no evidence of pre-Clovis people. But for decades nobody was looking.

It was a big reason why I decided against a career in archaeology, I cannot look at how long ago we know early Homo flavors spread all over Eurasia without wondering how they would have been held back from crossing the Bering during previous glacial periods. Even early Homo were very similar to us. But to ask those questions is a heresy and the high priests will denounce however many data points are necessary to maintain their ideology.

Knowledge advances one tenured death at a time in many disciplines.

The fact that folks made it to Australia 50k+ years ago, most likely by rafting along the shore makes the theory of coastal movement fairly plausible.

They find early hominid sites on the coast of Africa, no surprise Mog and Ook might have taken a long trip down the beach.

The Cerutti Mastodon display was pretty cool when I saw it at the SD Natural History Museum this summer.  Old Man Cerutti was hovering over the bones telling folks about it.  Personally I think flash floods did it for that particular carcass, but I totally buy the 20k+ coastal migration sites.

There's plenty of interesting stuff lying offshore, I bet.


Not to mention they've been traced through most of Polynesia during the same time period. It doesn't stretch the imagination that they just kept going and bumped into South America at some point.

Heck, they could both be right, and the two cultures met in the middle of America somewhere. Brings new meaning to the "Mexicans taking your jobs" now, doesn't it?
 
2017-12-30 07:34:09 PM  

Sgygus: winedrinkingman: another hominid reached America before humans

If they did, they did not flourish.  And there is no apparent reason why they would not.


75k years ago, nearly all humans were supposedly wiped out. Not sure why. Could have killed off the remainder of other hominids too.
 
2017-12-30 11:45:36 PM  

Pharmdawg: 75k years ago, nearly all humans were supposedly wiped out. Not sure why. Could have killed off the remainder of other hominids too.


All possible.  The Clovis culture lasted for about a half a millennium, from about 11,200 to 10,900 years ago.  Archaeologists have found lots of artifacts.  Current DNA evidence points to several waves of migration from north-west Asia at the end of the last ice-age.

If some band of lost/adventurous hunters worked their way down the west coast a hundred thousand years ago before dying out in a single generation, does it have any significance?
 
2017-12-31 12:10:21 AM  

Pharmdawg: Sgygus: winedrinkingman: another hominid reached America before humans

If they did, they did not flourish.  And there is no apparent reason why they would not.

75k years ago, nearly all humans were supposedly wiped out. Not sure why. Could have killed off the remainder of other hominids too.


At last, the death of the Toba bottleneck · john hawks weblog
 
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