News Briefs 01-10-2010

“Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.”

Thanks to RPJ!

Quote of the Day:

“The real scientist is ready to bear privation and if need be, starvation rather than let anyone dictate to him which direction his work must take.”

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

  1. Aboriginal Brazilian
    Another one of these findings that suggests two migrations to the Americas. Well, two ancient migrations, we’re not counting the European migration here, and also not the Viking extended vacations in Canada.

    Which brings us to another conclusion based on literally seconds of research:

    These occasional findings of isolated remains don’t indicate multiple migrations, the Clovis people have that correct. This aboriginal was just a tourist.

    1. Museum
      Last week I accompanied my nephew Adolfo to the National Museum of Anthropology, because he had to make a school report about the origins of humans in America.

      It had been years since I visited that part of the museum —the temporal exhibitions are held in a hall near the entrance— and, although the information presented had clearly been updated from the obsolete “one migration from Siberia” theory I received when I was in school, it was still something of a mess.

      The museum showed there was evidence of human habitation as older as 30,000 years, along with many sites encountered in South America that predated the Clovis. And 30,000 years is still a conservative number, if you consider the evidence that’s been found in Presa Valsequilla (Puebla, Mexico) with footprints left on volcanic ash that are at least 50,000 years old.

      And there was nothing about possible migrations coming from Europe across the Atlantic, or even a mention of the Kennewick man. And certainly nothing about possible cometary impacts ending the Clovis culture and killing all the megafauna —there was only the mention that the mammoths died… and people had to switch to other diets.

      All in all, it left an impression of me of confusion and uncertainty. Of a work very much in progress. In fact, I would have appreciated if there had been some text admitting our ignorance on just how the first Americans arrived here.

  2. Crossing to the Americas
    Not all of this is in my book, but here goes my best current guesses:

    C mt DNA, ancestral to all Iroquoian people -via Berringia sometime after 50,000 BCE, spreading to the tip of South America

    B and D my DNA – from SE Asia via boat, either coastal or direct, most likely direct, sometime after 60,000 BCE

    A mt DNA, ancestral to Siouxian and Algonquian peoples, across Berringia sometime after 30,000 BCE, the Algonquian along the coast, hunting sea turtle, the Sioux hunting the inland coastal strips.

    mt DNA group nearly extinct, ancestral to Savanah River peoples – from the Sahara River region of Africa to Pedra Furuda Brazil around 35,000 BCE, then bringing Clovis tech across the Caribbean to North America, where it was rapidly adopted by other peoples

    X mt DNA – via the North Atlantic 8,350 BCE

    If you have not read “Man and Impact in the Americas” yet, many think it is a great book. I suggest investing in a signed first edition as soon as you can, or reading it for free via interlibrary loan.

    1. Very interesting

      mt DNA group nearly extinct, ancestral to Savanah River peoples – from the Sahara River region of Africa to Pedra Furuda Brazil around 35,000 BCE, then bringing Clovis tech across the Caribbean to North America, where it was rapidly adopted by other peoples

      Whoa… now that is quite unorthodox.

      What about the evidence of stone tools that are very similar to the Solutrean style found in France?

      1. tourists
        Let me be a little more serious about the tourist part.

        Most of these migrations could have happened with 2-way communication. That is not too hard when people travel on foot, or along coastlines. Even when skipping across 100 miles or so of more or less open sea, there can be communication back to where they came from.

        So one interesting part is to what extent that happened, and if not, why not.

        Organized movement of significant groups across the middle of the Atlantic is different. Assuming these things were not accidental (and if accidental, the number of people could not have been large), how did they know where they were going? Was the destination known in some other way?

        Further assuming that there were tradewinds in the same general direction as today, it would have been very hard to get back across the middle of the Atlantic. Was the climate sufficiently different at any time, so that there were no easterly tradewinds, or not for the whole year?

        Or did the Saharan people travel along the edges, all the way up north and down south? That would not require any single large hops in their route.

        Perhaps people were just a lot more mobile than we now think. Which brings back the tourists, loosely speaking.

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