Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting to America (Neanderthals)

Sea Ice
LGM sea ice and possible routes of entry from
the Old World into the New World
. Ice thickness in meters.
Adapted from [1]

A reader of this blog, Pablo Infantino and I exchanged several e-mails regarding possible entry routes into America for the Neanderthals.

Pablo suggests that they did not arrive via Beringia, they came across the North Atlantic, coasting the ice pack that covered that part of the world during the Ice Ages. This route, put forth by Stanford y Bradley to support their Solutrean migration into North America. Which, Pablo says could have been possible during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) some 20 kya or even before about 130 kya. He correctly asserts that the had the ability to build boats for coastal navigation, they were well adapted to the harsh cold conditions (clothes and physiology) and they also could have used the existing marine resources during the crossing (he cites Stringer and Finlayson to support the latter).

The North Atlantic route would have meant that they did not come across Denisovans or other pre-existing hominids in their coastal navigation.

It also explains why there are no traces of Neanderthal genes in Asia (they did not trek across Asia).

He points out two stumbling blocks:

1. The lack of evidence of Mousterian boats
2. The incorrect gradient of B006 haplotype and O blood group in Europe and America. Which should be higher in the Eastern seaboard and lowest in the West.
He -in my opinion- correctly states that later migrations pushed the Neanderthals towards the Western seabord. Pablo adds that: Otherwise the Neander may have diverged from the Denisovans in Ameria and moved across the Atlantic on a West to East course into Europe...).

I suggested that perhaps they had not "navigated" along the edge of the sea ice, but trekked across it. Believing that the ice extended from the British Isles all the way to America. Along the way they could have hunted seals, bears and the now extinct "aulk" or northern penguin. This would avoid the "boat" problem.

I also noted that the B006 gradient is similar to the situation found in Britain where the original Celtic genes were pushed into Ireland, Scotland and Wales when faced with the onslaught of Anglosaxons who displaced them from the best land.

Now, I have found an interesting map, shown above which shows that the sea ice did not extend from the UK to the US.

It changed between Summer and Winter. It actually had a deep indentation between Scandinavia and Iceland, so if the Neanderthals trekked across it, they walked a long way from C to D (note the word "ice" in blue shows the glacier cover in northern Europe). By boat the route would have been the same, unless they dared to go west and cross a large extent of open sea (southern red arrow) and then navigate along the ice pack.

It seems to me that the sea ice coverage in the North Atlantic is not suitable for the Neanderthal's Europe to America crossing.

By the way, I also looked at the South Atlantic recalling that in my book I had mentioned the following:

Portuguese anthropologist Mendes Correia (1888-1960) proposed a migration route via Tasmania, the Antarctic and Drake Passage, instead of trans-Pacific route, entering South America at Tierra del Fuego some 8,000 years BP, before the Antarctic ice cap formed. But this is conception is highly disputed and lacks archaeological proof.

So I took a look at the Southern Hemisphere's ice pack around Antarctica and traced the possible route as A to B. This could be the route taken by the modern Homo sapiens ancestors of Fuegian people from Australia to America. But also, the one taken by H. erectus long before modern men appeared.

[1] Bette L. Otto, et al. (2005). Last Glacial Maximum and Holocene Climate in CCSM3. Journal of Climate. vol. 19 pp. 2526- 44.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
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