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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


Monday, April 16, 2012

Choy and H. erectus in America

 

Emilio Choy Ma (1915 - 1976)


Emilio Choy Ma, a Peruvian of Chinese origin, (1915 -1976) an unknown archaeologist, but quite important because, he was I believe, the first person to put down in writing in a formal anthropological book, the possibility that hominids that predated modern Homo sapiens entered America:

That Neanderthals could have entered America makes it possible that other hominids that preceded them may have done so also, such as the Peking man (Sinanthropus) or the Java man (Pithecanthropus erectus)[1] [both of which we know name Homo erectus

He also added that: "Acheulean material found at Trenton implies that there were hominids in the New World, that is, the non specialized neanderthaloids." [1]

Trenton stone tools

These artifacts found at Trenton that Choy mentions, were unearthed by an amateur archaeologist, Charles Conrad Abbott at his family’s farm in New Jersey. He was convinced, due to their primitive nature, that they had been made by the ancestors of contemporary American Indians. Later (1877) he would believe they were made by primitive Paleolithic men. [2]

The idea found some support in professional archaeologists. But for the orthodox school, this was anathema, so the Smithsonian Institution quickly sent an expert, William H. Holmes to disprove Abbott.

Holmes said (1890, 1892)that these crude stone artifacts were not crude due to the poor techniques of their ancient makers, but because they were rejects. They were not finished tools but defective ones. Their crudeness was not an indication of their great age but of faulty manufacture. In fact, he said, the tools were recent. This dampened the mood and made everyone much more cautious.

Abbott had written in 1881“had the Delaware River been a European stream, the implements found in its valley woudl have been accepted at once as evidence of the so-called Paleolithic man”. He also added [3] (bold mine):

Mon. Mortillet has, in a late communication to the Society of Anthropology of Paris, given an interesting account of the resemblance between the implements found in the valley of the Debware, and those occurring in various localities in France. He says of a series of these implements collected by the author of this volume, and forwarded to him; "These stones do not chip so well as those of the Somme, because the latter are of si/ex, and silex is easily chipped. On the Delavarde [Delaware] River, there is no silex; men were there obliged to use a different stone — the trap, a sort of volcanic rock, slightly argilkiceous, and very hard and difficult to chip. For this reason the axes that you see here are not as perfectly made as those from St. Acheul.[3]

Choy also mentioned findings at the Niobrara and North Platte rivers as belonging to the end of the Tertiary period. And that these Asian hominids came into America with their own lithic technologies, “of the mid or even lower Paleolithic, that is the Soan industry and the Anyathian of Southeastern Asia, similar to the la Jolla findings by Carter and those in Wyoming by Renaud” [1]

Anyathian is a lithic industry that spans from 750 to 10 kya and belongs to the H. erectus of Myanmar (formerly Burma). The Soan industry refers to crude stone implements found in the Indian Subcontinent by the Soan River in the basin of the Indus River. The origin of the Soan toos are disputed as some say they geofacts instead of man-made.[4]

But Choy was clear, primitive lithic tools of Acheulean or even cruder technologies were brought to America by our more distant ancestors.

Sources

[1] Choy, Emilio. (1979), Antropología e historia. Unmsm. Vol 1. pp. 89, 110, 34-5, 126.
[2] Charles Conrad Abbott (1877) The Stone Age In New Jersey.
[3] Charles Conrad Abbott (1881). Primitive Industry
[4] Kenneth A. R. Kennedy, (2000), God-Apes and Fossil Men: Paleoanthropology of South Asia. University of Michigan Press, pp. 141


Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2012 by Austin Whittall © 

2 comments:

  1. I don't know if you've read the full Holmes treatment (it's not in your sources), but he takes apart the idea in a very through and scientific way. Nothing against Choy, but Holmes' argument would have to be deconstructed before you can discard it. It's also important to recognize that Holmes was overall a particularist. He doesn't try to destroy a concept with the one case, but deals directly with the evidence AND context. To say these aren't late Tertiary artifacts is not the same as denying the possibility of such artifacts in the New World.

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  2. Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately I have not had a chance to read the many papers written by Holmes in which he disproves the ancient origin of stone tools. I have read bits and pieces but not the complete works.
    Thanks for writing!
    Austin

    ReplyDelete

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