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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


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Homo erectus in Brazil: Itaboraí Basin.


Itaborai Basin Brazil Map
Map showing location of Itaboraí Basin, Brazil. Copyright © 2012 by Austin Whittall

MMy previous post on the presence of Homo erectus in Brazil dealt with the site at the Toca da Esperanca caves in the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil. Today I will mention another site, the Itaboraí Basin in Rio de Janeiro.


Both sites have been studied by Brazilian geologist and archaeoloigst Maria Beltrão.


Morro da Dinamite


The site, known as “Itaboraí Basin”, is located in the district of São José, about 60 km (37.5 mi) to the east of the city of Río de Janeiro, close to the town of Itaboraí (22°50'20"S; 42°52'30"W).


It is a site that has provided many fossils of late Paleocene age. Its central area comprises “Morro da Dinamite” (or “dynamite hill” in English), and this is the key place regarding hominid stone tools.


I will quote the following part of the article [1] in full as it is quite revealing, and has some rather strong statements for which I have not found any alterantive peer reviewed evidence to support it:


it was possible to identify, through the artifacts found there, a continuous technological sequence. This sequence started, at least, 1 my (middle Pleistocene). Even without absolute dating, it was possible to identify its age on the basis of:
a) the evolution of the chipped lithic material that includes choppers, bifaces, hand axes, Levallois type artifacts, lateral raspers, burins, etc (typological method);
b) the study of the climatic stains which were deposited on the artifacts during middle Pleistocene, revealing the possibility of an older age, that is, lower Pleistocene;
c) the use of two techniques of maturation of the sediments firstly developed in Africa and later applied in Brazil: the ratio of free iron / crystallized iron and the ratio silt-clay;
d) and, finally, the application of the stratigraphical method, due to its great depth (Beltrão et al., 2001).
(...)
Surprisingly, the Itaboraí site presents a technological sequence of chipped stone corresponding to several species of Homo in a same site, this is, having choppers and bifaces in its basis, as in Africa. Up to the present, another similar site is not known in the world, even in Africa, that would present such an assemblage of artifacts in a same site. Beltrão & Sarciá(1987) proposed that the Homo erectus, who lived 1 Ma, could have arrived in America (not excluding the possibility that the Homo ergaster have also arrived in America)...
[1]


The stone tools


The following image, taken from [1] (Figure 11) , shows the tools found at the site:


Stone Tools at Itaboraí From Fig. 11, [1]. Source [1]

Take a peek at the tool assembly and make up your own minds. I personally would like to read some other papers on the dating methods and a closer view of the stone tools. They do seem rather primitive so if the age is correct, they could mean that they were made by an archaic human. Yet I am still undecided.


Sources


[1] Beltrão,M.C.M.C., (2008). Itaboraí Basin, State of Rio de Janeiro - The cradle of mammals in Brazil. In: Winge,M.; Schobbenhaus,C.; Souza,C.R.G.; Fernandes,A.C.S.; Berbert-Born,M.; Queiroz,E.T.; (Edit.) Sítios Geológicos e Paleontológicos do Brasil. Available on line 25/04/2008 at the address: http://www.unb.br/ig/sigep/sitio123/sitio123english.pdf


The above paper cites the following works:


Beltrão,M.C.M.C.; Sarciá, M.N.C.L., (1987). L’Industrie lithique et la stratigraphie du site d’Itaoraí (Rio de Janeiro, Brésil). In: Congrès International de Paleontologie, 2, Turin, 1987. Résumès des Communications... Paris: UNESCO, p. 174.


Beltrão,M.C.M.C.; Rodrigues-Francisco,B.H.; Perez,R.A.R.; Bezerra,F.O.S.; Carvalho,B.; Caniné,J.M.M; Koatz, G.D. , (2001). O Parque Paleontológico de São José de Itaboraí (Rio de Janeiro) e seu entorno. Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia, 2: 53-55.



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

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