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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


Thursday, April 27, 2017

America peopled 130,000 years ago


Some very good news: atlastsome scientific evidence supporting an early =(130000 years ago) peopling of America; read more read more·


This is the link to the paper in Nature: Link to paper. And this is the abstract (I highlighted the Bold text):


"The earliest dispersal of humans into North America is a contentious subject, and proposed early sites are required to meet the following criteria for acceptance: (1) archaeological evidence is found in a clearly defined and undisturbed geologic context; (2) age is determined by reliable radiometric dating; (3) multiple lines of evidence from interdisciplinary studies provide consistent results; and (4) unquestionable artefacts are found in primary context1, 2. Here we describe the Cerutti Mastodon (CM) site, an archaeological site from the early late Pleistocene epoch, where in situ hammerstones and stone anvils occur in spatio-temporal association with fragmentary remains of a single mastodon (Mammut americanum). The CM site contains spiral-fractured bone and molar fragments, indicating that breakage occured while fresh. Several of these fragments also preserve evidence of percussion. The occurrence and distribution of bone, molar and stone refits suggest that breakage occurred at the site of burial. Five large cobbles (hammerstones and anvils) in the CM bone bed display use-wear and impact marks, and are hydraulically anomalous relative to the low-energy context of the enclosing sandy silt stratum. 230Th/U radiometric analysis of multiple bone specimens using diffusion–adsorption–decay dating models indicates a burial date of 130.7 ± 9.4 thousand years ago. These findings confirm the presence of an unidentified species of Homo at the CM site during the last interglacial period (MIS 5e; early late Pleistocene), indicating that humans with manual dexterity and the experiential knowledge to use hammerstones and anvils processed mastodon limb bones for marrow extraction and/or raw material for tool production. Systematic proboscidean bone reduction, evident at the CM site, fits within a broader pattern of Palaeolithic bone percussion technology in Africa3, 4, 5, 6, Eurasia7, 8, 9 and North America10, 11, 12. The CM site is, to our knowledge, the oldest in situ, well-documented archaeological site in North America and, as such, substantially revises the timing of arrival of Homo into the Americas."


Source
A 130,000-year-old archaeological site in southern California, USA Steven R. Holen Thomas A. Deméré Daniel C. Fisher Richard Fullagar James B. Paces George T. Jefferson Jared M. Beeton Richard A. Cerutti Adam N. Rountrey Lawrence Vescera Kathleen A. Holen. Nature 544, 479–483 (27 April 2017) doi:10.1038/nature22065



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7 comments:

  1. Austin,
    Those pesky archaics keep popping the up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Marcelo BruyereMay 9, 2017 at 5:34 PM

    Thank you for posting this very interesting research. As I have read from one of your links, this site is seen with certain degree of reluctance , even by open minded archaeologists ,such as T. Dillehay, J Adovasio, D. Meltzer, and others, who appear to be more receptive to consider new frontiers in the peopling of America,… but it seems that 130Kyr in America is (at least up to now) well beyond their optics. Their critics were around the lack of lithic material (in the form of flakes and debris) normally associated with hammerstones and anvils, the way the stones got there, the origin of its supposed use wear marks and, in general terms, the lack of more hard evidence to support the authors´s claims. But may be that the background complaint relies on this “provocative” age.
    Having read the full paper, in my modest opinion, there is a very detailed and credible treatment of all the facts involved in the research.
    Even if the evidence is not enough to conform what they consider as a “well defined archaeological site” , I would like to remark two important aspects of Cerutti Mastodon;
    - About the flaked bones; from the figures included, it can be inferred that its spiral fractures ( typical of being produced on fresh bones), are not due to trampling or other natural agent, because there are clear features (well explained in the paper), such as impact notches, percussion bulbs, and other patterns which denote the application of intentional impact forces to break them. The anthropic intervention in this process seems very hardly questionable.
    - About the dating method; 230Th/U with diffusion-adsorption-decay model is a valuable tool for dating bone up to 350 Kyr. Its application is possible only if the samples have behaved, as much as possible, as a “closed system” (early or linear U uptake, no significant U leaching from the bone nor posterior U overprint and not excessive Th detrital contamination ) during its entire burial period. It is indeed restrictive,… but if the samples meet these requirements (a fact properly demonstrated for Cerutti Mastodon ones),… this method can yield a reasonably accurate and in all terms valid, direct dating of the bones.
    The conjunction of these 2 factors; bones with this pattern of modification plus reliable direct dating of multiple samples of them, yielding consistent ages,… is, by itself, archaeological proof of human presence… regardless of the other criticized aspects.
    So, for me, it´s highly probable they were there….simply, those people (Homo???) didn´t left all the evidence expected by the archaeologists for a 130 Kyr site in America.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Marcelo!
      A very clear and comprehensive comment.

      Delete
  3. Hello Marcelo,
    My takeaway from the initial criticsms was that most who commented had not actually read the paper in it's entirety, the SI is where the good stuff is.
    Although the main focus is on the bones, which as you clearly pointed out, show unmistakable signs of human intervention.
    Along with the notching and bulbs of percussion, there is also the prepared platforms, from which the flakes were struck.
    There is also the inconvient fact that the femurs were broken mid shaft, and then further broken up, amd while some pieces are missing, the ends are stil there, with the heads right next to each other, one shaft up, the other shaft down, along with the remains of broken up teeth, and fragments of the femurs.
    All this neatly around one of the anvil stones, still in its upright position on its flat bottom.
    The refiited rock, tooth and bone fragments show that the show that every thing was broken right there.

    There is no natural process that could explain how both femurs of a mastadon can get broken up into small pieces, between two cobbles, with the fragments, and pieces of molars, yet not break the bones of the coot, or disarticulate the rib and spinal segment found underneath the debitage.
    And lets talk about those cobbles for a bit. They fall into the size and shape profiles of what is found at accepted hominin sites.
    One of the five is pegmatite, a granitic stone, found as distinct band in the mountains to the north east, while the others are andesite.
    Now here is the curious part, the andesite cobbles come from a miocene deposit laid down by a megaflood that flowed north from a volcanic region in mexico.
    So if I have my geology right the andesite cobbles cannot be native to the site, nor could they have washed to the site, as they would be found well below the geologic level of the site, except where a water course has cut the deposit, but that couldnt be the case as that would be both downstream amd dowmhill.
    The pegmatite cobble seems to come from a drainage to the north.
    It is unlikely that hydraulic forces carried the stones to the location, being the only ones in several meters of sediments.
    Humans is by far the simplest and most likely scenario to account for the evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello Ron
    Your are giving valuable and lucid appreciations in facts in which, honestly, I have not deepened enough, which are precisely the ones criticized by the archaeologists.
    Even I have focused on the bones, I think you are right when you infer that there are several aspects in Cerutti Mastodon that also seem to be unquestionable.
    I too have observed that;
    - The spatial distribution of fragments of bone and teeth around anvil CM-281 in grid E3 (fig. 3) is indeed very suggestive…and also, the presence in the same grid or near it, of some fragments that can be refitted in the pegmatite hammerstone CM-423 , strongly suggest a close relationship between hammerstone and anvil and therefore, with the other elements in grid E3….it doesn´t look like a natural scene…It can perfectly be assumed that everything in the neighborhood of this grid could have been broken with this two stones.
    - The selective breakage of bones is evident and, as you point, is another factor that rules out any natural process.
    - Respect to the cobbles, they do look like credible hammerstones/anvils, not only for its shape but too for their use wear marks…with patterns consistent with the experimentally obtained ones.
    - There is enough evidence to rule out a natural cause for the presence of this stones there…you also are giving a credible argumentation at this respect.
    I must admit that your comment led me to have a more careful look to the pdf, particularly the Suplemmentary Information ….and certainly helped me to better appreciate what you are pointing too.
    Best regards
    Marcelo

    ReplyDelete
  5. Austin,

    I wonder, does the the time period associated with this find, correspond to any divergence periods in paleo diseases that may have divereged from an archaic homonin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a very interesting question because if it does, it adds proof to the early arrival in America. I was reading about HPV the other day wondering about an Out of America origin... I'll check the papers and see if there is any overlap in time.

      Delete

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