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, July 18, 2018

More on the Fuegian "dog" (actually a fox)

Following a recent paper that more or less says that American dogs were wiped out when Europeans arrived post-1492 AD, I came across this paper on the Fuegian Dog, which ratifies what I posted (Fuegian Dog: that they were domesticated foxes!)

This paper Molecular identification of a Fuegian dog belonging to the Fagnano Regional Museum ethnographic collection Tierra del Fuego by Romina S.Petrigh, Martín H.Fugassa,, Quaternary International, Volume 317, 13 December 2013, Pages 14-18, tells us the following:

Native-European contact in Tierra del Fuego was a rapid process, for which little ethnographic information has been produced. Although the Fuegian dog seemed to have been important to Selk'nam people's life, the taxonomic status of this extinct animal is still uncertain. The aim of the present work was to determine the zoological identity of a taxidermized canid belonging to a Fagnano Regional Museum collection, Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego. For this purpose, DNA from Fuegian dog and patagonian wild canids (Lycalopex culpaeus, Lycalopex griseus and Lycalopex gymnocercus) hairs was extracted. An mtDNA Region Control fragment was amplified by PCR and sequenced. Sequence alignment was performed among the sequences that were obtained in this research and the Canis lupus familiaris sequence from GenBank. Pairwise analysis showed a higher identity between the Fuegian dog and the culpeo fox (97.57%), with greater divergence with the current domestic dog (88.93%). These results were supported by the molecular phylogenetic analysis, suggesting atypical fox domestication by hunter-gatherers.

Above is the tree from the cited paper

This is another reference on Fuegian dogs (The Natural History of Dogs: Canidae Or Genus Canis of Authors ; Including Also the Genera Hyaena and Proteles, Volume 2) from 1840, by Charles Hamilton Smith.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2018 by Austin Whittall © 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hominins in China 2.1 Million years ago... pushing back the dates in Asia

The paper Hominin occupation of the Chinese Loess Plateau since about 2.1 million years ago by Zhaoyu Zhu et al, published today in Nature, is very interesting as it pushes back the date of an early hominin migration into Asia well beyond the Dmanisi hominins found in Georgia:

The abstract states:

"Considerable attention has been paid to dating the earliest appearance of hominins outside Africa. The earliest skeletal and artefactual evidence for the genus Homo in Asia currently comes from Dmanisi, Georgia, and is dated to approximately 1.77–1.85 million years ago (Ma). Two incisors that may belong to Homo erectus come from Yuanmou, south China, and are dated to 1.7 Ma; the next-oldest evidence is an H. erectus cranium from Lantian (Gongwangling)—which has recently been dated to 1.63 Ma—and the earliest hominin fossils from the Sangiran dome in Java, which are dated to about 1.5–1.6 Ma. Artefacts from Majuangou III5 and Shangshazui6 in the Nihewan basin, north China, have also been dated to 1.6–1.7 Ma. Here we report an Early Pleistocene and largely continuous artefact sequence from Shangchen, which is a newly discovered Palaeolithic locality of the southern Chinese Loess Plateau, near Gongwangling in Lantian county. The site contains 17 artefact layers that extend from palaeosol S15—dated to approximately 1.26 Ma—to loess L28, which we date to about 2.12 Ma. This discovery implies that hominins left Africa earlier than indicated by the evidence from Dmanisi."

And this is in China, surely the hominins who made those tools reached western Eurasia far earlier than the 2.12 My age assigned to those tools. Which may imply that they were not Homo erectus, maybe Homo habilis or even an australopithecine species! (maybe the ancestors of the primitive Flores island "Hobbit").

Maybe there are older tools at the site. The ones found are cobbles similar to those found in Africa with a similar age.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2018 by Austin Whittall © 
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