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Archaeologists Cast Doubt on ‘Oldest’ Evidence of Humans in the Americas


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

A research paper in 2020 made headlines by claiming that humans reached North America at least 30,000 years ago, but some archaeologists are raising concerns that the evidence was misread.

Conventional estimates have it that humans reached North America at some point between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago. A Nature paper published in July 2020 blew the lid off this estimate by claiming an earlier arrival date, as evidenced by 30,000-year-old stone tools and flakes found at the Chiquihuite Cave site in Zacatecas, Mexico.

The finding was taken as further proof that humans reached the Americas by traveling along a Pacific coastal route, as the gigantic continental ice sheets were still firmly in place at the time.

So yeah, a real bombshell of a paper—except that the physical evidence was completely misinterpreted, at least according to the authors of new research published in the science journal PaleoAmerica. The paper, co-authored by archaeologist Ben Potter from the Arctic Studies Center at Liaocheng University in China, argues that the items described in the Ardelean study are not actually stone tools and flakes but are instead the products of natural cave processes.

https://gizmodo.com/archaeologists-cast-doubt-on-oldest-evidence-of-human-1847976681

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/20555563.2021.1940441?

Related:

 

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The only thing that will convince scientists is bones.

And they are right.

 

So, that's why I am still waiting for @Nobu

Nobu once sort of promised to go visit Peru to go check my claim I found a fossilized skull of an obvious primitive human (protruding eyebrows, heavy lower jaw) in a museum in Arequipa. I even fu king started a thread about it!

How about it, Nobu?

 

Edited to add link to thread.

 

 

Edited by Abramelin
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On 11/2/2021 at 9:32 AM, Still Waters said:

A research paper in 2020 made headlines by claiming that humans reached North America at least 30,000 years ago, but some archaeologists are raising concerns that the evidence was misread.

Conventional estimates have it that humans reached North America at some point between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago. A Nature paper published in July 2020 blew the lid off this estimate by claiming an earlier arrival date, as evidenced by 30,000-year-old stone tools and flakes found at the Chiquihuite Cave site in Zacatecas, Mexico.

The finding was taken as further proof that humans reached the Americas by traveling along a Pacific coastal route, as the gigantic continental ice sheets were still firmly in place at the time.

So yeah, a real bombshell of a paper—except that the physical evidence was completely misinterpreted, at least according to the authors of new research published in the science journal PaleoAmerica. The paper, co-authored by archaeologist Ben Potter from the Arctic Studies Center at Liaocheng University in China, argues that the items described in the Ardelean study are not actually stone tools and flakes but are instead the products of natural cave processes.

https://gizmodo.com/archaeologists-cast-doubt-on-oldest-evidence-of-human-1847976681

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/20555563.2021.1940441?

Related:

 

I think I said much the same when this was first announced. Most of the "tools" looked like just rocks affected by natural processes to me.

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On 11/2/2021 at 12:57 PM, Abramelin said:

The only thing that will convince scientists is bones.

And they are right.

 

So, that's why I am still waiting for @Nobu

Nobu once sort of promised to go visit Peru to go check my claim I found a fossilized skull of an obvious primitive human (protruding eyebrows, heavy lower jaw) in a museum in Arequipa. I even fu king started a thread about it!

How about it, Nobu?

 

Edited to add link to thread.

 

 

Life is a b**** buddy. Covid has destroyed my wife’s Mexican family and mine in America.
I have been back and forth to our home in Mexico so many times the last year and a half it’s disorientating. So much we now have a home in midland that is closer. Sorry I didn’t live up to your hopes and dreams.

since your life hinges so much on me, I promise you I will do better.

Edited by Nobu
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On 11/2/2021 at 12:57 PM, Abramelin said:

The only thing that will convince scientists is bones.

And they are right.

 

So, that's why I am still waiting for @Nobu

Nobu once sort of promised to go visit Peru to go check my claim I found a fossilized skull of an obvious primitive human (protruding eyebrows, heavy lower jaw) in a museum in Arequipa. I even fu king started a thread about it!

How about it, Nobu?

 

Edited to add link to thread.

 

 

What other attacks you have little fella? Let’s get them on out. Let it breath.

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4 hours ago, Nobu said:

What other attacks you have little fella? Let’s get them on out. Let it breath.

Don't make promises you can't keep. At least you could have said you weren't going or couldn't go for whatever reason.

But ok, if you prefer to feel attacked, be my guest.

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4 hours ago, Nobu said:

Life is a b**** buddy. Covid has destroyed my wife’s Mexican family and mine in America.
I have been back and forth to our home in Mexico so many times the last year and a half it’s disorientating. So much we now have a home in midland that is closer. Sorry I didn’t live up to your hopes and dreams.

since your life hinges so much on me, I promise you I will do better.

Ah, ok. I read this post after the second one.

I am sorry for your loss.

Btw, my life doesn't hinge on you, it's just because I cannot go to Peru myself.

Nevermind, I won't mention it again.

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On 11/2/2021 at 10:57 AM, Abramelin said:

The only thing that will convince scientists is bones.

And they are right.

 

So, that's why I am still waiting for @Nobu

Nobu once sort of promised to go visit Peru to go check my claim I found a fossilized skull of an obvious primitive human (protruding eyebrows, heavy lower jaw) in a museum in Arequipa. I even fu king started a thread about it!

How about it, Nobu?

 

Edited to add link to thread.

 

 

Certain types of repetive tool use marking on the tools will also sway them

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On 11/5/2021 at 7:28 PM, Hanslune said:

Certain types of repetive tool use marking on the tools will also sway them

Then one of them suggests it was made by Capuchin monkeys:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/evan.20185

 

 

Edited by Abramelin
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13 minutes ago, Abramelin said:

Then one of them suggests it was made by Capuchin monkeys:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/evan.20185

 

 

Yes, however it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between geofacts, Capuchin and just badly made stone tools, tool use analysis will show if they were ever used. That is what killed off Calico Hills. One bad thing about stone tools - they last a long time and at some point a kid has to learn how to make them so so you find crude and badly made stone tools among well made ones. Sometimes you find them by themselves. Don't know if an analysis of the stones in question has been done.

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1 hour ago, Hanslune said:

Yes, however it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between geofacts, Capuchin and just badly made stone tools, tool use analysis will show if they were ever used. That is what killed off Calico Hills. One bad thing about stone tools - they last a long time and at some point a kid has to learn how to make them so so you find crude and badly made stone tools among well made ones. Sometimes you find them by themselves. Don't know if an analysis of the stones in question has been done.

The Potter et al paper expresses some of my doubts as mentioned in your original topic on the potential Chiquihuite site. Just went back and reviewed the initial paper once more. Again, dislike conducting lithic analyses from photographs. That said, their "flakes" appear to lack the standard diagnostic attributes and there would not appear to be any bifacial or even unifacial modifications on the larger specimens. And then we have the material type(s). Generally unsuitable for the professed applications. We also have the potential procurement patterns. Andrefsky and others have published on this aspect on a number of occasions. The inferred pattern here would not appear to be consistent with other findings. And the weathering...

And yes, while likely not related, the learning youth. We were once excavating a site that resulted in the recovery of three very crudely fashioned Woodland-type projectile points within a small horizontal provenience. The members of the crew, all Indigenous, decided that the points were products of the "Short Bus" culture (!).

Edit: Punctuation, clarification.

Edited by Swede
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Yep, the place I learned stone tool making is now underground at my Uni. If anyone in the future finds it and the results of 180+ students who went thru the same process they would think we were al neolithic morons - of course when we buried it (all those flakes were dangerous in a place where people just wear flip flops or go bare footed) we mixed in some plastic, modern ceramic pieces and the ubiquitous coke bottles.

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3 hours ago, Hanslune said:

One bad thing about stone tools - they last a long time and at some point a kid has to learn how to make them so so you find crude and badly made stone tools among well made ones.

  I was guessing that the sharpest and most delicate either needed frequent rework or replacement. Using steel knives and axes camping, I know they need sharpening.  Hand axes maybe not, but scrapers and points perhaps?  I would guess arrowheads, atlatl dart heads and spear points get broken or lost frequently enough to keep somebody busy.  Would a tool last years or a season of hunts do you think? 

  

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49 minutes ago, Tatetopa said:

  I was guessing that the sharpest and most delicate either needed frequent rework or replacement. Using steel knives and axes camping, I know they need sharpening.  Hand axes maybe not, but scrapers and points perhaps?  I would guess arrowheads, atlatl dart heads and spear points get broken or lost frequently enough to keep somebody busy.  Would a tool last years or a season of hunts do you think? 

  

They need to be resharpened. We used stone tools to work wood, cut meat and other tasks and found they dulled very quickly, and broke a lot to. A stone arrow or spear head hitting a bone or tree would often break. Don't recall the percentage (did this in 1973). The biggest problem we had was cutting ourselves, getting pricked by flying flakes and most dangerously getting flakes to the eye. We found from reading about native tool makers that a dash of water or strong blow to the back of the head would remove the flake.

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2 hours ago, Hanslune said:

They need to be resharpened. We used stone tools to work wood, cut meat and other tasks and found they dulled very quickly, and broke a lot to. A stone arrow or spear head hitting a bone or tree would often break. Don't recall the percentage (did this in 1973). The biggest problem we had was cutting ourselves, getting pricked by flying flakes and most dangerously getting flakes to the eye. We found from reading about native tool makers that a dash of water or strong blow to the back of the head would remove the flake.

I admire you for taking up that skill.  One of my TV heroes is Phil Harding the Time Team guy who is something of a knapper.  

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3 hours ago, Tatetopa said:

I admire you for taking up that skill.  One of my TV heroes is Phil Harding the Time Team guy who is something of a knapper.  

Still have some of the obsidian we used and the tools made. Even retained the 'book' we used  'An introduction to Flintworking' by Don E. Crabtree. Learned to make some of the tools used by the proto-Maya, and various tool kits fashioned by the folks of Tenta and Cyprus' Akrotiri phase too. Used it several times in Army when a sharp edge was needed and was non-metallic and occasionally on camping trips (made a quick blade for some campers who had no knife just recently)

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4 hours ago, Tatetopa said:

I admire you for taking up that skill.  One of my TV heroes is Phil Harding the Time Team guy who is something of a knapper.  

007_zps81a13d04.jpg?t=1416173117

Amazing what you will find if you just look where you are walking.... 

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22 hours ago, Hanslune said:

Yep, the place I learned stone tool making is now underground at my Uni. If anyone in the future finds it and the results of 180+ students who went thru the same process they would think we were al neolithic morons - of course when we buried it (all those flakes were dangerous in a place where people just wear flip flops or go bare footed) we mixed in some plastic, modern ceramic pieces and the ubiquitous coke bottles.

This brings up an interesting point that has been discussed with my colleagues. When am teaching the hands-on session of lithic technology courses at institutions, a tarp is spread out to not only contain the debitage, but to also allow for the study of debitage distribution patterns. This debitage is then disposed of in a safe manner.

However, in non-institutional settings, it has been my argument that removing the debitage actually skews the archaeological record. For what ever reasons, people are still utilizing traditional lithic technology  practices. To remove the data actually generates an inaccurate picture. After pondering, various colleagues have agreed with my position.

.

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22 hours ago, Tatetopa said:

  I was guessing that the sharpest and most delicate either needed frequent rework or replacement. Using steel knives and axes camping, I know they need sharpening.  Hand axes maybe not, but scrapers and points perhaps?  I would guess arrowheads, atlatl dart heads and spear points get broken or lost frequently enough to keep somebody busy.  Would a tool last years or a season of hunts do you think? 

  

Just to add a bit to Han's reply: While not so common in more recent times, at earlier periods projectile points would be recovered that were so heavily re-worked that they were classed as a distinct point type rather than being assigned to their correct classification. If you study Wormington, you can view, for example, Clovis points reworked to comparative "nubs".

.

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3 hours ago, Swede said:

This brings up an interesting point that has been discussed with my colleagues. When am teaching the hands-on session of lithic technology courses at institutions, a tarp is spread out to not only contain the debitage, but to also allow for the study of debitage distribution patterns. This debitage is then disposed of in a safe manner.

However, in non-institutional settings, it has been my argument that removing the debitage actually skews the archaeological record. For what ever reasons, people are still utilizing traditional lithic technology  practices. To remove the data actually generates an inaccurate picture. After pondering, various colleagues have agreed with my position.

.

We did the classes for several years then excavated portions of the used area using 5-7 test pits if I recall then they decided to put temporary buildings there and the area was covered.

I just went and checked the temp buildings are gone and there is a permanent one in that area that seems to cover the area I remember the teaching area was at. Problem solved!

 

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19 hours ago, Hanslune said:

We did the classes for several years then excavated portions of the used area using 5-7 test pits if I recall then they decided to put temporary buildings there and the area was covered.

I just went and checked the temp buildings are gone and there is a permanent one in that area that seems to cover the area I remember the teaching area was at. Problem solved!

 

Chuckle! Indeed so. Not only did the construction of the permanent structure likely severely disturb the soils of the area (no integrity, no Register eligibility), it is now capped. Your past errors are now safely removed from consideration!

.

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54 minutes ago, Swede said:

Chuckle! Indeed so. Not only did the construction of the permanent structure likely severely disturb the soils of the area (no integrity, no Register eligibility), it is now capped. Your past errors are now safely removed from consideration!

.

Lucky me. I email a friend of mine who participated in that class and he reminded me of one time while bashing away a fragment from his work sliced into my pants causing a minor wound but also opening a pocket and I lost a bunch of change (back in the day when lunch cost a 1.50 USD), dang I'll never get that money now. The coins should do well and be presentable for hundreds of thousands of years.

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  • 6 months later...

This is what happens when any new information is found that upsets their apple cart.  Any data that doesn't fit the accepted dogma is discredited, typically with no real evidence.  Happens all the time, and for all of the wrong reasons.  There is a lot of good evidence of an earlier peopling of the Americas, and not all of it from Asia, either.

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13 minutes ago, LadyPhoenix said:

This is what happens when any new information is found that upsets their apple cart.  Any data that doesn't fit the accepted dogma is discredited, typically with no real evidence.  Happens all the time, and for all of the wrong reasons. 

Howdy Lady Phoenix. Welcome to the board: YET, the view of the past constantly changes so some data must be accepted (it actually is). Lots and lots of carts have been upset during my time in Archaeology, Catalhuyuck, SA DNA in Polynesia, the dethroning of Clovis, L'Anse aux Meadows, Sweet potato in Polynesia, Hobbits, Denisovians, Blombos cave about forty more key changes in our view of ancient man the rise of DNA tech and what it tells us about people sloshing about in the Americas and elsewhere.

Quote

There is a lot of good evidence of an earlier peopling of the Americas, and not all of it from Asia, either.

So, which of the evidence do you think we should take more seriously? Chiquihuite Cave?, Folks from Europe by way of the ice sheet/sea route, Solutrean? Australia? Africa?  Calico? 130,000 bones in CA, other stuff from Cremo? Hueyatlaco?

 

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Crimminy, what happened to tribesmen from Siberia? They had the DNA to back it up too,. Or so I thought

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