Homo Erectus/Neanderthal in North America?

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gunny
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Homo Erectus/Neanderthal in North America?

Post by gunny » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:28 am

Pedera Furada, Meadowcroft, And Cactus Hill are saying they have proof of 50K China has Homo Erectus at 30K. Neanderthals were roaming around all over the place from 250K. Still around in Spain about 20K. Why are we not thinking these guys got to the Americas? Many low seas with the continental shelf. Many warm eras with food availible. Think the possible sites are underwater, possible 100 meters from last ice thaw. Someone needs to approach the Woods Hole guy that found the Titanic with a nice grant to look.

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Post by Minimalist » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:39 am

Seawater would undoubtedly have destroyed any organic remains of HNS and the notion of finding tools at underwater sites seems remote, at best. Still, the idea has merit in the sense that perhaps their are stone circles underwater off the East coast of the US similar to those in Britain and France.

THAT would raise some eyebrows.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

stan again

underwater remains

Post by stan again » Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:44 pm

Seawater would undoubtedly have destroyed any organic remains of HNS and the notion of finding tools at underwater sites seems remote, at best.
Undoubtedly? What about teeth and bones?
What if they were buried in muck before the seawater came in?
And why not tools?

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Post by Minimalist » Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:50 pm

There was a post somewhere on here about archaeological sites off the Oregon coast and the unlikely chance of finding any organic remains because of the water. I suspect sea water is fairly corrosive.

As far as the tools go, HNS tools were essentially rocks with a shaped edge. Given the visibility issues and the actions of mollusks and algae it just seems unlikely that a diver would be able to distinguish a "tool" from a "rock".
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

Frank Harrist

Re: Homo Erectus/Neanderthal in North America?

Post by Frank Harrist » Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:47 pm

gunny wrote:Pedera Furada, Meadowcroft, And Cactus Hill are saying they have proof of 50K China has Homo Erectus at 30K. Neanderthals were roaming around all over the place from 250K. Still around in Spain about 20K. Why are we not thinking these guys got to the Americas? Many low seas with the continental shelf. Many warm eras with food availible. Think the possible sites are underwater, possible 100 meters from last ice thaw. Someone needs to approach the Woods Hole guy that found the Titanic with a nice grant to look.
There has been no credible evidence of Neanderthals in the americas. The Calico site on the west coast produced a few questionable tools from very early on, but no fossil bones and the tools are debatable. Some Mexican guy claimed a few years ago to have found some bones from some early version of homo, but the location and the fossils have long since vanished. I'm not saying there is no evidence still to be found, just that there isn't any available yet. As Bob said it may be off the coasts, but it seems to me that even then not everyone would live along the coast. Something will probably turn up eventually. Maybe Ballard will take on the coastal survey project.

FreeThinker

Non Sapiens in the Americas?

Post by FreeThinker » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:16 pm

To date there has been NO conclusive evidence of anything other than modern Homo Sapiens in the Americas. This does not, of course, rule out the possibility...but the pudding is in the proof.

Let me start with a little bit about the tools used by pre-Sapiens humans. This is a key in examining the evidence pertaining to the question of non-Sapiens habitation of the Americas.

The first and crudest type of stone tool found are what are called Oldowan and consist of only a few big flakes driven off (most commonly from only one side) of a suitably sized stone to produce a crude sharp edge. This style of tool is found primarily in Africa in association with Homo Habilis, although they have also been found in association with Homo Georgicus in Europe.

The tool kit used by Homo Erectus (and other pre-Neanderthal humans) is more sophisticated (though still limited) is called Acheulian and consists primarily of bifaced hand axes. Although Acheulian does still use a roughly hand sized stone as its starting point, the quality of the workmanship is much finer. These tools have been found throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Neanderthal tools are even more sophisticated and are called Mousterian. Mousterian is considerably more sophisticated than either Oldowan or Acheulian. Where the first two tool kits both consisted of taking a roughly hand size stone and chipping its edges down to a proper sharpness for cutting, tha Mousterian tool kit takes a wholly different approach. In Mousterian a core is prepared and multiple blades are struck from the core. This is a much more efficient use of materials and produces a very distinctive type of lithic point. Another thing to consider is that Neanderthals where the first to make compound tools (a stone point attached to a stick instead of just just a sharp stick or a non-hafted hand axe). There is no evidence of compound tool production pre-Neanderthal.

Finally, with Homo Sapiens, the tool kit used changes over and over. About the only thing consistent about the modern human lithics tool kit is its sophistication...far more sophisticated than any of the previous tools useb by earlier human types.

The tools found in the Americas ALL belong to a modern human lithic industry. There are no crude hand axes or choppers at ancient levels. No Oldowan, Acheulian, or Mousterian. Even if most of the sites were coastal and from a period of low sea levels worldwide it is very unlikely that ALL the sites would be underwater. I would expect that at least some stone tools of a pre-modern type would be found in the Americas if there were archaic human populations in the Americas. To date there have been none.

Meadowcroft and Cactus Hill have produced evidence of pre-Clovis habitation but there is no suggestion that the authors of the tools found were anything other than Sapiens. Indeed, the more speculative line of thought is that Meadowcroft and Cactus Hill represents an influx of modern human from Europe (Solutrian) and not from Asia as the traditional model of the peopling of the Americas holds. Plus the dates for these sites, although older than Clovis, are not old enough to be either Neanderthal or Erectus.

As far as Pedra Furada I am not familiar enough with the details of the work there to speak with athority, but from what I gleened from a quick web search I saw no indication that any of the remains (bones, tools, art, etc...) found there were produced by anything other than modern humans.

A quick word about skeletal remins is in order too here. When a human skeleton decomposes usually all the bones rot away to nothing too. Usually, but not always. Obviously some do survive in various states of preservation as we have as we have fossilized (and not yet fossilized) remains of many branches of the human family tree dating back millions of years. The most common bones to survive are the bigger thicker bones. This makes perfect sense. Just like sticks made of wood, a small bone will rot faster than a thick bone. And small items such as fingers get chewed off a dead hominid and taken away by scavengers more easily than say a whole leg or torso, so this too would help explain the relative lack of small bones found in most examples of archaic human remains.

There is one small boney anatomical feature that bucks this trend...teeth. Teeth are small, but by far harder than bone due to the coating of enamel the body produces. Teeth are the hardest part of a skeleton and many extinct fossil creatures are known only by their teeth. Teeth last and last and last, and for this reason are the most common skeletal fragment found.

To date not a single tooth has been found anywhere in the Americas that is a pre-Sapien tooth. None. Nada. Zip. Now it is true that absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence, but it often is. Until at least a tooth is found (or more than just a tooth) the concept of archaic humans in the Americas will remain in the realm of speculation.

It, to date, seems from the evidence so far collected, that the only human type to have populated the Americas was Homo Sapiens. BTW, there would be nobody more excited than me to have it proved that there were premodern humans in the Americas...but sadly the proof (so far at least) is just not there.

Frank Harrist

Post by Frank Harrist » Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:54 pm

That's pretty much what I was trying to say but you did it so much better, freethinker. Thanks! I agree with you 100%.

Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:46 pm

The tools found in the Americas ALL belong to a modern human lithic industry. There are no crude hand axes or choppers at ancient levels. No Oldowan, Acheulian, or Mousterian. Even if most of the sites were coastal and from a period of low sea levels worldwide it is very unlikely that ALL the sites would be underwater. I would expect that at least some stone tools of a pre-modern type would be found in the Americas if there were archaic human populations in the Americas. To date there have been none.


I once saw an exhibit at a museum on Long Island which said that the ice age coastline was 45 miles further out than it is today. If the theory of European seal hunters following the ice around to reach America is valid then I would expect most of their early sites to be somewhere near the coast....and thus lost to us because of the rising water.

Of course, that's a big 'if.'
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

stan
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overview

Post by stan » Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:39 pm

Thank you, free thinker, for that excellent post.
The deeper you go, the higher you fly.

Forester
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Post by Forester » Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:45 pm

Freethinker,

Thanks for that summary. I take it that you do not consider the Calico site as a valid tool site?

FreeThinker

Calico

Post by FreeThinker » Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:45 am

I am not really sure what to make of the Calico site. Leakey was and still is one of my all time heroes. Towards the end of his life he was convinced that the Calico site represented evidence of pre-Sapiens habitation of the Americas. Coming from the man who was the grand champion of paleontology of the 20th century this conviction is hard to dismiss. The vast majority opinion in the field today, however, is that he was wrong.

I have never visited the Calico site myself but my father did just last year and he was very impressed with the quality of tools found. However, he did also say that the dating of the tools was in question. This is a key point. Many of the most obvious (as compared to possible"naturefacts") tools come from surface finds or from areas of mixed and hard to read geomorphology. *shaking head* I sure wish I had gone on that trip with my father so I could give a first hand report.

From what I know of the site, it is huge. Miles upon miles of ancient lakefront (long dry) deposites consisting of cobbles and dried clay primarily. Only a tiny fraction of the whole possible site has been examined. Over the years the ground has turned hard as cement and funds are short so the digs go slowly.

The layers that the (possible) tools Leakey was excited about come from this cemented rubble. Many, many tons of this tough material has been excavated and from all that sifting a great number of crude possible tools have been uncovered. I say possible tools because they fall into the Oldowan industry, an industry so crude it is often impossible to tell if we are dealing with an artifact or a naturefact. This is the source of much of the controversy.

To date no relevant anatomical remains have been found at the Calico site. Not even a tooth. This would go (if found in a datable layer) a long way to proving the validity of Calico. Certainly if any pre-Sapiens remains were found it would turn the study of humans in the Americas on its head. That would be exciting!

The Calico site is very interesting and holds great potential for understanding the story of human habitation in that area. Certainly the possibility remains that stunning pre-Sapiens evidence will come to light there. Until such proof is found however I feel I must be cautious and leave the question of Calico just that...a question.

Rokcet Scientist

Re: Homo Erectus/Neanderthal in North America?

Post by Rokcet Scientist » Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:07 am

gunny wrote: [...]Neanderthals were roaming around all over the place from 250K. Still around in Spain about 20K. [...]
Afaik, the current dating of Neanderthal's 'fade-out' is from 46,000 to 41,000 years BC.
NOT 20K!
Last edited by Rokcet Scientist on Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Rokcet Scientist

Re: underwater remains

Post by Rokcet Scientist » Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:13 am

stan again wrote:
Seawater would undoubtedly have destroyed any organic remains of HNS and the notion of finding tools at underwater sites seems remote, at best.
Undoubtedly? What about teeth and bones?
What if they were buried in muck before the seawater came in?
And why not tools?
Bones disintegrate in seawater within 20 years. Teeth within a few centuries.
Whether or not they were buried in muck before the seawater came in, there will now be many layers of silt, at least dozens of feet – more probably hundreds of feet – covering it!
Same with tools of course.

Good hunting...
Last edited by Rokcet Scientist on Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

RK Awl-O'Gist

reply

Post by RK Awl-O'Gist » Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:25 am

This is a UK project specialising in Wetlands Archaeology, and I think they also investigate seabed landscapes too.
www.sogaer.ex.ac.uk/wetlandsresearch/

RK Awl-O'Gist

reply

Post by RK Awl-O'Gist » Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:28 am

I did it again! :shock: :roll:

Try this one-
www.sogaer.ex.ac.uk/wetlandresearch/

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