Thursday, April 27, 2017

An archaeological discovery unlikely to hold up

probably just some bones, nothing to see here
News reports of a human presence in North America 130,000 years ago, as evidence by an archaeological site near San Diego, California, strike me as likely not to lead to a rewriting of American prehistory.

No doubt the archaeologists are following the evidence before them, when they interpret an assemblage of mastodon bones and chipped stones dated to 130,000 BP as evidence of human activity in breaking the bones.

But you know, if they were breaking bones in San Diego 130,000 years ago, they must have come from somewhere, and they must have left some evidence of themselves.  And neither of those conditions seem likely to be confirmed.  So the rule that broken bones and broken stones together do not constitute proof of human presence seems likely to be borne out.

Maybe more striking than this one-day story are the jeering, sneering racist comments that follow the CBC's online news item. One might think a suggestion that the indigenous people of North America have been here at least ten times as long as had been conjectured would increase their stature and their title as First Peoples.  Of course, in the world of online anonymous commenting, it's the opposite.

Photo: San Diego Natural History Museum, via CBC news
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