Monday, January 18, 2016

Beringia: A Modern-day Fable – Part II

Continuing with the so-called movement across the Beringia Land Bridge that scientists claimed existed for a short time between Siberia and Alaska, allowing early man to move across from the Eastern Hemisphere to settle the Americas. 
    In the present world, the closest spot in Alaska to Siberia, the Seward Perninsula, is home to a couple of thousand Inuit (Eskimos) who live some of the harshest lives on the planet in one of the most difficult and hazardous living conditions in the world. Yet, these people, descendants of those who crossed out of Siberia, we are told, immigrated to find a better way of life in a better land.
The so-called migration across the Beringia Land Bridge into the Americas
    It is hard to imagine how any life prior to this could have been any worse to cause their early ancestors to make such a trip and then stop along the way in this harsh and hazardous area. It is also unexplained how the last of these Inuit arrived some 3000 years after the Land Bridge was supposed to have disappeared.
    In fact, one can only wonder why anyone would have stayed in this harsh northern land while others decided to travel further on. It is one thing to try and figure out how man got to all the continents, but another to use silly and unreasonable scenarios to come up with an answer.
Inuit (also known regionally as Yupik and Inupiaq Eskimos) still live in igloos (iglus), tents (tupik), and some in more modern wood and canvas housing (illuvut)
    Anthropologists have discerned several different cultural epochs that began around the Bering Sea. The Denbigh, also known as the Small Tool culture, began some 5000 years ago—4000 years after the closure of the Land Bridge. Others are the Bering Strait or Kotzebue Sound Eskimos, and even sometimes West Alaskan and North Alaskan Eskimos. Residing in some three dozen villages and towns—including Kotzebue, Point Hope, Wainwright, Barrow, and Prudhoe Bay—between the Bering Strait and the McKenzie Delta to the east, they occupy some 40,000 square miles above the Arctic Circle.
    Of course, one might wonder how these last Eskimos arrived in the frozen reaches of the western Alaska area, either along the Seward Peninsula, or north and east, covering the entire northern edge of the continents. In fact, one might wonder why these, and no one else, remained in this forbidden, extremely difficult region when the others coming with them from Siberia continued on, according to scientists, into middle and southern Canada, and the U.S., where living conditions were obviously better suited.
    However, they stayed in this far north where living conditions could not have been worse, and spread westward through Arctic Alaska and Canada. Oriented to the sea and to living with snow, the Denbigh most likely originated the snow house (igloo/iglu). Characterized by the use of flint blades, skin-covered boats, and bows and arrows, the Denbigh was transformed further east into the Dorset Tradition by about 1000 B.C
(Green) Where the Inuit live today covering the northmost reaches of Alaska, Canada, and parts of Greenland
    Once again, though scientists claim many things about this Beringia Land Bridge and the movement of early man across it, and also tell us that those on the Seward Peninsula are believed to have arrived about 4000 years ago5000 years after the closure of the so-called Land Bridgethey have no answer for how these later people arrived in a land that required a Land Bridge to cross earlier.
In this frozen north near the Bering Sea where these photos were taken, the Inuit are dependent upon their dogs and sleds
    While the Malamute dog breed was not established until the 1930s by Short Seely, when she selected a few exemplary dogs to serve as the foundation of her Kotzebue line as well as the beginning of a new AKC registered breed—the dogs she chose tended to be mostly gray & white and similar in size to other native sled dogs—the Inuit have always had dogs and sleds, for in no other way could they move any distance across the snow for some 9 months of the year.
The major language family for Arctic peoples is Eskaleut. While Aleut is considered a separate language, Eskimo branches into Inuit and Yup'ik, the latter including several languages, while Inuit is a separate tongue with several local dialects, including Inupiaq (Alaska), Inuktitut (Eastern Canada), and Kalaallisut (Greenland). Throughout their long history and vast migrations, the Inuit have not been greatly influenced by other Indian cultures. Their use and array of tools, their spoken language, and their physical type have changed little over long periods of time and large areas of space.
    Scientists believe the ancestral homeland for these groups likely originated somewhere in Beringia. In fact, the Bering Strait, which links the Arctic Ocean with the Bering Sea and separates the continents of Asia and North America at their closest point, is only 51 miles across and averages 98 to 164 feet in depth at its narrowest point. There are numerous islands in the strait, including the two Diomede Islands, and to the south of the strait lies St. Lawrence Island, with the U.S.-Russian boundary now extending through the strait.
    Some of the Bering Sea water passes through the strait into the Arctic Ocean, but most of it returns to the Pacific. In winter the region is subject to severe storms and the sea is covered by ice fields averaging 4 to 5 feet thick, with drift ice remaining in the Strait into mid-summer.
Scientist claim that some 20,000 to 25,000 years ago, towards the end of the Quaternary glaciation (Pleistocene, or current ice age),  monumental continental glaciers forming in the earth's northern hemisphere (especially in Canada and Greenland) locked up so much water that the world's ocean levels were more than 300 feet lower than today. In the region of the Bering Strait, this drop in sea levels is said to have exposed a massive unglaciated tract known as the Bering Land Bridge.
    This bridge joined northeast Asia to modern Alaska and formed part of a much larger province called Beringa. When fully exposed Beringia was over 1000 miles wide. Many scientists presume that it supported a tundra vegetation where Arctic fauna, particularly the caribou, flourished.
For most of the 20th century, archaeologists and anthropologists assumed that the forbears of the Native Americans moved across this land bridge following the game animals. However, towards the end of the 20th century, additional routes by which human beings first reached the Americas were being proposed: following the southern coastline of Beringia and Alaska, then southward along the Pacific coast all the way to the southernmost tip of South America, exploiting the rich marine fauna (shellfish, fish, sea mammals, seaweed) along the way.
    What no one seems to consider is that with the need for food and shelter, and especially in a non-hostile environment, what caused these people to continue traveling south? The world’s history is not one of constant movement, but rather of settlement and development. Certainly, the coast of northern U.S., in Washington, would have been conducive to permanent settlement. What would have prompted people to travel on? Obvious, the scientists need to show they did to fulfill their claim of how South America was settled, but their scenario simply does not make any sense.
    While it is true that in the age of conquest, hordes of people flowed out of their homeland to conquer far and wide, but ultimately, these hordes returned homeward and did not stay to settle until far into the middle centuries. Not until the Age of Discovery did man truly enter into a period of settlement far and wide across the land. 
(See the next post, Beringia: A Modern-day Fable–Part III,” for more of the unanswerable rationale scientists have used to support a Beringia Land Bridge and movement across it by early peoples to settle the Americas)

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