Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Understanding that America’s First People Arrived by Boat – Part I

Archaeologists have fought for decades over how and when people first arrived in the Americas. Did they walk from Siberia over a land bridge called Beringia and down an ice-free corridor between the great glaciers of western Canada? Or in their boats did they travel to the area south of the ice sheet in North America, and then through Central to South America?
    First of all, scientists claim there was an ice-free corridor is an area believed to have existed between the two ice sheets that covered Canada during the Late Wisconsinan Glaciation, which is claimed to have existed between 25,000 and 10,000 years ago. These two sheets, called the Laurentide in the east and the Cordilleran in the west are believed to have covered most of Canada and into the northern United States.
Map of the ice sheets that covered much of Alaska, all of Canada, and parts of the U.S., a fairly accurate estimate based upon measurable factors, such as glacial evidence. Note there is no Corridor from Alaska into the U.S. area

According to what is called the “ice-free corridor hypothesis,” it is claimed there was an area of land, or a passageway, between the two ice sheets on the east side of the Rocky Mountains. This land was thought to have been ice-free for all or part of the ice age, allowing early human travelers to make their way through this corridor to central North America. It is also thought that the humans followed herds of the large grazing animals they hunted, such as mammoths and bison, across an area now referred to as the Bering Land Bridge from Siberia, and then through the corridor to lands south of the ice sheets. At the same time, it is claimed that horses, which existed in North America, but became extinct around this time, had made their way across this same land bridge in the opposite direction from North America, through Alaska and into Siberia.
The so-called ice-free corridor along the east side of the Rocky Mountains from Alaska to the northern United States

While no proof of any of this exists, archaeologists and anthropologists still claim that early man came across such a Land Bridge, while continuing to search for supportive evidence. Such evidence, scientists claim, would have to include confirmation that the passage was open for humans and animals well before the time it is believed the Clovis people were already established in the southern part of the continent, somewhere between 11,500 and 11,000 years ago. This dating is in, which is a euphemism meaning that when radiocarbon dates do not agree with the calendar years, an adjustment has to be made since the carbon-ratio might have varied over time. 
    It was not until discrepancies began to accumulate between measured ages and known historical dates for artifacts that it became clear that a correction would need to be applied to radiocarbon ages to obtain calendar dates. The point is, radiocarbon years have to be converted to calendar years to arrive at the date or range of a c-14 radiocarbon dating period. Stated differently, radiocarbon dating is not accurate, and has to be adjusted by manipulating the figures to arrive at a date believed to be more correct.
According to the Clovis Culture theory, people came across a Land Bridge from Siberia into Alaska, then traveled down through the Ice Sheets of Canada via an open land corridor, and settled on the coast

Thus the Clovis culture is believed to have been in existence around 9,500 to 9,000 BC (Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology: "9,500–9,000 BC"), though Archaeologists use the dating of 13,200 to 12,900 years ago, and that the Clovis people are considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas (Michael Waters, et al, "Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the Peopling of the Americas," Science, Vol.315, 2007, pp1122–1126; David R. Starbuck, The Archeology of New Hampshire: Exploring 10,000 Years in the Granite State, UPNE, 2006, p25).
    For more than 20 years anthropologists have debated whether the first Americans arrived in the New World by walking over a land bridge across the Bering Strait, as millions of schoolchildren have been taught, or by sea from southwest Europe. A new analysis challenges the out-of-Europe hypothesis, which has figured in a political debate over the rights of present-day Native American tribes. Scientists announced that they had, for the first time, determined the full genome sequence of an ancient American, a toddler who lived some 12,600 years ago (before the Land Bridge) and was buried in western Montana. His DNA, they report, links today’s Native Americans to ancient migrants from easternmost Asia (Sharon Begley, “Ancient native boy’s genome reignites debate over first Americas,” Reuters, 12 February 2014). The study, published in the journal Nature, “is the final shovelful of dirt” on the European hypothesis, said anthropological geneticist Jennifer Raff of the University of Texas, co-author of the report.
Native Americans consider their ancestral lands to be sacred and want them isolated from the rest of America, often denying entrance to non-tribal U.S. citizens

According to Begley, this report and claim has angered Native Americans since the idea that the first Americans arrived millennia earlier than long thought and from someplace other than Beringia. This they feel would question their theory that the continent’s first arrivals originated in Europe and cast doubt on their origin stories and claims to ancient remains on ancestral lands.
    So the debate goes on. However, the importance of the claim by anthropologists and archaeologists has other problems since the area of the open corridor through the ice sheets is claimed by scientists due to new studies never to have existed until more than a thousand years after people are claimed to have been in South America. This study, by geologists, says that a chain of large boulders along the east side of the Rocky Mountains proves that the ice free corridor was closed until long after humans would have had to come through there. These boulders are part of the “Foothills Erratics Train,” and show that no such Land Bridge could have existed.
    The reason for this is that in southern Alberta, along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, thousands of large boulders (erratics) form a train over 375 miles long. These rocks contain clues that have helped scientists to understand the movements of the ice sheets that covered Canada during the Ice Age. When geologists examined the rocks, they discovered that they were all made of the same kind of rock, and they traced the source of that rock to an area around Mount Edith Cavell in Jasper Park.
Map showing the Cordilleran Ice Sheet and the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which archaeologists claim had  an open corridor between; Red Circle: Mt. Edith Cavell, at (Yellow Circle) Jasper in the Jasper National Park; Blue Line: Foothills Erratics Train of boulders, which was shoved from the west to its present position

Thousands of years ago, these large stones fell onto the surface of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet during a landslide, and then were slowly carried by the ice sheet outward onto the Plains. When the ice melted, a long train of boulders was left behind. Scientists claim that 12,000 years ago, the Laurentide Ice Sheet was between 8,000- to 10,000-feet high, which is comparable to Greenland today. When the planet started to warm, this ice began to melt, and the process took several thousand years to complete, some claim
    One such case was an abrupt cooling event across the Northern Hemisphere which occurred about 8200 years ago and which is documented by multiple types of paleoclimate records as lasting several decades to a few centuries. Separate geologic lines of evidence document the catastrophic drainage of the prehistoric glacial Lakes Agassiz and Ojibway in Canada into the Hudson Bay at approximately the same time.
(See the next post, “New Understanding that America’s First People Arrived by Boat – Part II,” for more on how science is now claiming the first Americans did not come across the so-called Land Bridge and open corridor through the ice sheets, but arrived by boat)

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