Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Long History of Horses in America – Part III

Continued from the previous post regarding the enormous evidences of horses in the Americas long before Columbus arrived.
    One of the first steps in understanding the plight of the horse in the Americas, is before one credits a Spanish explorer with bringing the “first horses” into the New World following Columbus discovery, one has to figure a way to kill off all the resident stallions and mares that frequented the land. Educators accomplished this feat by pointing out that many Ice Age (or Pleistocene) beasts that didn’t survive the drastic warming of the Northern Latitudes. Initially, biologists suggested that all the horses were gone from both North and South America by 12,000 to 10,000 BC. Supposedly, this “extinction” coincided with the arrival of Big Game Hunters from Siberia. What seems forgotten in this theory is that wild horses, called “mustangs,” can reproduce an entire herd every four years, and has withstood severed climate environments from ice-sold winters to extremely heated summers throughout the Americas.
    In any event, while this “coincidental extinction” seemed to make a lot of “logical sense” to the experts, they seem to have overlooked some fundamental realities. Their theory is based on certain events:
(Red arrows) showing horses moving east to west between Siberia and Alaska, and people moving in the opposite direction, west to east across the so-called (blue lines) “land bridge

1) People from Siberia crossed a so-called “land bridge” from Siberia into Alaska and then down into the U.S. and eventually into South America; and 2) While people were coming in one direction, they claim that the horse traveled in the opposite direction, from the Americas across the “land bridge’ and into Siberia and then Asia and Europe.
    One might claim why Paleolithic hunter-gatherers came across the “land bridge” encountering the horde of horses moving in the opposite direction without killing off the animals since they were so motivated to find additional food as to travel through and away from all those animals.
    One might also rightfully question why these two groups moved in the opposite direction, passing one another, despite the glacial ice laying a mile or more thick on the ground at this crossing point through the land scientists have called Beringia.
    Of course, to get around this, the so-called experts conveniently claim that there was a path of solid ground between the ice down through Alaska, Canada and into the central U.S. In fact, how and when humans first came to the Americas has long been a topic of intense debate. Theories to explain the colonization of the New World—the last great habitable landmass to be occupied by humans—focuses on the Bering land bridge, or Beringia, which some claim emerged between Siberia and Alaska during the last ice age. These scientists claim that rising from seas drained by the water-locking effect of spreading ice caps, it is claimed that Beringia is said to have given passage to the forebears of Native Americans anywhere between 40,000 and 15,000 years ago.
    Yet, studies have shown that there was no pathway and that the glacial ice covered across this area in a solid sheet, providing no corridor through which animals and humans could have passed.
    In fact, if there ever was an ice-free corridor, it was closed off by the merging of the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets during the Last Glacial Maximum, when glaciers are believed to have covered 25% of the Earth’s land surface (L.E. Jackson Jr., et al., "Cosmogenic 36Cl dating of the Foothills Erratics train, Alberta, Canada," Geology, vol.25, no.3, 1997, pp195–198).
The so-called “ice-free” corridor

Those who believe there was an ice-free gap or corridor 930-miles long through the glacial ice have named their two ice sheets as Laurentide (east) and Cordilleran (west). However, of these two ice sheets Laurentide was by far the largest, covering most of Canada and a large portion of the northern United States, with the southern margin including the present-day sites of northeastern coastal towns and cities such as Boston and New York City, and Great Lakes coastal cities and towns as far south as Chicago and St. Louis, Missouri. It then extended westward following the present course of the Missouri River the northern slopes of the Cypress Hills in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, beyond which it merged with the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, blocking off any gap or corridor between the two ice sheets. 
    In addition, although the long held normative view of New World colonization relies on entrance through an interior ice-free corridor by terrestrially adapted big-game hunters, a recently demonstrated human presence in southern Chile dating prior to the existence of the corridor route implies different colonization scenarios which must be seriously considered. A renewed focus of archaeological and paleoecological research on early post-glacial landscapes in Northwestern North America has revitalized the “ice-free” vs. coastal corridor controversy.
    Geological findings from glacial geology and paleo-sea levels support the possibility of coastal migration from Beringia to the Pacific Northwest between about 12000 to 8000 BC, and preliminary paleoecological data suggest that the coastal landscape was in part vegetated and probably able to support a terrestrial fauna, including humans. The same cannot be said about the “ice-free corridor” (Carole Mandryk, et al., “Late Quaternary paleoenvironments of Northwestern North America: implications for inland versus coastal migration routes,” Quaternary Science Reviews, vol.20, no.1, January 2001, pp301–314).
    Then, too, so-called evidence of ice-free refugia that people could occupy (as it is claimed people did around the northern Mediterranean) above present sea level north of the Olympic Peninsula has been refuted by genetic and geological studies since the middle 1990s. The ice sheet faded north of the Alaska Range because the climate was too dry to form glaciers—it was also too dry for human habitation.
Actual ice coverage of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and the Cordilleran Ice Sheet

It should be noted that the eastern edge of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet abutted the Laurentide ice sheet, once again, disproving any gap or pathway between the two sheets. This eastern edge was anchored in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia and Alberta south of the Cascade Range of Washington. That is one and a half times the water held in the Antarctic. Thus, anchored in the mountain backbone of the west coast, the ice sheet dissipated north of the Alaska Range where the air was too dry to form glaciers (Christopher L. Hill, “Geologic Framework and Glaciation of the Central Area,” Handbook of North American Indians, Smithsonian, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, 2006, pp67-80).
    Originally, the Cordilleran ice sheet nucleated in the high mountains of British Columbia growing into small mountain ice fields, and valley glaciers advanced when climate deteriorated early during the glaciation period. With continued cooling and an increase in precipitation, glaciers expanded and coalesced to form a more extensive cover of ice in mountains, advancing out of the mountains and across plateaus, eventually coalescing to form an ice sheet that covered British Columbia and adjacent areas. During this period, the major mountain ranges remained the principal sources of ice, and ice flow was controlled by topography.
    Also, the ice thickened to such an extent during the final phase of glaciation that one or more domes became established over the interior of British Columbia. This caused surface flow radially away from their centers, resulting in a reversal of ice flow in the Coast Mountains, as the ice divide shifted from the mountain crest eastwards to a position over the British Columbia interior. A comparable westward shift and reversal of flow occurred locally in the Rocky Mountains, which reversals resulted from the build-up of ice in the interior to levels higher than the main accumulation areas in the flanking mountains (John J. Clague and Brent Ward, “Developments in Quaternary Sciences: Growth and Decay of Cordilleran Ice Sheet,” ScienceDirect, Elsevier Ltd., Amsterdam, 2011)
    The Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets solid connection, which eliminates the “so-called” ice-free corridor, is shown by recent research and discovery of the numerous erratics, that is stones and rocks transported by a glacier and then left behind after the glacier melt, one of a series of indicators which mark the path of prehistoric glacier movement. Such erratics are found all over the northwest of the U.S. and Canada, in such places as Yosemite National Park, Beartooth Mountains in Montana, and, among many other areas such as Okotosks, south Calgary, Alberta, the latter having an erratic weighing 16,500 tons. In fact, the Foothills Erratics Train, a 580-mile-long linear scattering of thousands of typically angular bounders lie on the surface of a generally north-south strip of the Canadian Prairies—mute evidence of a closure of ice sheets and an absence of an ice-free corridor in northwest U.S. and Canada.
    Such well-founded and highly considered evidence that the Laurentide Ice Sheet and the Cordilleran Ice Sheet were at one time connected, burying all the ground beneath the mile thick ice counters any discussion that horses moved out of the Americas and into Siberia an down into Asia and Europe, or people coming in the opposite direction.
    So if horses didn’t migrate across this so-called “ice-free corridor,” why did they go extinct in the Americas but survive in the Old World when they were indigenous to the Americas.
(See the next post, “The Long History of Horses in America – Part IV,” for more regarding the horses in America nearly everyone denies)

No comments:

Post a Comment