Skip to comments.LUZIA - Second Oldest Human Skeleton Ever Found In The Americas
Posted on 11/18/2004 3:51:27 PM PST by blam
The Lagoa Santa (or "Luzia") Group (Minas Gerais, Brasil)
A skull belonging to a roughly 20 year old woman was unearthed in Brazil by the French archaeologist Annette Laming-Emperaire in the 1970s. She died before being able to do much work on her dicovery.
Annette Laming-Emperaire at work in her Lapa Vermelha excavation.
The skull was later re-discovered by Brazilian Prof. Walter Neves and analyzed. He also excavated more remains in the same cemetery-like site where the original "Luzia" had been found. Neves named the ancient lady "Luzia" in analogy to the famous and much older African "Lucy" - the press and a wider public much preferred the new name to the skull's cumbersome official designation "Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1".
The face of "Luzia" was reconstructed using modern forensic methods and its morphology painstakingly analyzed by craniometric measurements. The reconstruction brought to light and and the measurements confirmed that "Luzia" was not a mongoloid Amerindian but had features indicating a possibly Australoid or southeast Asian ancestry. When it was dated to around 11,500 to 12,500 years ago (the oldest human remains found so far in the Americas), the sensation was perfect.
Since Luzia's discovery, at least 50 similarly un-mongoloid Palaeoamerican remains have been found in the Lagoa Santa area near where "Luzia" herself was found. They all seem to have been buried within a small area that may have been a cemetery. This rises the intriguing question of whether the Lagoa Santa population at this early time was perhaps already settled in a specific area and perhaps even no longer just hunter-gatherers. There are a lot of unanswered questions about the Lagoa Santa people that cry out for further research.
The craniometric analysis of the skulls found later confirms that "Luzia" was not a single aberrant individual but belonged to an established population with apparently southeast Asian characteristics. "Luzia" herself is now in the National Museum at Rio de Janeiro while most of the other finds are stored at the Natural History Museum, Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais.
Her investigators think of "Luzia" as Australoid. She could be. However, at the Andaman Association we cannot help thinking that the Lagoa Santa people look more Negritoid than Australoid in the way her facial features have been reconstructed (see picture above). Our president, George Weber, says that his own spontaneous reaction to seeing the restored face of "Luzia" for the first time was an astonished "my God! an Onge woman in Brazil!"
If Luzia was indeed Negritoid, it would do away with the somewhat unlikely crossing of the Pacific at such an early date as well as with the enormous return trek by Australians from Australia via Siberia and Alaska into the Americas (a lot of which would have led through their left-behind cousins' hunting territories).There is evidence that both modern Australians and modern Negritos (along with Melanesians, Papuans, Veddoids and some others) come from the same original immigrant stock and are thus distantly related. The wanderings of the Americans-to-be would most likely have taken them along the coast of China and Japan (which was not an island then).
It would be interesting to hear of some evidence, however scant, linking an Amerindian group with the area. Such evidence does indeed exist: a study among the living Cayapa (Chachi) of Ecuador indicates some molecular similarities of Japanese and Southeast Asians populations - similarities that are absent in northeast Asians (Trachtenberg E.A. et al, 1995. "HLA Class II Linkage Disequilibrium and Haplotype Evolution in the Cayapa Indians of Ecuador", American Journal of Human Genetics 57:415-424).
Those wishing to delve deeper into this subject could do worse than read Thomas D. Dillehay's book "The Settlement of the Americas" (published 2000 by Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-07668-8) or watch the documentary of 1999 "Tracking the first Americans," by Jean-Claude Bragard, BBC Manchester, The Learning Channel.
For detailed study of the subject there are Prof. Neve's and his collaborators' reports:
Neves W.A . and Pucciarelli H.M. 1991. "Morphological Affinities of the First Americans: an exploratory analysis based on early South American human remains". Journal of Human Evolution 21:261-273
Powell J.F. and Neves W.A . 1999. "Craniofacial morphology of the first Americans: pattern and process in thepeopling of the New World". Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 42:153-188
Neves W.A ., Powell J.F. and Ozolins E.G. 1999. "Extra-continental morphological affinities of Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1: A multivariate analysis with progressive numbers of variables. Homo 50:263-268
Neves W.A ., Powell J.F. and Ozolins E.G. 1999. "Extra-continental morphological affinities of Palli-Aike, Southern Chile". Interciencia 24:258-263
The oldest skeleton Ever found in the americas.
The Olsdest: OK, Woman:?
Have seen other folks look just like her in the WashDC area. How about Nanticoke?
If Luzia was indeed Negritoid
Aha! This could make the black race the Native Americans. Wouldn't this throw a ringer into the history books. You know, like the Indians would have taken over the land by killing the blacks. The blacks would now be entitled to their own reservations and they would be entitled to half the salmon and shellfish in Washington State. And just think of all those casinos going to the blacks. Talk about lifting the disenfranchised up, this could turn into something reallllllllllly BIG!
Bones off coast may date back 13,000 years
The finding on an island off California supports the notion that the first humans in America came by boat
Monday, July 5, 1999
By Richard L. Hill of The Oregonian staff
Three human bones found 40 years ago off the Southern California coast may rewrite the history of the Americas.
Recent radiocarbon dates indicate they are about 13,000 years old. If confirmed, that would make them the oldest remains ever found in North America.
The bones -- two thigh bones and a kneecap -- were found in 1959, buried 30 feet deep in the side wall of Arlington Canyon on Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara. Phil C. Orr, who was curator of anthropology and paleontology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, discovered them.
The finding adds support to the theory that at least some of the first humans who came to the New World may have arrived by boat rather than by a land route.
John R. Johnson, current curator of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum, where the bones are stored, said Orr was interested in the pygmy mammoths that had become extinct on the Channel Islands at the end of the last ice age.
"Phil was trying to prove that their extinction was no accident -- that humans were out there hunting the mammoth and roasting them in pits," Johnson said.
Orr, who died in 1991, was surveying mammoth bones on the island when he saw a human thigh bone poking out from the side of the canyon. A closer examination revealed the other two bones.
Johnson said Orr, who called his discovery "Arlington Springs Man," obtained a radiocarbon date of 10,000 years from charcoal in the same soil layer that contained the bones. But because of questions about the date's accuracy, he removed the block of earth that contained the bones, wrapped it in plaster and placed it in a museum storage room.
"Phil realized what a stupendous find it was," Johnson said, "so he did the smart thing by archiving that block of earth with the remains for that future time when dating techniques would improve."
Johnson and Don P. Morris, an archaeologist with Channel Islands National Park, recently sent a minute bone fragment to Thomas W. Stafford, a research geochemist who runs the Stafford Research Laboratories in Boulder, Colo., who came up with the 13,000-year-old date.
The researchers also determined that Arlington Springs Man actually is Arlington Springs Woman. They estimated from the length of one thigh bone that the woman was about 5 feet 1 inch tall.
Johnson said field work at the discovery site might provide more information. "Once there is a series of radiocarbon dates obtained in the strata above Arlington Springs Woman, it'll give us more confidence in the dates we have," he said.
Discoveries of such ancient remains are rare. The oldest previous skeletal remains found in North America were those of "Buhla." They were found in 1989 in a gravel quarry near Buhl in south-central Idaho. Only about half of her was recovered, as her pelvis and other lower-limb bones apparently were lost in a rock crusher. Radiocarbon dating put the remains at 10,675 years old.
The oldest remains found in Washington or Oregon are those of Kennewick Man, a virtually complete skeleton found in July 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Wash. A radiocarbon date determined the remains to be about 9,300 years old; further testing is planned.
27 posted on 12/17/01 10:26 PM Central by blam
They all look alike to me, LOL
Found: 1940, in Spirit Cave near Fallon, Nev. Age: 9,400 years Discoverers: S.M. and Georgia Wheeler Significance: One of the most securely dated ancient Americans. In addition, such rarely perserved items as hair, skin, clothing and textiles were recovered. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This facial reconstruction is the copyrighted work of Ms Sharon A. Long, Artist/Anthropologist, in cooperation with Dr. Douglas Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution. It is used here with Ms Long's permission. The image may not be used without the express permission of Ms Long [SkullLady@aol.com].
Spirit Cave Man eked out a life among the oases of an unforgiving desert. He fished in Great Basin lakes, hunted small mammals and wore clothing woven from strips of pelts and marsh plants. The hunter survived to his mid-40s. But he had broken his right hand and suffered chronic back pain from arthritis, herniated disks and a fracture in his spine. A blow to the left temple dented and cracked his skull, which had just begun to heal when he died, perhaps from that injury or the advanced abscesses in his upper and lower jaws. He was buried lying on his right side, arm flexed so his hand rested beneath the chin, in a shallow grave dug in a desert cave. The cave's climate preserved patches of skin and reddish-brown shoulder-length hair on the skull, making him North America's oldest mummy. Dried intestines contained fish bones from a final meal. Also preserved were his rabbit fur robe, two shrouds of woven tule reeds, and well-worn moccasins of three kinds of animal hide, sewn with hemp and sinew, and patched on the soles. Copyright © 1999 Discovery Communications Inc. Also check out ARCHAEOLOGY's newsbrief on the Spirit Cave Man, from the September/October 1996 issue
Genet. Mol. Biol. v.22 n.4 São Paulo dez. 1999
LAPA VERMELHA IV HOMINID 1: MORPHOLOGICAL AFFINITIES OF THE EARLIEST KNOWN AMERICAN
Walter A. Neves1, Joseph F. Powell2, Andre Prous3, Erik G. Ozolins2 and Max Blum1
Several studies concerning the extra-continental morphological affinities of Paleo-Indian skeletons, carried out independently in South and North America, have indicated that the Americas were first occupied by non-Mongoloids that made their way to the New World through the Bering Strait in ancient times. The first South Americans show a clear resemblance to modern South Pacific and African populations, while the first North Americans seem to be at an unresolved morphological position between modern South Pacific and Europeans. In none of these analyses the first Americans show any resemblance to either northeast Asians or modern native Americans. So far, these studies have included affirmed and putative early skeletons thought to date between 8,000 and 10,000 years B.P. In this work the extra-continental morphological affinities of a Paleo-Indian skeleton well dated between 11,000 and 11,500 years B.P. (Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1, or "Luzia") is investigated, using as comparative samples Howells' (1989) world-wide modern series and Habgood's (1985) Old World Late Pleistocene fossil hominids. The comparison between Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1 and Howells' series was based on canonical variate analysis, including 45 size-corrected craniometric variables, while the comparison with fossil hominids was based on principal component analysis, including 16 size-corrected variables. In the first case, Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1 exhibited an undisputed morphological affinity firstly with Africans and secondly with South Pacific populations. In the second comparison, the earliest known American skeleton had its closest similarities with early Australians, Zhoukoudian Upper Cave 103, and Taforalt 18. The results obtained clearly confirm the idea that the Americas were first colonized by a generalized Homo sapiens population which inhabited East Asia in the Late Pleistocene, before the definition of the classic Mongoloid morphology. "
"Negritoid" means southeast Asian not African. I had a book from Indonesia that had a number of pictures of the native "Negritos". They really do look African but actually are one of the populations of people with the most genetic distance from Africa.
" The cave's climate preserved patches of skin and reddish-brown shoulder-length hair on the skull, making him North America's oldest mummy."
May be related to The Si-Te-Cah?
Right I believe Melanesians are classified with Negritos.
Neves suggests that the first Americans are not Australian but rather are descended from an ancestal population.
" There is no necessity of invoking the occurrence of trans-oceanic migrations to explain the pattern of biological affinities we have been finding for the first Americans. The best way of reconciling the pattern of morphological similarities found in this work with common knowledge about human evolution in East Asia is to assume that both the first Australians and the first Americans shared a common ancestral population in mainland Asia. This ancestral population could well be represented by hominids similar to the Zhoukoudian Upper Cave people (Kamminga and Wright, 1988; Wright, 1995; Neves and Pucciarelli, 1998) and its ultimate origin can be traced back to Africa. "
Zhoukoudian Cave is in north China.
In my opinion, a lot of these folks were all disrupted from their homeland by the Ice Age melt. Some came from Sundaland.
Good post. Very interesting. There was a report on CNN today about some stone tools and animal remains found in the Midwest that were in a level dated to 50,000 BP. Some hominid remains that old would really knock all the theories for a loop.
The paleoanthropology knowledge base exploded with the finds in the Afar region of East Africa in the 1970s-1980s. Sounds like somewhat the same thing may be happening in the Americas--both new discoveries and new evaluations of old discoveries.
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