Skip to comments.Does Skull Prove That The First Americans Came From Europe?
Posted on 11/24/2007 11:28:47 AM PST by blam
Does skull prove that the first Americans came from Europe?
By Steve Connor Science Editor
03 December 2002
Scientists in Britain have identified the oldest skeleton ever found on the American continent in a discovery that raises fresh questions about the accepted theory of how the first people arrived in the New World. The skeleton's perfectly preserved skull belonged to a 26-year-old woman who died during the last ice age on the edge of a giant prehistoric lake which once formed around an area now occupied by the sprawling suburbs of Mexico City.
Scientists from Liverpool's John Moores University and Oxford's Research Laboratory of Archaeology have dated the skull to about 13,000 years old, making it 2,000 years older than the previous record for the continent's oldest human remains. However, the most intriguing aspect of the skull is that it is long and narrow and typically Caucasian in appearance, like the heads of white, western Europeans today. Modern-day native Americans, however, have short, wide skulls that are typical of their Mongoloid ancestors who are known to have crossed into America from Asia on an ice-age land bridge that had formed across the Bering Strait.
The extreme age of Peñon woman suggests two scenarios. Either there was a much earlier migration of Caucasian-like people with long, narrow skulls across the Bering Strait and that these people were later replaced by a subsequent migration of Mongoloid people. Alternatively, and more controversially, a group of Stone Age people from Europe made the perilous sea journey across the Atlantic Ocean many thousands of years before Columbus or the Vikings.
Silvia Gonzalez, a Mexican-born archaeologist working at John Moores University and the leader of the research team, accepted yesterday that her discovery lends weight to the highly contentious idea that the first Americans may have actually been Europeans. "At the moment it points to that as being likely. They were definitely not Mongoloid in appearance. They were from somewhere else. As to whether they were European, at this point in time we cannot say 'no'," Dr. Gonzalez said.
The skull and the almost-complete skeleton of Peñon woman was actually unearthed in 1959 and was thought to be no older than about 5,000 years. It formed part of a collection of 27 early humans in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City that had not been accurately dated using the most modern techniques.
"The museum knew that the remains were of significant historical value but they hadn't been scientifically dated," Dr Gonzalez said. "I decided to analyse small bone samples from five skeletons using the latest carbon dating techniques. I think everyone was amazed at how old they were," she said.
Robert Hedges, the director of Oxford's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, who also dated the age of the Turin shroud, carried out the radiocarbon analysis, which is accurate to within 50 years.
"We are absolutely, 100 per cent sure that this is the date," Dr. Gonzalez said. The study has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication next year in the journal Human Evolution.
At 13,000 years old, Peñon woman would have lived at a time when there was a vast, shallow lake in the Basin of Mexico, a naturally enclosed high plain around today's Mexico City, which would have been cooler and much wetter than it is today. Huge mammals would have roamed the region's grasslands, such as the world's largest mammoths with 12-foot tusks, bear-sized giant sloths, armadillos as big as a car and fearsome carnivores such as the sabre-toothed tiger and great black bear. The bones of Peñon woman, named after the "little heel" of land that would have jutted into the ancient lake, were well developed and healthy, showing no signs of malnutrition. Dr Gonzalez found that the two oldest skulls analysed were both dolichocephalic, meaning that they were long and narrow-headed. The younger ones were short and broad * brachycephalic * which are typical of today's native Americans and their Mongoloid ancestors from Asia.
The findings have a resonance with the skull and skeleton of Kennewick man, who was unearthed in 1996 in the Columbia River at the town of Kennewick in Washington state. The skull, estimated to be 8,400 years old, is also long and narrow and typically Caucasian.
James Chatters, one of the first anthropologists to study Kennewick man before it had been properly dated, even thought that the man may have been a European trapper who had met a sudden death sometime in the early 19th century. Kennewick man became the most controversial figure in American anthropology when native tribes living in the region claimed that, as an ancestor, his remains should be returned to them under a 1990 law that gave special protection to the graves and remains of indigenous Americans. The debate intensified after some anthropologists suggested that
Kennewick man was Caucasian in origin and could not therefore be a direct ancestor of the native Americans living in the Kennewick area today. Dr Gonzalez said that the identification of Peñon woman as the oldest known inhabitant of the American continent throws fresh light on the controversy over who actually owns the ancient remains of long-dead Americans.
"My research could have implications for the ancient burial rights of North American Indians because it's quite possible that dolichocephalic man existed in North America well before the native Indians," she said. But even more controversial is the suggestion that Peñon woman could be a descendant of Stone Age Europeans who had crossed the ice-fringed Atlantic some 15,000 or 20,000 years ago.
This theory first surfaced when archaeologists found flint blades and spear points in America that bore a remarkable similarity to those fashioned by the Solutrean people of south-western France who lived about 20,000 years ago, when the ice age was at its most extreme. The Solutreans were the technologists of their day, inventing such things as the eyed needle and the heat treatment of flint to make it easier to flake into tools. They also built boats and fished.
Bruce Bradley, an American archaeologist and an expert in flint technology, believes that the Solutrean method of fashioning flints into two-sided blades matches perfectly the Stone Age flint blades found at some sites in American. One of these is the 11,500-year-old flint spear point found in 1933 at Clovis, New Mexico. Dr Bradley said that the flint blades that came into America with the early Asian migrants were totally different in concept and mode of manufacture. Both the Clovis point and the Solutrean flints shared features that could only mean a shared origin, according to Dr. Bradley. Studies of the DNA of native Americans clearly indicated a link with modern-day Asians, supporting the idea of a mass migration across the Bering land bridge. But one DNA study also pointed to at least some shared features with Europeans that could only have derived from a relatively recent common ancestor who lived perhaps 15,000 years ago, the time of the Solutreans.
Not every specialist, however, is convinced of the apparently mounting evidence of an early European migration. "I personally haven't found it very convincing," Professor Chris Stringer, the head of human origins at the Natural History Museum in London, said. "For a start, there are lots of examples in archaeology where various artefacts from different parts of the world can end up looking similar even though they have different origins," he said. "Most humans in the world at that time were long headed and it doesn't surprise me that Peñon woman at 13,000 years old is also long headed."
Nevertheless, the remarkable age of the young Paleolithic woman who died by an ancient lake in Mexico some 13,000 years ago has once again stirred the controversy over the most extraordinary migration in human history.
Stephen H. Hull M.A.; B.A. (Hons.) Archaeological Data Management Provincial Archaeology Office Culture and Heritage Division Department of Tourism Culture and Recreation PO BOX 8700 St. John's, Newfoundland A1B 4J6 W (709) 729-0493 Fax (709) 729-0870
Narrow skulls clue to first Americans
11:24 04 September 03
NewScientist.com news service
Skull measurements on the remains of an isolated group of people who lived at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California has stirred up the debate on the identity of the first Americans once again.
The earliest inhabitants of North America differed subtly but significantly from modern native Americans. The difference is clearly seen in the skull shapes of the first people to colonise the continent, who had longer, narrower skulls than modern people.
One theory says it is because two distinct groups of people migrated to North America at different times. But another theory says that just one population reached the continent and then evolved different physical attributes, except for a few isolated groups.
Anthropologists once assumed the earliest Americans resembled modern native Americans. That changed with the discovery of a 10,500-year-old skeleton called Luzia in Brazil, and the 9000-year-old skeleton of Kennewick man in Washington state [and the dating of a 13,000 year old skull of a 26 year old woman called Peñon III found on the shores of Lake Texcoco in the valley of Mexico - bs].
Both had the long, narrow skulls that more resemble those of modern Australians and Africans than modern native Americans, or even the people living in northern Asia, who are thought to be native Americans' closest relatives.
Some researchers argued that they were simply unusual individuals, but scientists have now identified the same features in recent remains from the Baja California.
The Pericú hunter-gatherers survived until just a few hundred years ago at the end of the peninsula, says Rolando González-José, of the University of Barcelona, Spain, (Nature, vol 425, p 62).
He thinks the formation of the Sonora desert isolated the Pericú for thousands of years, but they vanished when Europeans disrupted their culture. González-José measured 33 Pericú skulls and found their features were similar to those of the ancient Brazilian skulls.
This backs the idea that a first wave of long, narrow skulled people from south-east Asia colonised the Americas about 14,000 years ago. These were followed by a second wave of people from north-east Asia about 11,000 years ago, who had short skulls.
This theory has been championed by Walter Neves, at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He says the second wave may have been larger, and eventually came to dominate the Americas. "The discovery is exactly what I have been predicting since the late 1980s," Neves told New Scientist.
However Joseph Powell, an anthropologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, is not convinced. He thinks the earliest Americans did come from south-east Asia, but believes they evolved into modern native Americans.
"Even with two waves, each would have changed over the past 10,000 to 12,000 years through adaptation and microevolution," he says. Neves argues that the change in skull shape after 8000 years ago is too sudden for evolution.
Journal reference: Nature (vol 425, p 62)
This is just racist, sexist, homophobia!
The land mass of the U.S. was essentially empty when the settlers arrived. The fact that a few million (or less) aboriginals eked out a primitive existence on the land prior to that is not relevant to the debate of "who owns the land". Those questions were settled by our ancestors, maybe not to the liking of everyone, but you can't please all the world.
Interesting stuff ping.
Thanks Blam. Guess I'd better save the text, eh? ;')
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Bookmarking with a giant smirk.
I agree. There have been too many holes poked in Clovis First for it to remain a viable theory.
Personally, I think the PalaeoIndians were a mixture of Asian, African and European invaders. I think a lot of eastern Native Americans had remarkably European like features and a lot of western Native Americans had strongely Asiatic Features. A numbner of South American indian groups appear to have African features.
So. According to this, half of my ancestors were STILL here to meet the other half, just like I’ve always said. The only difference is the order they came in.
Analysis of skeletal remains has led to at least two models to explain the origin of early human populations in the Americas. a, It was originally thought that the first colonizers were the direct ancestors of present-day Native Americans, who arrived from northeast Asia and possibly central Asia in three successive migrations about 12,000 years ago. b, More recent analyses of the craniofacial features of skulls dating from the end of the Ice Age suggest that the first arrivals were from south Asia or the Pacific Rim. These 'Palaeoamericans' were thought to be unrelated to the majority of modern Amerindian remains a later group of colonizers from northeast Asia were thought to have given rise to these late-prehistoric populations. Now, González-José et al.5 have found that a group of early historic Amerindian skulls from the Baja peninsula in Mexico bear a strong resemblance to the early Palaeoamericans, suggesting that the colonization of the Americas was more complex than had previously been suspected.
More info that shoots down the Mormon claims of the Lost Tribe of Israel.
Casa Rinconada, built between 1070 and 1110 AD, sits on an isolated hill about one-half mile across the Chaco Canyon from Pueblo Bonito.
If this image is enlarged to capacity - it's huge! - one discovers numerous habitation sites and agricultural terraces...there must have been hundreds of thousands of people living there. What happened after 1110 AD? The White Man came and cut their water off? LOL! There weren't enough 'evil white men' in that territory to wipe out all those 'indians'.
from North American Mythology, Alexander p.223:
According to the Indians of the Pacific coast of North America the 'shooting star' and the 'fire drill' set the world aflame. In the burning world one 'could see nothing but waves of flames; rocks were burning, the ground was burning, everything was burning. Great rolls and piles of smoke were rising; fire blew up toward the sky in flames, in great sparks and brands....The great fire was blazing, roaring all over the earth, burning everything....Water rushed in...it rushed in like a crowd of rivers, covered the earth, and put out the fire as it rolled on toward the south....Water rose mountain high."
A catastrophe (worldwide) caused the destruction one can clearly see on the satellite image.
So Let’s return the Americas to their rightful owners.
Actually I was thinking that this will be cited as proof of the newly revised version of the claims from the Book of Mormon:
It might show that people who came to America before a certain time might have come from the population that also populated Europe. It may well not show anything about who were the first people in America. We may have to dig a lot deeper for that.
Shaved heads started at CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas in New York.
(Whoops, the link is hidden beneath the ‘headline’ of my comment.)
Just click image several times to enlarge, it’s bigger than any screen...fascinating detail.
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