Skip to comments.Skulls Found In Mexico Suggest Early Americans Would Have Said 'G'Day Mate'
Posted on 09/03/2003 4:42:49 PM PDT by blam
Skulls found in Mexico suggest the early Americans would have said 'G'day mate'
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
04 September 2003
The accepted theory of how prehistoric humans first migrated to America has been challenged by a study of an ancient set of bones unearthed in Mexico.
An analysis of 33 skulls found on the Mexican peninsula of Baja California suggests that the first Americans were not north Asians who crossed to the American continent about 12,000 years ago.
The skulls more closely resemble the present-day natives of Australia and the South Pacific, suggesting that there might have been an earlier movement to America across the Bering Strait separating modern Russia from Alaska.
The research, published in today's issue of the journal Nature, is the latest twist in the controversy over who were the first Americans and how did they arrive in the New World?
Native Americans today bear a close physical resemblance to north-east Asians and anthropologists have long believed that this is because they are both descended from the same ancestors, some of whom migrated to America across the Ice Age bridge that spanned the Bering Strait.
However, a team of scientists led by Rolando Gonzales-José of the University of Barcelona in Spain believes that a different scenario could have occurred prior to the accepted migration of northern Asians.
Dr Gonzales-José and his colleagues analysed the shape and dimensions of 33 skulls of a tribe of people who lived near the western Mexican coast of Baja California between 2,500 and 300 years ago.
These relatively long and narrow skulls share a closer affinity to the skulls of the present-day inhabitants of south Asia and the southern Pacific Rim.
This suggests that these particular people could not have shared the same ancestor as present-day native Americans whose skulls more closely resemble broad and short shape of northern Asians.
Tom Dillehay, an anthropologist from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, said the accepted idea of how America became populated with humans was probably far too simple. "More recent archaeological discoveries suggest that there were several different founding populations, arriving from different places," Dr Dillehay said.
"To complicate matters further, it is no longer certain that the first colonisers arrived about 12,000 years ago - some archaeological sites in South America date from 12,500 years ago, which suggests that the first humans arrived at least 15,000 years ago," he said.
Dr Dillehay said the ancient people who lived on the long peninsula of Baja California probably became isolated from the rest of the north American population. This meant they retained the much older ancestral trait of a long and narrow skull.
Walter Neves has done some good work in this area. I'll post some of his work as this thread progresses.
"Also, he notes that genetic evidence links eastern Native American populations with ancient Europeans, but not with Asians."
I don't know why we're not hearing more about this:
Aha! A link!
No, but there was a Toohey's.
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It means that some Europeans were in America 7-8,000 year ago and all the books will have to be re-written. It'll be a long time before that happens though, discoveries are coming 'hot and heavy.'.
People from everwhere came to America in ancient times
This is a statue found in Olmec (1200BC) ruins in Mexico.
I prefer paleo-Americans.
It was about the Vatican archives giving evidence for the Vikings in North America.
Me either, sorry.
Skull from the Windover site
This report emphasizes that this research could not have been done in the United States, because of the PC restrictions imposed by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Note also that the Bush Administration continues to back the anti-science Clinton Administration position on taking Kennewick Man back from the scientists and giving him to the Indians for reburial, even though he wasn't an Indian.
From The Economist print edition
HOW and when did people first get to America? This is one of the most controversial topics in archaeology. A new analysis of 33 skulls from Baja California, by Rolando González-José of the University of Barcelona, and his collaborators, supports a recent theory that the first Americans were descended from southern Asians rather than Siberians, as had earlier been supposed. The ancestors of these paleoamericans are thought to have lived in southern Asia at least 40,000 years ago. Their descendants arrived on the American continent around 15,000 years ago, after coasting for generations round the northern Pacific (they coasted south too, according to this theory, and were also the ancestors of Australia's aboriginal population). They thus arrived before the ancestors of modern Amerindians, who crossed the Bering Straits 12,000 years ago.
The paleoamericans appear to have died out. There is no sign of them today. The question is: when did this happen? Up to now, the assumption has been: a long time ago. But Dr González-José begs to differ. The skulls he examined, thought to be from the Pericú tribal group, who were hunter-gatherers living near the southern tip of the Baja peninsula in early historic times, are a mere 2,000 years old. Yet they seem to be paleoamerican.
Although the skulls, stored at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and at the Regional Anthropological Museum of La Paz, were discovered over the course of the past three decades, Dr González-José's analysis, reported in this week's Nature, is the first to examine their geometry.
The researchers used two methods to analyse the skulls. The first employed 24 of the variables enumerated by William Howells, an archaeologist at Harvard who pioneered the statistical analysis of skulls in the 1970s. These variables include the length of the skull, the length of the face, and the width of the eye sockets. By comparing these measurements with those of known paleoamerican skulls, and of other populations, ancient and modern, Dr González-José inferred that the Pericú skulls are most similar to those of paleoamericans. The results of this analysis agreed with those from the more cutting-edge technique of geometric morphometrics, a computerised curve-fitting technique based on 14 points on the skull. Both methods link the paleoamericans to southern Asians and Pacific islanders, and likewise link modern-day Amerindians to Siberians.
Fortunately, by working in Mexico, Dr González-José's team did not meet with the difficulties currently plaguing archaeologists in the United States. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, passed in 1990, has made it hard to study ancient skeletons found within the United States. It gives control of such discoveries to Amerindian tribes living in the area in which they are made, on the assumption that such old bones may have belonged to ancestors of people in these tribes. Only if the tribes agree are scientists allowed to study them.
Unfortunately, the law has been abused to stop the study of skeletons so old (and so physically unlike local inhabitants) that they could not possibly be ancestral to modern local people. Most famously, this has resulted in a seven-year court battle over Kennewick Man, a 9,400-year-old skeleton that has Caucasian rather than Amerindian features, and was found in Washington state. Though the scientists prevailed in August last year, the American government, which is supporting the claims of local tribes, has filed an appeal. The latest hearings, due on September 10th, may decide whether Kennewick Man will be allowed to shed any light on the debate that Dr González-José has just so elegantly illuminated.
Was this a natural or man-made object?
Maybe a human modified object that had already gone through the the mineralization process.(?)
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I'm going to catch crap for this, but what if this is evidence of time travel and were just overlooking it?
*tin foil hat off*
(Time travel would confuse histnory no end, undoubtedly)
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