Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Modern Humans At Monte Verde Ca. 18,500 Years Ago?

Two and a half years ago, a paper that I had missed announced strong evidence of a human presence in Monte Verde (in South America) about 18,500 years ago. This is about 4,000 years older than the next oldest reliably dated evidence (from the same site).

Less significantly, evidence of wild potato use in Utah (which was converted into flour) from 10,900 years ago.


NeilB said...

Hi Andrew there are quite a number of sites, equally as well documented, with peer reviewed papers etc. There are a number you've missed over the years, which did surprise me at the time. Would you like links? NeilB

andrew said...

I'm familiar with quite a few of the other sites claimed to be extremely old. There is on in the American Southeast (Virginia, I think), another in Eastern South America, and one on the Pacific Coast of South America. I am not, however, very impressed with the quality of the proof at those sites, many of which rely on dating ashes which are not convincingly associated in time with definitively human tools or could have been a result of a scrambling of geological layers. This particular find in Monte Verde, however, appears to have better methodology and a more convincing association with other trappings of a human presence, including continuity with a subsequent cultural layer at the same site. Because it is making a relatively extraordinary claim and is not absolutely rock solid by having a direct date of something directly associated with humans, it still earns a question mark in my book.

NeilB said...

Dear Andrew,
I understand your 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' attitude. It seems to be the prevailing one at the moment. However, quite a number of sites have been published, in first rate scientific, peer reviewed journals that many believe provide irrefutable evidence for humans in the Americas considerably prior to 18,500BP.
I have quite a number of examples I could cite. Below is a link to my first, have a read when you have time and let me know what you think.
Arroyo del VizcaĆ­no, Uruguay: a fossil-rich 30-ka-old megafaunal locality with cut-marked bones
Alternatively you can read an analysis of the paper on my blog:

andrew said...

I'll take a look when my taxes are done.

DDeden said...

" stones — including a flat grinding rock known as a metate and a handheld pestle-like tool called a mano "
I don't know the language of those two words, perhaps Spanish. I wonder if derived from Papuan ~40ka flour processing of taro & sago palm.