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Ancient Stone Tools in Brail - Humans arrival

Discovery of ancient stone tools in Brazil challenges belief about human arrival in the Americas

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Archaeologists have announced the discovery of stone tools in Brazil which they say prove that ancient humans arrived in the Americas long before the Clovis people, upending the predominant theory of how the continent was settled.

According to current perspectives, the Clovis people arrived in the Americas from Asia about 13,000 – 15,000 years ago. However, researchers found stone tools embedded in a rock shelter where prehistoric humans once lived, which have been dated to 22,000 years.

“If they’re right, and there’s a great possibility that they are, that will change everything we know about the settlement of the Americas,” said Walter Neves, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

The stone tools were found in Serra Da Capivara National Park, Brazil, a region steeped in history with thousands of rock art paintings across 945 separate sites. The tools were dated using thermo luminescence, a technique that measures the exposure of sediments to sunlight, to determine their age.

Rock shelters in Serra Da Capivara National Park

One of the many rock shelters in Serra Da Capivara National Park. Photo source .

The finding adds to the growing body of research which challenges the ‘Clovis-first model’, which supposes that human settlers arrived in the Americas by walking over a land bridge across the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska around 13,000 to 15,000 years ago.  Last year, for example, palaeontologists in Uruguay published findings suggest that humans hunted giant sloths there about 30,000 years ago .

However, as with all prevalent views, contradicting the Clovis model which has been espoused for more than half a century, has fuelled a heated debate, and scholars in the dwindling Clovis-first camp were quick to reject the findings.

Gary Haynes, an archaeologists at the University of Nevado, Reno, argued that the stone tools were not tools at all but were simply stones that became chipped and broken naturally when they fell from a rock ledge, while another archaeologists from the Louis Berger Group, an environmental consulting company, claimed that monkeys probably made the tools instead of humans.

Having their findings disputed is nothing new for the archaeologists working at Serra de Capivara. Dr Guidon, the Brazilian archaeologists who pioneered the excavations, asserted more than two decades ago, that her team had found evidence in the form of charcoal from hearth fires that humans had lived in the region about 48,000 years ago. Prior to that, her team had found remnants of ancient fires dating back 100,000 years. Her theory is that the first humans arrived in the Americas not overland from Asia, but by boat from Africa.  But that is just too much for some scholars to swallow.

Featured image: Rock art in the Serra Da Capivara National Park, Brazil. Photo source: Wikipedia

By April Holloway

Comments

Clovis first campers keep forgetting that just as there was a land bridge in Alaska the world coastline was all different too. Who knows who walked to where over what, not to mention the possibility of a easy route from Europe by hugging an ancient coastline.

The study of archaeology was not founded or predicated on the notion that "all human progress is in one direction." Bones (and fossils) are primarily the business of archaeologists, whose general goal is to better understand the physical, biological origin of various species. Anthropology is more associated with the study of "human progress." Although, anthropologists of the last few decades have increasingly become more akin to sociologists or political activists. Their endeavors and research has accordingly become less scientific, and sad to say, much less scholarly. They seem to have an axe to grind, a point to make, a population to rehabilitate. They have actively interfered with the integrity and accuracy of our study of human origins.

I 've always thought archaeology is a silly science because it's founded on the unsupported notion that all human progress is in one direction. Though the dark ages clearly disprove that idea. I suppose the post-Mayan period was another dark age.

If you consider the general progress people have made in the last 5000 years - there's at least the potential for the rise and fall of humans many times in the last half-million years.

Hernando De Soto wrote that the tribes on the Mississippi River were well organized and too numerously populated for Spain to dominate. Ponce de Leon could find no place to land in Florida because he was always opposed by large native forces. But 70 years later a Spanish "nobody" landed on a deserted coast and founded St Augustine. The fort has high walls facing the ocean but is nearly ground level on the land side. No need for defense from land. All those people were gone.

So I think it's probable the Americas; the pacific islands and maybe the whole coast line around the Indian ocean could've been re-settled many times with each new arrival being nearly oblivious of the society that preceeded them. Remember the 2004 tsunami? That was a small event in the long term scheme of things. Other tsnamis might have carried away very great societies we've never heard about.

Watch this and you will wonder why the Clovis theory is still taught because it's as dumb as thinking the world is still flat.
http://youtu.be/6oGqPc6poS4

You have a strong way of speaking and an even stronger argument. I like your comment. To experience as much of the beauty of the universe and all - ALL - of its and our mysteries must surely be the startpoint and endpoint of science, so when a scientist disagrees to the point of childishness, there is a stunt in the experience of beauty. I really see no other reason that could exist as to why humans live in the first place than to just be a part of something huge and great. Therefore, almost like you said, SciCritr - though I'm not putting words into your mouth - a scientist who belittles is a human who ignores himself. 

It's way cooler to know that there are people out there like you who and many others on here who are ashamed of the dogmatists and will vehemently search out new evidence, destroy their own conclusions if only to reach new, better and more exciting ones. 

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