Friday, June 24, 2011

Oldest art in N America found in my hometown

I grew up in Vero Beach FL, best known as home of a Disney resort. Science geeks will remember there was a fairly important archaeological site there, where human remains became known as Vero Man were found in 1915. (I found the site in high school - no sign of anything left, but experts have since resumed digging and expanded it).
Anyway, we are now famous for something more important: the carving of a mammoth on bone, found by an amateur collector and estimated to date to 13,000 years BP. Now think about that. Until a few years ago, the dominant - and I mean REALLY dominant, set in stone, no dissent seriously considered - paradigm said humans had crossed the Bering land bridge 10,000 or, at most, 12,000 years ago. The Vero Man remains were dated by some as 11,000-14,000 years, with the latter claim being dismissed for decades but now being reexamined. The paradigm has been crumbling in the last few years as sites dated 12-14,000 years have become accepted. No one seems to be doubting the 13,000-year claim for the carving, so I wonder how old this new Vero find indicates humans in North America are? It's not like people hit Alaska and immediately started a 4,500-mile walk to pick up some Florida orange juice. It took time for people to propagate to the extreme SE of the continent. So when DID they first come across, either by land or be sea? Something to think about as you sip your OJ this morning.

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