Two if By Sea: Earliest Americans Boated Down the Coast
The textbook theory of the first migration to the Americas across a land bridge is “dead in the water.”
Early people were smarter than anthropologists thought. They didn’t wait till the ice melted to cross the Bering Sea by a land bridge, as textbooks have taught for decades. They made canoes and boats and traveled along the coast. And why did they discover America? Because it was there. They had a spirit of exploration, just like many people do today.
That’s the new story coming from Eske Willerslev and colleagues, publishing in Nature. Ewen Callaway, writing in the same issue of Nature, explains how new evidence from cores along the assumed land-bridge route show the area was uninhabitable when the first migrants were thought to avail themselves of a route to America. “It’s 1,500 kilometres,” says co-author David Meltzer. “You can’t pack a lunch and do it in a day.” Willerslev believes these people had some common sense, according to Live Science‘s coverage:
The first Americans were clearly curious explorers, but they were also realists, Willerslev said.
“We are talking [932 miles] 1,500 kilometers you have to pass with ice caps on each side. It’s not like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m just taking a three-day hike,'” Willerslev told Live Science. “Humans won’t take the trip unless you have resources to sustain yourself along the way.”
Additional evidence comes from occupation sites in South America earlier than the time evolutionary anthropologists thought the land bridge was accessible, e.g.,. at pre-Clovis sites in Chile dated 14,000 years ago. PhysOrg calls the old theory “biologically unviable” in light of the new evidence. To get where they got, they would have had to be inventive, using boats or canoes to travel the coastline. Later migrants probably did use the land bridge after enough ice had melted to allow plants and mammals to arrive as food sources (dated 12,600 years ago).
Something drove the early arrivals to get to North America by a coastal route, and it wasn’t just hunger. Callaway writes,
The fact that early humans advanced to the Americas despite continent-sized glaciers standing in the way has also prompted him to rethink the conventional wisdom that early humans, like other animals, migrated solely in search of food.
“Just like people today are trying to reach the top of Mount Everest or the South Pole, I’m sure these hunter-gatherers were also explorers and curious about what would be on the other side of these glacier caps,” he says. “When you first reach California, why would you go further? Why not just stay in the Bay Area?”
A recent paper in PNAS came to the same conclusion, National Geographic points out. Studying fossil DNA, a team constrained the date of migration by showing that bison were not available as a food source till after the first arrivers had crossed over.
Another upset for anthropologists comes from the other side of the globe. Writing in The Conversation, Gaffney and Allaby present a conundrum that “Ancient Britons had wheat 2,000 years before they had farms.” If they were smart enough to trade, how could they enjoy the Breakfast of Champions for millennia without becoming curious about how to manufacture Wheaties themselves? The dates are 8,000 years after the curious explorers in Siberia had already reached Chile by boat.
Wheat has been found in a settlement on England’s south coast dating back to 6000BC – 2000 years before farming reached Britain. This finding overturns many cherished archaeological beliefs – or myths – about the era. Though they were once patronised as simplistic hunter-gatherers, it turns out early Britons must have been active traders with the agricultural superpowers of their day in France and the Balkans. It’s time to reassess Mesolithic man.
PhysOrg writes that “hunger-gatherers experimented with farming in Turkey before migrating to Europe.” An open-access paper in Current Biology admits that “the timing and process of this movement remain unclear.” Farming appeared in several areas “quasi-synchronously” in Anatolia (modern Turkey) in the late 10th and 9th centuries BC, they say, reaching Europe shortly after. This despite many tens of thousands of years of ancestors equal in stature and mental capacity never imagining how it would have made life easier to plant some seeds instead of looking all over for them.
Chuck Klosterman has a new book out, But What If We’re Wrong? that posits everything we believe today will be wrong in 500 years. In an interview on Live Science, Jim McLauchlin has fun with the idea, demonstrated by so many cases through history. Neither, however, sees the premise to be self-refuting. Nor does Chuck see his suspicion that we’re living in a computer simulation to be self-defeating (i.e., the simulation made him say that). Indeed, comparing the early humans with thinkers today, one could argue we are devolving from common sense to insanity.
Do you see why evolutionists are always surprised? They have a strong need to maintain a false view of human beings as primitive primates gradually emerging into the light of consciousness, self-awareness, cooperation and civilization over millions of years. But everywhere they look, they find people just as smart and curious as we are. They cannot account for the explosive appearance of farming in just a short time. Why didn’t Cro-magnons and Neanderthals ever think of it? Who could believe for a minute that early Britons spent 2,000 years trading with “agricultural superpowers” on the continent without learning how to grow wheat themselves? Something is vastly wrong with the secular view of history and human nature. You know just what it is: refusal to listen to the Eyewitness about what really happened.