Was there a Stone Age apocalypse or not?
2009 11 27

By Jeff Hecht | NewScientist.com

Was there a Stone Age apocalypse or not? One narrative has it that about 13,000 years ago a comet blasted North America, wiping out the continent's megafauna – as well as its early settlers.


It's a compelling story, offering a simple explanation to the mystery of why mammoths, mastodons, and Clovis humans vanished. But it's a controversial theory, and new research suggests the impact was far too small to have done any serious damage.

Doubts centre on the speed of extinctions, the fate of the Clovis culture, and the presence of supposed impact signatures. But advocates of the comet-blast theory say they will present their own new data at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, where they will share the stage with sceptics.

"Nothing special happened at 12,900 years ago," says John Williams of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His data, reported in Science this week, suggest that large mammals were already rare well before the purported impact.

Scraping the bottom

Williams and his colleagues searched layered lake-bottom deposits in Indiana and New York State for the spores of the fungus Sporormiella found in the dung of large plant-eating mammals such as mammoths and horses.

From a decline in the spore counts, they conclude that the megafauna population dropped steadily between 14,800 and 13,700 years ago, making them rare 800 years before any comet strike. Williams says the data rule out a sudden, impact-driven extinction.

However, geologist and impact-advocate James Kennett at the University of California, Santa Barbara, calls that "a classic case of over-interpretation" because the data comes from only a small area and not from different sites across the whole of North America.

Cultural development

Some anthropologists are also unhappy and with the sudden extinction theory, taking issue with claims that an impact wiped out the Clovis people.

It's true that distinctive Clovis-style artefacts disappear and sites were abandoned at the start of a dramatic cooling event which began about 13,000 years ago called the Younger Dryas. But the people didn't die, says Vance Holliday of the University of Arizona in Tucson. "An artefact style was replaced by another style. You see that all over the world." Moreover, early North Americans were highly mobile hunter-gatherers who occupied sites only briefly before moving on.

What's more, the geological layer representing the Younger Dryas is missing the sort of extraterrestrial material that was a hallmark of the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Comet conundrum

Isotope geochemist Mukul Sharma of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, says he has been unable to find any significant amount of platinum-group elements with the distinctive isotopic signature showing that they came from space. Sharma will detail his findings at the AGU meeting.

Yet something did crash into the Pacific Ocean around the period in question. In a separate AGU paper, Sharma will report finding traces of extraterrestrial osmium on the floor of the mid-Pacific dating from between 16,000 and 8000 years ago.

Some Younger Dryas deposits do contain residues similar to those from the 1908 Tunguska explosion over Siberia, says Adrian Melott of the University of Kansas, Lawrence. He reckons the North American event was "something maybe a couple of orders of magnitude bigger than Tunguska" – but still perhaps only one-hundredth the scale of the proposed comet blast.

Article from: NewScientist.com



Video from: YouTube.com



Michael Cremo - Forbidden Archeology

Michael Cremo - Human Devolution (Subscription)

Joseph P Farrell - Cosmic War, Interplanetary Warfare & Mesopotamian Mythology

Marcus Allen - Crystal Skulls, Global Catastrophy, Collective Amnesia & Global Warming (Subscription)

Geoff Stray - Crop Circles, Catastrophe, Sun Spot Cycles & the 2012 Connection (Subscription)

Tom Horn - Nephilim Stargates: The Year 2012 and the Return of the Watchers

Rand Flem-Ath - Atlantis in Antarctica, Solar Typhoons & When the Sky Fell

Rand Flem-Ath - The Lost Map of Christopher Columbus, The Piri Reis Map and the Mappa Mundi (Subscription)



Related Articles
NASA on crusade to debunk 2012 apocalypse myths
2013: Or, What to Do When the Apocalypse Doesn’t Arrive
The Apocalypse Is Coming... Pass the Popcorn
Choose Your Own Apocalypse: How Is America Going To End? :)
The 2012 Apocalypse — And How to Stop It
American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse
Apocalypse never? Science could yet save the day
Tunguska: 101-years-long deadly comet tail
Tunguska, the Horns of the Moon and Evolution
Stone Age hunting traps found deep in Great Lakes
Stone Age remains found in Gothenburg
Red Ice Creations - Archeology, Architecture, Artifacts, Art & Ancient Findings
Climate change from a meteor impact, what do we know so far?
Mammoths and Other Great Beasts Peppered with Material from Space
Exploding Stars: Is Earth at Risk?


Latest News from our Front Page

Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State; Israel Upset
2014 10 31
Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm. The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased ...
Fed-Backed Study: How to Brainwash Public into Fearing “Climate Change” Like Ebola
2014 10 31
$84K study seeks ways to make public fear "climate change and overpopulation" The National Science Foundation is funding a study to determine how to brainwash the public into fearing “climate change and overpopulation” as if they were Ebola. The NSF awarded an $84,000 grant to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo yesterday to figure out how to make ...
Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice
2014 10 31
As you read this, your neurons are firing – that brain activity can now be decoded to reveal the silent words in your head TALKING to yourself used to be a strictly private pastime. That’s no longer the case – researchers have eavesdropped on our internal monologue for the first time. The achievement is a step towards helping people who cannot ...
6 Million Lies
2014 10 30
“If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift of the coming hell.” C Wright Mills. I need to share information I have discovered ...
Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself
2014 10 30
In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science. One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to ...
More News »