No evidence for Clovis comet catastrophe, archaeologists say

Skywatcher Michael Jäger of Stixendorf, Austria, took this photo of the newfound comet McNaught C/2009 R1 on June 6, 2010, while the comet was visible in the northeastern morning sky. Image via Space.com

From University of Chicago Press Journals: New research challenges the controversial theory that an ancient comet impact devastated the Clovis people, one of the earliest known cultures to inhabit North America.

Writing in the October issue of Current Anthropology, archaeologists Vance Holliday (University of Arizona) and David Meltzer (Southern Methodist University) argue that there is nothing in the archaeological record to suggest an abrupt collapse of Clovis populations. “Whether or not the proposed extraterrestrial impact occurred is a matter for empirical testing in the geological record,” the researchers write. “Insofar as concerns the archaeological record, an extraterrestrial impact is an unnecessary solution for an archaeological problem that does not exist.” 

The comet theory first emerged in 2007 when a team of scientists announced evidence of a large extraterrestrial impact that occurred about 12,900 years ago. The impact was said to have caused a sudden cooling of the North American climate, killing off mammoths and other megafauna. It could also explain the apparent disappearance of the Clovis people, whose characteristic spear points vanish from the archaeological record shortly after the supposed impact.

As evidence for the rapid Clovis depopulation, comet theorists point out that very few Clovis archaeological sites show evidence of human occupation after the Clovis. At the few sites that do, Clovis and post-Clovis artifacts are separated by archaeologically sterile layers of sediments, indicating a time gap between the civilizations. In fact, comet theorists argue, there seems to be a dead zone in the human archaeological record in North America beginning with the comet impact and lasting about 500 years.

Caption: This image shows the excavations at the Lubbock Lake site, on the High Plains of Texas. The crew is working in the laminated lake beds dated 13,000 to 12,000 years old. The time of the purported extraterrestrial impact would be at the base of the lake beds. The pale olive yellow layer below contains Clovis-age bone. The black layers represent a marshy valley bottom and contain archaeological bone beds (with butchered remains of extinct bison). The white layers are archaeologically “sterile” because they represent standing lake water (probably 1 to 2 m deep). Thus, the presence of “sterile” zones between occupation layers has no bearing on the issue of an impact and people.

Credit: Vance Holliday

But Holliday and Meltzer dispute those claims. They argue that a lack of later human occupation at Clovis sites is no reason to assume a population collapse. “Single-occupation Paleoindian sites—Clovis or post-Clovis—are the norm,” Holliday said. That’s because many Paleoindian sites are hunting kill sites, and it would be highly unlikely for kills to be made repeatedly in the exact same spot.

“So there is nothing surprising about a Clovis occupation with no other Paleoindian zone above it, and it is no reason to infer a disaster,” Holliday said.

In addition, Holliday and Meltzer compiled radiocarbon dates of 44 archaeological sites from across the U.S. and found no evidence of a post-comet gap. “Chronological gaps appear in the sequence only if one ignores standard deviations (a statistically inappropriate procedure), and doing so creates gaps not just around [12,900 years ago] but also at many later points in time,” they write.

Sterile layers separating occupation zones at some sites are easily explained by shifting settlement patterns and local geological processes, the researchers say. The separation should not be taken as evidence of an actual time gap between Clovis and post-Clovis cultures.

Holliday and Meltzer believe that the disappearance of Clovis spear points is more likely the result of a cultural choice rather than a population collapse. “There is no compelling data to indicate that North American Paleoindians had to cope with or were affected by a catastrophe, extraterrestrial or otherwise, in the terminal Pleistocene,” they conclude.

Caption: These are Clovis Points.

Credit: David Meltzer

###

Vance T. Holliday and David J. Meltzer, “The 12.9-ka ET Impact Hypothesis and North American Paleoindians.” Current Anthropology 51:5 (October 2010).

Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. The journal is published by The University of Chicago Press and sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

SMU is a private university in Dallas where nearly 11,000 students benefit from the national opportunities and international reach of SMU’s seven degree-granting schools. For more information see www.smu.edu.

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64 Responses to No evidence for Clovis comet catastrophe, archaeologists say

  1. FergalR says:

    “Holliday and Meltzer believe that the disappearance of Clovis spear points is more likely the result of a cultural choice rather than a population collapse. ”

    What sane civilization would abandon their most advanced technology?

  2. George E. Smith says:

    Well Clovis is alive and well even to this day; in fact it is now a relatively high class neighborhood in Fresno California.

    So what sort of evidence would suggest a sudden demise of Clovism ?

    If you think about what happens today, with the sudden collapse of cultures; it tends to relate to the development of new globally disruptive technologies. Who is still running a CRT on the T&V or their Computer. Payphones have gone; to be replaced by texting.

    Dunno why Clovis Points have always interested me; maybe because they seem to be very artistic creations, and must have taken a lot of time to make.

    But did some distruptive weapons technology suddenly get people dis-interested in whacking on flint points any more?

    Presumably the original home of Clovism was Clovis New Mexico. Somebody will correct me if I’m wrong on that; I am quite often.

    So I could believe that the Clovis people just moved on to bigger and better things.

  3. Brian G Valentine says:

    I thought it was well known that these people discovered that burning coal chips was a form of useful heat, which promptly created a “global climate disruption” that killed them all off.

  4. MarkB says:

    What came after Clovis was not less advanced – it was different, and it worked.

  5. BlondieBC says:

    Perhaps one society whose extremely large prey items hand become rare or extinct.

  6. mark nutley says:

    Interesting but they are missing the obvious thing, The clovis disappeared, this is indicated not be the fact they upped sticks and moved but the fact that the clovis type of arrow head vanished. This is the important part, their arrow and spearheads were marvels of stoneage construct, they would not have stopped making them. They died in a mass extinction event, along with all most of the other animals in north america at the time.

  7. Gary says:

    Palynological analysis of these lakebed sediments might shed some light on climatic conditions before and after 12.9 kybp. Are such data available?

  8. Policyguy says:

    This paper ignores the physical evidence of a catastrophic event at that time. This physical evidence includes nano diamonds, the markers of a space encounter. It also offers a sensible explanation the disappearance of all megafauna at that time, as well as a sensible explanation for the resurgence of glaciation even though the northern hemisphere had already entered an interglacial warming period.

    The paper seems to say that we can’t find clovis points after this point in time is because they stopped using them (at the same time at all clovis settlements from the East coast to the West coast??) and we can’t can’t find evidence of Clovis settlements after this time because they decided to move away at the same time – to somewhere. The paper ignores the extinction of the saber toothed tigers and mammoths etc. at the same time. Presumably they were hunted to extinction after the Clovis moved away (somewhere) and stopped using their fluter spear points.

    There are many theories out there, but this one doesn’t tie up other occurrences at the same time. I think its weak.

  9. pat says:

    More likely new immigration simply changed the culture. The lack of game brought about the introduction of primitive agriculture or at least vegetative foraging on a much more refined scale and more varied hunting and war implements.

  10. Dennis Cox says:

    Perhaps Drs. Holiday, and Meltzer should come out here to California, and have lunch with Terry Jones at Cal Poly. I’m sure Dr Jones would be happy to set them straight.
    see: California archaeological record consistent with Younger Dryas disruptive event

  11. Harry Bergeron says:

    There are also traces of a non-Clovis, European? culture on the east coast that disappeared at the same time.

  12. DirkH says:

    Their culture vanished due to peak flint stone.

  13. pat says:

    There does not seem to be a huge gap between the Clovis culture and the Folsom. And many Clovis points do not have the enviable and aesthetic workmanship of the 2 points displayed above. The Folsom points are very similar, however the flute goes far up the point, making for a much more secure glue and tie connection with the shaft, if not nearly as deadly looking. . It seems an improvement.

  14. Rhoda R says:

    “What sane civilization would abandon their most advanced technology?” Dude, we’re doing it right now here in the west!

    I think that if the Clovis abandoned their points for some other style, you’d expect to see some evidence via intermediate forms.

    I thought that they were named after the site where the first point was found.

  15. Steve says:

    The original site for Clovis appears to be France.

    I presume that the extinction of the largest mammals, along with the Younger Dryas, convinced them to move elsewhere. The advent of migrations from Siberia, using bow and arrow technology may well have led to warfare as the skeleton found in the PNW a few years back may indicate.

  16. Cold Lynx says:

    What impact would a “nearby” exploding supernova have on earth?
    A hint: supernova Vela exploded 11,000-12,300 years ago and was about 800 light years away.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vela_Supernova_Remnant

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-Earth_supernova

    “On average, a supernova explosion occurs within 10 parsecs of the Earth every 240 million years. Gamma rays are responsible for most of the adverse effects a supernova can have on a living terrestrial planet. In Earth’s case, gamma rays induce a chemical reaction in the upper atmosphere, converting molecular nitrogen into nitrogen oxides, depleting the ozone layer enough to expose the surface to harmful solar and cosmic radiation. Phytoplankton and reef communities would be particularly affected, which could badly deplete the base of the marine food chain.”

  17. John in NZ says:

    archaeologists say

    FergalR says:
    September 30, 2010 at 10:23 am

    ” What sane civilization would abandon their most advanced technology?”

    Who said they were sane?

    The Romans did exactly that when they adopted Christianity. During the reign of Emperor Constantine I, (early fourth century) Christianity became an official Roman religion. It soon became impossible to get a job in government if you were not a Christian. The Christians believed the only learning anyone needed could be found in the Bible and the writing of the early “Church Fathers”. Because of this ( in Justinian’s time 529 AD) they closed down the “pagan” schools that were found in every Roman town. From this period, the Roman Empire began to decline. People became less well educated. Skills were lost. There are of course other factors involved in the decline and fall but the deliberate abandoning of education as a result of a change in religion must have been devastating to the culture. 12,000 years from now the archeological evidence of this will be small.

    The disappearance of the Clovis people may be similar. A new religion may have arisen that changed their world view and they simply stopped teaching the next generation how to knap flint. It is not always necessary to have a destruction event to destroy a culture.

  18. rbateman says:

    12,000 something years ago.
    Hmm…. where have I heard that number before?
    Naw, it couldn’t be, correlation is not causation.
    Silly Rabbit, younger dryas is for kids.

  19. TXRed says:

    The Clovis type-site is in Clovis, New Mexico. It is not the oldest site associated with the culture, but was the first well documented and studied one. Just like Folsom is named for the site near the hamlet of Folsom in far northeastern New Mexico.

    If you are ever in the area, the Lake Lubbock and Clovis/ Blackwater Draw sites are not that far apart (three hours drive?) and are worth visiting.

  20. Brego says:

    The Goshen cultural complex was contemporaneous with the late Clovis culture and continued for hundreds of years after Clovis was gone. It would be difficult explaining why a comet impact would have exterminated one group and not the other.

    The comet impact conjecture was never anything more than a pipe dream.

  21. feet2thefire says:

    Holliday and Meltzer believe that the disappearance of Clovis spear points is more likely the result of a cultural choice rather than a population collapse.

    So, that is what they believe. There are two sides to this issue. That is their side of it. 90% of archeology is extrapolation, anyway. They find two shards of pottery or one bone and tell us all about an entire society from that. As an applied scientist (mechanical engineer) I don’t even consider archeology as a science. It is history that leans on science. They don’t do their own C14 dating. They don’t do their own chemical analyses. And when C14 dates come back “out of range,” they reject them without examination as having been “obviously” contaminated. So, basically, they fudge their data. Where have we here hard that one before?

    Anyone interested in the other side of this can visit sites that present the pro side of the issue. In order to get a fir and balanced view.

    A recent study claiming that the nanodiamonds claimed to have been found at Y-D sites were in error were themselves in error. The graphane they found was in different layers, not the Y-D layer at all. The labs did the work correctly – they just weren’t given samples from the right layer. The claimed refutation of nanodiamonds was published on the same day that another paper was published reporting that nanodiamonds were found in Greenland – in the Y-D layer.

    So, we are going to go around and around for quite while yet, while the defenders of the religio-scientific side attack the proponents of a new paradigm. The same thing happened 140 years ago to a guy named Darwin.

    These people are defending the premise that a few thousand nearly naked guys running around on foot scoured the entire N American continent and killed ever last one of the hundreds of thousands of mammoth, sabre-toothed tiger and giant sloth (and 3 score more large mammalian species) – in a matter of a few centuries. What a joke.

    And when someone comes along and offers a different and better explanation – with large amounts of evidence on many fronts – these people stop their own research and devote their time to slamming the new idea.

    Oh – and these same people are the ones who fought tooth and nail for 7-1/2 decades, telling the world the Clovis-First doctrine over and over and killing careers of arkies who dared to show evidence to the contrary. Finally in 1997 the Clovis-First lie was overthrown, and there are still arkies out there that think the Clovis Barrier still exists.

    They have made their entire careers based on Clovis this and Clovis that – and the last thing they want to see is the last Clovis claim to be repudiated.

    Hence the vitriol and attacks, over and over and over again.

    The evidence is clear: YES, there are nanodiamonds in the Y-D layer. That, plus the H3 and the Buckyballs, and all the other evidence – these people don’t want to know the truth. They just want to salvage their careers.

    A cursory search found me this, which argues this study:

    Wagner, D.P., J.S. Wah., D.L. Lowery, and J. Gingerich. 2005. Burial of Clovis surfaces during the Younger Dryas – A discussion of three locations: Cactus Hill, the Delmarva Peninsula, and Shawnee Minisink. Clovis in the Southeast, Columbia, SC, October 26-29, 2005.

    Abstract:
    The ca. 10,900 14C yr BP onset of the Younger Dryas cold reversal event is so closely coincidental to the demise of Clovis that it could well have been a causal factor in many regions. Yet, as catastrophic as this event may have been to Clovis survival, and probably landscape stability in general, in some settings the harsh climate also promoted rapid protective sealing of Clovis surfaces. The three locations addressed are geographically diverse, and during the Holocene their respective soils developed along markedly different genetic pathways. Nevertheless, they are linked by notable similarities in site formation. Younger Dryas deposits form culturally sterile zones between Clovis and Early Archaic occupations, and even though the locations are associated with major rivers, these deposits are largely eolian. At Cactus Hill they consist of eolian sands of relatively local origin, whereas on the Delmarva Peninsula loessial silts covering Clovis surfaces are many kilometers in extent. A more variable mix of probable loessial silts and over-bank alluvium overlies Clovis at Shawnee Minisink. Also, possibly echoing earlier Pleistocene conditions, Younger Dryas deposits are similar to those beneath Clovis.

    Cactus Hill is a Clovis site (one in which the McAvoys found pre-Clovis ONLY when they actually LOOKED under the Clovis layer) which is NOT

    [Holliday]…That’s because many Paleoindian sites are hunting kill site, and it would be highly unlikely for kills to be made repeatedly in the exact same spot..

    Of COURSE hunting sites – which are often random locations – will not turn up subsequent activity. But often enough they ARE repeated, because animals come to watering holes. Oh, Holliday didn’t mention THAT, did he? Because that is not “on message.”

    But Cactus Hill is a settled, occupied site. I wonder why he didn’t mention it?

    This abstract is only one of several out there that says just what the Y-D people are saying: Immediately after the Y-D layer, there ARE no Clovis hunters, there are no mammoths, there ARE no sabre-toothed tigers, there ARE no giant sloths. It is not ONE thing that is gone; it is ALL of those.

    AND it is the start of a new ice age, much worse than the Little Ice Age.

    AND there is that black mat, that these guys characterize their way and believe everyone will accept that judgment as the one and only one.

    Firestone (the leading scientific proponent of the Y-D Impact Event) himself understands that much work needs to be done to find out what happened and was this event real or not.

    But this paper is pretty ludicrous. It argues that the lack of evidence (in their reading of it) is sufficient to waylay the entire idea. That is weak, weak, weak.

    At least the one last month about nano-diamonds had some substance, not a lack of substance.

    This is an issue that will likely go on for quite a while. SOMETHING happened that caused the Younger-Dryas interstadial (ice age), which only lasted 1200 years, in the middle of a warm climate period. Something happened that killed the large NA mammals – ALL of them. Something caused Clovis man himself to disappear.

    Pointing at the lack of evidence and reading into it something different – how is that adding to the discussion?

  22. M White says:

    “ice age columbus”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2002/columbus.shtml

    “Douglas Wallace’s DNA history bore fruit once more. In the DNA profile of the Ichigua Native American tribe he identified a lineage that was clearly European in origin, too old to be due to genetic mixing since Columbus’ discovery of the New World. Instead it dated to Solutrean times. Wallace’s genetic timelines show the Ice Age prompted a number of migrations from Europe to America. It looks highly likely that the Solutreans were one.”

    Who said they died out

    Ice age Columbus part 1/9

  23. feet2thefire says:

    Ouch! a formatting error there. Too much bold at the end of that… Sorry!

  24. feet2thefire says:

    I am embarrassed that that comment went so long.

    But I found this that I need to interject, too:

    A review of some attacks on the overkill hypothesis, with special attention to misrepresentations and doubletalk

    Abstract
    This paper addresses misrepresentations and errors in attacks directed against the Overkill hypothesis that was proposed by Paul
    Martin to explain selective late Pleistocene extinctions. The opposing Climate-Change hypothesis to explain extinctions is driven by
    ideology as much as by objective reasoning because it is repeated so frequently without strong new evidence to support it, but it has failed
    to nail down a victory in public opinion. Overkill, which is not an anti-climate-change hypothesis, is perhaps too ‘‘flexible’’ to persuade
    all scientists, especially because negative evidence (a lack of megafaunal killsites) is considered to be as corroborative as positive evidence.
    Multiphase models of extinctions that propose different genera died out at different times have become less and less likely as more
    radiometric dating is done, and overlook the documented variability in atmospheric radiocarbon around the end of the Pleistocene,
    which prevents the high resolution chronology-building necessary to support a discontinuous model of the extinctions. The extinctions
    were geologically abrupt, selective, and unique, and therefore they require unique explanations.
    See? When it is used on their behalf (as in the new article) “negative evidence” is considered okay, but when the other side uses it (back in 1996), well that is a no-no.

  25. M White says:

    Not quite the video I expected try this

    Stone Age Columbus – Clovis & Solutrean Parallels – Part 1 of 4.avi

  26. Sean Peake says:

    I believe the Clovis culture died out because they ran out of mammoths which caused a dramatic rise in temperature and a massive reforestation, which, in turn, caused them to get permanently lost in the woods.

  27. Ben D. says:

    So, that is what they believe. There are two sides to this issue. That is their side of it. 90% of archeology is extrapolation, anyway. They find two shards of pottery or one bone and tell us all about an entire society from that. As an applied scientist (mechanical engineer) I don’t even consider archeology as a science. It is history that leans on science. They don’t do their own C14 dating. They don’t do their own chemical analyses. And when C14 dates come back “out of range,” they reject them without examination as having been “obviously” contaminated. So, basically, they fudge their data. Where have we here hard that one before?

    I don’t think its fair to tell archaeologists that their science is worthless, yes it is a lot of guess-work same as a lot of other sciences that attempt to write history on such fragmented knowledge. I think the better bet is to look at their works individually and pass judgement on the works themselves along with the theories (like in this particular post..)

    Some of the works will be by fools obviously, but I don’t think just calling all archaeologists climate scientists is fair by just a couple examples…Yes, its not a traditional science that uses a lot of extrapolation and assumptions, but this is what history is in a nut-shell.

    History is important, because its from this that we can look at climate change from a big picture. Starting in around 1900, major scientists have flip-flopped from global cooling to global warming every 30 years like clock-work. If we don’t look at the history, we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of even lesser known people where no history is known…yet.

    I am one person who hopes someday the uncertainty in our climate will be addressed and studied from a non-biased platform someday. I think it is important, but if what I said about the history is not taken into consideration, these scientists are doomed to repeat their mistakes forever. . . . This is why archaeology and history are important, the key reason, there are others, but the largest issues is to get personal bias out of the way and perform true science in other fields….

  28. netdr2 says:

    My son found this meteor crater on Google Earth.

    29°27’7.32″N
    103°48’12.15″W

    We don’t have any Idea of it’s age.

    Could it have caused the extinction ?

  29. Doug Sherman says:

    “FergalR says:
    September 30, 2010 at 10:23 am
    “Holliday and Meltzer believe that the disappearance of Clovis spear points is more likely the result of a cultural choice rather than a population collapse. ”

    What sane civilization would abandon their most advanced technology?

    Yeah, that would be like us abandoning something like the internal combustion engine. Who would even suggest something like that!

  30. Janice says:

    There are a few other ways that civilizations die out completely, such as war and/or disease.

  31. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    CO2 changed didn’t u know, that’s why they disappeared.

  32. jorgekafkazar says:

    mark nutley says: “…This is the important part, their arrow and spearheads were marvels of stoneage construct, they would not have stopped making them.”

    Other than unsubstantiated assertion, what makes you say that?

  33. Tenuc says:

    We know the Clovis either moved on or where wiped out at about the time of the Younger-Dryas interstadial. We still don’t know the cause of the Y-D, although there are a few theories as to why it happened, it remains a mystery.

    Until more information is found, the fate of the Clovis people is nothing better than guesswork.

  34. Spector says:

    RE: M White: (September 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm)
    “ice age columbus”

    Of course this all predates the time when the introduction of wheat farming, one of man’s first vitamin poor ‘junk foods,’ forced the evolution of a new race in northwestern Europe.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1210056/White-Europeans-evolved-5-500-years-ago-food-habits-changed.html

  35. kuhnkat says:

    FergalR,

    “What sane civilization would abandon their most advanced technology?”

    They outsourced the manufacturing and ended up not being able to afford it??

  36. George E. Smith says:

    So is there some reason why the CO2 counter is stuck at 389 and change, even though it is supposed to go up 2 ppm every year; and it hasn’t moved in eons ?

  37. Curt says:

    Does the Younger Dryas cold event really need any special explanation? Looking at the Greenland ice core data, all through the last glacial period, there were periodic sudden warming spikes (Dansgaard-Oeschger events) with a slightly less sudden return to very cold conditions.

    The warming spike before the Younger Dryas was a little higher and longer lasting than the others, but I don’t see it as fundamentally different in kind. However, most interpretations seem to consider a full glacial-to-interglacial transition followed by some special event that reversed its effect.

  38. Myrrh says:

    The more there is the more plants eat it. What’s measured in the air is what they haven’t got their teeth around yet.

  39. captainfish says:

    Quote:
    FergalR says:
    September 30, 2010 at 10:23 am

    “Holliday and Meltzer believe that the disappearance of Clovis spear points is more likely the result of a cultural choice rather than a population collapse. ”

    What sane civilization would abandon their most advanced technology?
    ***********************

    Exactly FergalR !!! Like, why should our civilization give up coal and nuclear energy. Why should we give up nuclear weapons??
    Why should anyone evolve and change and move on to better things that fit their needs and situations?

  40. feet2thefire says:

    @ Ben D. September 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm:

    I don’t think its fair to tell archaeologists that their science is worthless, yes it is a lot of guess-work same as a lot of other sciences that attempt to write history on such fragmented knowledge.

    Ben, I hear you. But I’ve been following archeological stuff for 40 years now, and I gotta tell you – the more I see, the less I respect their work.

    They sweep stuff under the carpet. Any artifact they don’t understand is a ritualistic item. Any building they don’t understand is a ritual center. Watch any presentation, and it is all extrapolation, with a lot of verb modifiers to cover their arses.

    They got started with a bunch of rich white religious European guys with time on their hands and as superiority complex about western civilization – and a need to prove the validity of the Bible, especially after Darwin. They jumped to conclusions in the early-to-mid 19th century, which led them to date pottery and discovered written texts into a time scheme – and ever since then they’ve forced everything to fit into that timeline. They tweaked the scientific methods to fit the pottery and epigraphy, not the other way around.

    But most of all, in N America they completely ignore ANY finds by amateurs. In Europe amateur finds are accepted and blended in (for the most part). There is solid evidence that humans were in Mexico 250,000 years ago. You know what happened to the arkie who did that work, and tested and retested her evidence before publishing? She never worked in archeology again. She made her evidence rock solid, and they hooted her out of her profession. And that is what they did to everyone for 70 years who dared to find evidence that humans were in the Americas before Clovis. Entrenched forces stood behind the Clovis barrier and spit on people. If I hear one more time about the “ice-free corridor” I will hurl. Every article about the peopling of the Americas has to have the obligatory bow to the ice-free corridor. Hey! People! You with the trowels! Clovis is dead! Get over it!

    The DNA (mitochondrial haplotyping) has determined that at least FIVE different migrations came to the Americas. From Polynesia, SE Asia, Africa, NE Asia and Europe. And one they don’t know HOW it got here, really. The X-haplotype is found primarily in the Iroquois and Sioux, in the Levant, the Pyrenees, the Altai, and basically no where in between those – somehow it skipped all the geography in between and flew. Only one of those was likely to have been at the time of Clovis. The arkies for decades fought the idea of people using boats to get here – and now they are writing articles about it like they came up with the idea – which they didn’t.

    They come up with rules about what they will accept – not about the science, but about staked out principalites of knowledge, and if you don’t toe their line, they will abuse you.

    The CRU guys are PIKERS compared to arkies. That little naughtiness in the Climategate emails? Geez, that is nothing compared to what the arkies do.

    Arkies are the only “scientists” who are still going by early-19th century dictates as to what is real and what isn’t. So, when they stop making stuff up (they call it extrapolating) and start giving credit to people of the past as being anything but ritualistic god-appeasers, then I will give them some credit.

    40 years watching them, and I have an informed opinion. And that opinion is that they are historians claiming to be scientists. I am a FAR bigger skeptic in that area than in global warming. History according to the arkies is a lot less settled than the science of climatology is. But you wouldn’t know it to ask them.

  41. Aeneas says:

    I think that it is also worth mentioning that impacts are much more common than we are led to believe as astrophysicist Victor Clube and astronomer Bill Napier have tried to bring to light many times. Just yesterday an article was posted that brought this to light: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/215859-Disclosure-and-Comets

    As feet2thefire mentioned above, it is not just the Clovis people who disappeared, but countless species of large mammals who disappeared at the same time. THAT has to be taken into account and hence coming up with a myopic hypothesis that only addresses the Clovis culture’s disappearance is not the answer when obviously more major events happened at the same time osit.

  42. wayne Job says:

    I see from the informed comments about this article that it is not just me who has a rather dim view of the achievements, nit picking and a**e covering consensus that has pervaded much of the scientific doctrines. Nigh on a century wasted on egos and isms.
    The internet is now the only channel for free thought and idea exchange and that is under threat of control by many governments. Else where thinking outside the square can have you pilloried or worse. Thank you Anthony for the opening of debate, there is need of new ideas in all doctrines of science.

  43. Steve Pace says:

    It wasn’t a ‘comet’. Why do these ‘scientists’ not recognize what a meteor storm did?

    It is/was the Taurids Complex, and it will arrive again between now and a couple hundred years from now.

    A couple years of airbursts and 100 meter sized ground impacts (at 25 mps) will end civilization as we know it.
    Ask Harvard, the details are there.

  44. Brego says:

    Re: netdr2 says:
    September 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    My son found this meteor crater on Google Earth.

    29°27’7.32″N
    103°48’12.15″W

    We don’t have any Idea of it’s age.

    Could it have caused the extinction ?

    That topographic feature is called The Solitario. It does resemble a crater, but it is actually an eroded laccolith. It is kind of like a failed volcano.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solitario

    “SOLITARIO. The Solitario, a circular domal uplift with a nine-mile diameter, stands on the Presidio-Brewster county line between Fresno Creek on the west and Saltgrass Draw on the east (at 29°27′ N, 103°49′ W). It was formed when an igneous intrusion uplifted the dome several thousand feet, vented lava, collapsed the roof, and left a prominent rim of Cretaceous limestone.”

    http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/SS/rjs48.html

  45. agimarc says:

    Fascinating argument, and I expect it to go back and forth many times over a very long time. It will be great fun to watch and participate in.

    The notion that there have been catastrophic physical events that drive evolution is relatively new – last 30 years or so. The bias in the non-space science community is nominally against those explanations, yet in some instances (Cretaceous event, KT -Boundary, mass Permian extinction, Clovis) they may provide better models than previous explanations, which is why they are being entertained. The fun stuff is that when you get a sufficiently large catastrophic event – impact, volcanic or extra-solar – it seems to trigger other things that cause mass extinctions, global climate change, etc. And it is difficult to sort out which is causing what, especially since nobody was around at the time to watch. All in all, a great education in the scientific method and figuring out how things work. It’s something that the glo-warmers ought to consider participating in.

    As to meteor storms not being associated with comets: the majority of meteor showers are associated with active or inactive comets. The dividing line between comets, asteroids and flying rubble piles is not as sharp as we once thought, as a large number (half?) of the Near Earth / Earth orbit crossing Asteroids are thought to be inactive comets. Cheers -

  46. M White says:

    Spector says:
    September 30, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Don’t quite see your point. The neolithic arrived in the British Isles about 6000 years ago

    http://www.britarch.ac.uk/ba/ba12/BA12FEAT.HTML

    Even so the mesolithic lingered in the west.

    “The genetic evidence shows that three quarters of our ancestors came to this corner of Europe as hunter-gatherers, between 15,000 and 7,500 years ago, after the melting of the ice caps but before the land broke away from the mainland and divided into islands. Our subsequent separation from Europe has preserved a genetic time capsule of southwestern Europe during the ice age, which we share most closely with the former ice-age refuge in the Basque country. The first settlers were unlikely to have spoken a Celtic language but possibly a tongue related to the unique Basque language.”

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2006/10/mythsofbritishancestry/

    Read Stephen Oppenheimer’s Orrigins of the British. An interesting read. It’s quite possible that the people of the British Isles are descendents of those Solutrean tool makers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solutrean

  47. Spector says:

    At this time, I note that there are a host of explanations for the cause of the Younger Dryas ice-age, which is also, as well as man, is implicated in the wholesale disappearance of the American Megafauna. These explanations even include climate disruption by a nearby supernova that happened at about that time.

    I also happened to note — while searching for information on the YD event — that there appear to be some people spreading a rumor that the BP oil spill may have caused a stoppage of the flow of the Gulf Stream current and, as a result, we may expect see the beginning of a return to ice-age conditions this winter. I do not see this claim being taken seriously.

  48. Spector says:

    RE: M White says: (October 1, 2010 at 10:41 am)
    “Don’t quite see your point. The neolithic arrived in the British Isles about 6000 years ago.”

    I believe your video depicts the neolithic peoples as modern Europeans before the adoption of wheat farming, about 5,500 years ago which put a high premium on gaining the ability to manufacture your own vitamin D directly from sunlight while almost fully clothed in a near sub-arctic climate. It is my understanding that DNA evidence shows that the neolithic Europeans at the time indicated in the video had typical solar protective skin coloration. This would make them similar, in appearance, to ‘Native’ Americans.

  49. Ed Murphy says:

    Besides the intensifying potential of the Taurids stream, there’s this:

    “The Geminids are strong—and getting stronger,” says Cooke, who has prepared a plot showing how the shower has intensified since its discovery:

    What’s going on? Jupiter’s gravity has been acting on Phaethon’s debris stream, causing it to shift more and more toward Earth’s orbit.

    Moreover, says Brown, “the proportion of large, bright Geminids should also increase in the next few decades, according to Jones’ model.” So the Geminids could turn into a “fireball shower.”

    “We understand little about the details of the formation and evolution of Phaethon’s debris despite many years of efforts.”

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/08dec_geminids.htm

    I would lot rather disappear underground without a furious panic trying to overrun me. Rather they were caught by surprise, especially any enemy, just sayin’.

  50. Myrrh says:

    Re feet2thefire’s post. Also entrenched is the dismissal of a people’s own traditions about their history, particularly so with the Indian subcontinent, which had its own centuries long traditions of teaching about life the universe and everything, and thought in terms of billions of years in creation cycles.

    In the Hopi tradition they say they arrived around 22,000 years ago and entered the Americas by island hopping, sorry don’t recal whether it was SE or SW corner, and travelled up from there. They have oral tradtions of previous three ages to this fourth we’re in now.

  51. 899 says:

    mark nutley says:
    September 30, 2010 at 10:35 am
    Interesting but they are missing the obvious thing, The clovis disappeared, this is indicated not be the fact they upped sticks and moved but the fact that the clovis type of arrow head vanished. This is the important part, their arrow and spearheads were marvels of stoneage construct, they would not have stopped making them. They died in a mass extinction event, along with all most of the other animals in north america at the time.

    You raise a very good point, a point seemingly missed by posts both before your own, and many afterwards.

    The point being: THE CLOVIS POINT vanished. But why? Why would such a successful tool simply vanish? I’ll tell you why: The makers vanished.

    I can’t recall of a period in Human history where a technology was completely, totally, and utterly abandoned in the name of another technology.

    There have ~always~ been the clingers on to what went before, and that is evident by finding both together. Indeed: The genesis of the one is found in the other, and so the ‘lineage’ is discovered.

    What bothers me here, is that there are so many posters whom are willing to accept a remark a face value, and not think to cogitate at length over what seems to be a logical and reasoned construct, but may well be so faulted as to be a neat deceit.

    Further, has no one thought to question the impetus of the authors of that article?

    Does NO ONE REMEMBER the lack of WOOLEY MAMMOTH FARTS article but a few months back, as being the cause of the last big ice age?

    Here’s my take: The authors of the current article are nought but takers of money from those whom would deceive us into believing their connivances.

    Believe what you will, but do so at your own peril.

  52. 899 says:

    Brego says:
    September 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm
    The Goshen cultural complex was contemporaneous with the late Clovis culture and continued for hundreds of years after Clovis was gone. It would be difficult explaining why a comet impact would have exterminated one group and not the other.

    The comet impact conjecture was never anything more than a pipe dream.

    Shall we —most of the rest of us— consider that you’ve never heard of ‘weather patterns?’

    Does an effect happen all over the world all at once? Does what happens in say, Perth, Australia, also happen at Svalbard, and Tierra del Fuego too, in the very same way?

  53. Ed Murphy says:

    899 says,
    Here’s my take: The authors of the current article are nought but takers of money from those whom would deceive us into believing their connivances.

    Exactly what I was getting at, and now the USAF won’t allow anyone else to survey/study fireballs with their radar equipment anymore. Period. Its kinda Fishy!

  54. Spector says:

    Here is a reference to the supernova magafauna extinction theory. It has the advantage that it neatly explains why only one hemisphere of the Earth, north to south, might receive the worst brunt of the initial blast. Although it is speculated that such a blast may have created comet-like objects, I suspect that supernova remnants, from 250 light years out, could easily fail to pass the tests required of a true comet impact signature. They appear to have discovered three distinctive radio-carbon peaks; 41,000, 34,000, and 13,000 years old.

    Supernova Explosion May Have Caused Mammoth Extinction

    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/NSD-mammoth-extinction.html

  55. Spector says:

    RE: FergalR: (September 30, 2010 at 10:23 am)
    “What sane civilization would abandon their most advanced technology?”

    I believe this could happen as a result of that technology no longer being applicable to their drastically modified lifestyles. That period saw the disappearance of the American Megafauna from North to South America. If the Clovis people survived whatever caused this extinction, perhaps including human hunting pressure, it seems to me that the survivors could have found that the large spears and arrows using these complex artifacts were no longer suited for hunting the small game that survived.

    As an example; I suspect that a scarcity induced price of $90 per gallon for gasoline in today’s dollars would force the discontinuance of the general use of that fluid and most of the associated advanced technology.

  56. Mark says:

    Ben D. says:

    Starting in around 1900, major scientists have flip-flopped from global cooling to global warming every 30 years like clock-work.

    Or could it even be like the Pacific decadal oscillation :)

  57. Myrrh says:

    The evidence for the extinction event, of ice age fauna and demise of Clovis culture and Younger Dryas in the northern hemisphere, is for a comet cause, from the nano diamonds finds. An old TV programme repeated a couple of days ago reminded me of this, it ended with a piece on the Greenland finds which had a layer abundant with them.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090101172136.htm

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100914143626.htm

  58. Duster says:

    The only unique aspect of Clovis is the percussion fluted projectile point. When you carefully look at specimens from locations spanning the entire continent, it is fairly clear that Clovis was not a homogeneous entity distributed continent wide. Point size and manufacturing patterns vary geographically, and through time. The fluted character of Clovis spear tips is so well known that it has achieved a quasi-mythical character. In fact, while Clovis fluting can be very clear on some specimens, on others there can be considerable debate. The “fluted-ness” grades gradually into “end-thinned” or “basally-thinned” points where no unequivocal fluting can be found. At the same time new fluted forms such as the Cumberland and Folsom appear, which are fluted, but are fluted in a different manner – probably using a pressure technique. Folsom points in fact are arguably technologically more sophisticated than Clovis were. Since Folsom appears late in the Younger Dryas, the human population in the Americas not only survived the onset of the YD, they also continued to innovate and develop new means of securing blades to hafts, which is absolutely all the “flute” on a fluted point is – haft attachment point. Evidence of scratching on the flute surfaces of obsidian Clovis points in the western US indicates that adhesive was applied to the flute during the hafting process. By the onset of the Holocene the fluting technique was entirely abandoned. There is no evidence of an extinction of Clovis people or hiatus of human occupation in the Americas. The people do however have to cope handily with extreme changes taking place during the onset, duration and ending of the YD.

    The archaeologically interesting thing about the fluted point is that it is an American invention. It occurs only in the Americas. The speed with which fluting appears through out two continents suggests to some archaeologists that communication, rather than colonization, was the mechanism that distributed the “Clovis” point so widely.

  59. Ed Murphy says:

    Well, I think Steve Pace has put two and two together pretty darn well. He did his homework.

    I don’t know about supernova, does anybody? Is anyone here old enough to lived through a nearby supernova and is qualified to describe it?

    Anyway, here’s the Harvard link on that supercomet that was running around our solar system.

    http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/seri/MNRAS/0251/0000636.000.html

  60. Ed Murphy says:

    wow, Thanks, Dennis!

  61. Steve Pace says:

    and here’s the simple (with mistakes) article about the periodic meteor bombarment:

    http://stevepace.intuitwebsites.com/

  62. Spector says:

    The critics of the supernova theory say that there appears to be no evidence of any nearby supernova remnant that might fit the time of the event even though there is evidence of a radio-carbon peak that might have been caused by a supernova. Of course there is also the remote possibility of a ‘hypernova’ much farther away.

    “It’s A Nova … It’s A Supernova … It’s A HYPERNOVA”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030407075127.htm

  63. Ed Murphy says:

    I read somewhere where just an objects passage through the Van Allen Belts would cause a spike of that type. The particle flux is so high in some region that often the detectors on satellites must be shut off (or at least placed in a “safe” mode) to protect them from the radiation.

    Not to mention the Gould Belt at some point(s) in comets’ histories.

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