Archaeologists stunned by “massive” animals that early humans may have encountered in America | Sciences | New

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United States: expert on the first encounters with “prehistoric mammals”

The “Solutrean hypothesis” is a theory that claims that the first people to arrive in the New World – the Americas – were from prehistoric Spain. He says they brought with them a distinctive way of making stone tools, which served as the basis for later Clovis technology that spread across North America. The theory’s biggest supporters today are Dennis Stanford, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution, and Brace Bradley, his colleague.

They say that the peoples of the Solutrean culture approximately 21,000 to 17,000 years ago migrated to North America by ship along the ice floes of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Those who support it cite recent archaeological finds at Cactus Hill in Virginia, Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, and Miles Point in Maryland as evidence of a phase of transition between Solutrean lithic technology and Clovis technology.

Shrouded in controversy and rejected by many, their research was put into practice in the Smithsonian Channel documentary, “Ice Bridge: The Impossible Journey”.

Here, the earliest encounters of early humans with animals in North America were explored, the “terrifying” extent to which the animals would have dominated the exposed Solutreans.

Archeology: the first humans in North America would have faced “massive animals” (Image: PA / GETTY)

Bering land bridge: Solutrean hypothesis suggests people may have taken the land bridge

Bering land bridge: Solutrean hypothesis suggests people may have taken the land bridge (Image: GETTY)

The theory is that they landed at Chesapeake Bay, the part of the watershed that stretches approximately 524 miles from Cooperstown, New York, to Norfolk, Virginia.

The narrator of the documentary noted: “Their first task is to find stones to make the tools and weapons on which their survival depends. “

The great canopy of frigid nature is said to have contained flora and fauna never before encountered by the Solutreans.

North America at the time would have been home to “massive prehistoric mammals like none in Ice Age Europe”.

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Solutreans: The ancient peoples were from Spain

Solutreans: The ancient peoples were from Spain (Image: Youtube channel / Smithsonian)

The narrator continued, “Among them, one of the most terrifying predators of all time, the short-faced bear.

“Able to hunt prey at 25 mph and reach heights of 13 feet.”

The short-faced bear is believed to have spread around 800,000 years ago, eventually becoming extinct around 11,000 years ago.

There are two recognized species: the little short-faced bear (Arctodus pristinus) and the giant short-faced bear (Arctodus simus).

The latter is considered to be one of the largest known land carnivorous mammals to ever exist.

The Solutreans are also said to have faced off against the many giant land sloths that once roamed the Americas.

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Short-faced bear: the mammal reached 13 feet tall

Short-faced bear: the mammal reached 13 feet tall (Image: PA)

Giant land sloth: it grew to the size of an ox and weighed an impressive 1000 kg

Giant land sloth: it grew to the size of an ox and weighed an impressive 1000 kg (Image: GETTY)

Megalonyx jeffersonii was the largest of the land sloths in the Megalonychidae family, reaching the size of a mature ox.

It was about 3 meters long and could weigh up to 1000 kg.

Evolving in South America about 35 million years ago, the giant land sloth finally migrated to North America eight million years ago, preferring to inhabit around rivers and lakes.

During the Pleistocene period, which both the short-faced bear and the giant sloth lived, the world experienced what is known as the Great Ice Age.

At that time, at its peak, up to 30 percent of the Earth’s surface was covered in glaciers, with parts of the northern oceans frozen over, leaving an environment in which only the hardiest animals could survive.

Archaeological finds: some of the most revolutionary finds ever recorded

Archaeological finds: some of the most revolutionary finds ever recorded (Image: Newspapers Express)

In 2018, archaeologists discovered the fossilized footprints of ancient humans at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

At the same site, researchers also found human footprints inside the footprints of giant sloths on the ground, leading scientists to believe that ancient humans once tracked down and hunted the animal.

While the Solutrean hypothesis has been welcomed by some, others claim it is “scientifically implausible”.

Jennifer Raff, geneticist, writing for The Guardian in 2018, said the theory “suggests a European origin for the peoples who made the Clovis tools, the earliest tradition of stone tools recognized in the Americas.”

Clovis Tools: Some say the link between Solutrean and Clovis technologies is weak

Clovis Tools: Some say the link between Solutrean and Clovis technologies is weak (Image: GETTY)

Appearing in the documentary, Ms. Raff wrote: “In addition to the scientific problems with the Solutrean hypothesis which I will discuss shortly, it is important to note that it has overt political and cultural implications in denying that Native Americans are the only ones indigenous peoples of the continents. “

Following the hypothesis, reports suggested that it had been adopted by groups of white supremacists, who interpreted them to mean that the “original inhabitants of the Americas” were “white Europeans”, and the Native Americans today are the descendants of “later immigrants” from Asia.

Ms. Raff said: “Indeed, although this particular iteration is new, the idea behind the Solutrean hypothesis is part of a long tradition of Europeans trying to fit into American prehistory; justifying colonialism by asserting that Native Americans were not able to create the diverse and sophisticated material culture of the Americas.

She said the scientific evidence had raised eyebrows as well: “There is a significant time gap between when the Solutreans could have crossed the Atlantic via the Ice Bridge (~ 20,000 years before the present (YBP)) and when the Clovis tools start to appear in the archaeological records (~ 13,000 YBP) ”, and that“ there is no evidence of the use of boats or tools used to make boats at the Solutrean sites », Among others.


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