Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Breaking news! Scientist: Man in Americas earlier than thought

An archeologist from the University of South Carolina today announced radiocarbon dating results of burned plant material dated the first human settlement in North America to 50,000 years ago.

"Topper is the oldest radiocarbon dated site in North America," said Albert Goodyear of the University of South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.

That would make it significantly older than previously discovered sites, which were thought by most scientists to be from man's earliest venture into the Americas, about 13,000 years ago.

We may have blogged another story on this at some point in the past. The crucial points of contention will be:
-- Are the "tools" actually tools?
-- Are the dates both reliable and in good association with the tools?
-- Do other environmental remains support the dates?

The other criteria usually applied is whether the site is adequately published, which this clearly is not (yet).

For the record, chert is the general term applied to microcrystalline quartz, of which flint, jasper, etc. are varieties.

[Update not having to do with the breaking news]

Humans Were Born to Run, Scientists Say

Humans were born to run and evolved from ape-like creatures into the way they look today probably because of the need to cover long distances and compete for food, scientists said on Wednesday.

From tendons and ligaments in the legs and feet that act like springs and skull features that help prevent overheating, to well-defined buttocks that stabilize the body, the human anatomy is shaped for running.

"We do it because we are good at it. We enjoy it and we have all kinds of specializations that permit us to run well," said Daniel Lieberman, a professor of anthropology at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

We didn't want to upset the flow of the 50k-year old site.