I pay a subscription to The New York Times because it’s America’s premier middle-brow journal. Its science pages are decent, so my interest was piqued when I saw the the bold headline, Discoveries Challenge Beliefs on Humans’ Arrival in the Americas. But the article is a total mishmash, alternating between spotlighting paradigm challenging scholars, and crazy. Here’s the crazy:
Having their findings disputed is nothing new for the archaeologists working at Serra da Capivara. Dr. Guidon, the Brazilian archaeologist who pioneered the excavations, asserted more than two decades ago that her team had found evidence in the form of charcoal from hearth fires that humans had lived here about 48,000 years ago.
Dr. Guidon remains defiant about her findings. At her home on the grounds of a museum she founded to focus on the discoveries in Serra da Capivara, she said she believed that humans had reached these plateaus even earlier, around 100,000 years ago, and might have come not overland from Asia but by boat from Africa.
These are changing times in human evolutionary biology. But if humans couldn’t make it by boat to Madagascar until 1,000 to 2,000 years ago, there’s no way they made it to Brazil.