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From the New York Times science section:

Ancient Footprints Push Back Date of Human Arrival in the Americas

Human footprints found in New Mexico are about 23,000 years old, a study reported, suggesting that people may have arrived long before the Ice Age’s glaciers melted.

By Carl Zimmer
Sept. 23, 2021

Ancient human footprints preserved in the ground across the White Sands National Park in New Mexico are astonishingly old, scientists reported on Thursday, dating back about 23,000 years to the Ice Age.

… For decades, many archaeologists have maintained that humans spread across North and South America only at the end of the last ice age. They pointed to the oldest known tools, including spear tips, scrapers and needles, dating back about 13,000 years. The technology was known as Clovis, named for the town of Clovis, N.M., where some of these first instruments came to light.

The age of the Clovis tools lined up neatly with the retreat of the glaciers. That alignment bolstered a scenario in which Siberian hunter-gatherers moved into Alaska during the Ice Age, where they lived for generations until ice-free corridors opened and allowed them to expand southward.

We know the Clovis era population of 13,000 years ago was a very big deal because the Americas’ mega-fauna, such as woolly mammoths and sabre-tooth tigers soon began to die off and go extinct. Rather than blame it on the ancestors of the American Indians eating them, it’s polite to blame the extinctions on climate change: you see, at the end of Ice Ages, the weather got nicer, so all the giant beasts just died from joy, or something. For example, the La Brea Tarpits museum explains that during the Ice Age, the climate of Los Angeles was like the Monterey Peninsula south of San Francisco today, so of course the giant beasts all just died (because how could they possibly walk all the way to the Monterey Peninsula?).

The study at White Sands now adds a new line of evidence for an early arrival: Instead of tools, the researchers have found footprints.

The footprints were first discovered in 2009 by David Bustos, the park’s resource program manager. Over the years, he has brought in an international team of scientists to help make sense of the finds.

Together, they have found thousands of human footprints across 80,000 acres of the park. One path was made by someone walking in a straight line for a mile and a half. Another shows a mother setting her baby down on the ground. Other tracks were made by children. …

Mammoths, dire wolves, camels and other animals left footprints as well. One set of prints showed a giant sloth avoiding a group of people, demonstrating that they were in close company. …

The scientists dug a trench near one cluster of human and animal footprints to get a tighter estimate of their age. On the side of the trench, they could see layer after layer of sediment. Carefully mapping the surrounding ground, they were able to trace the footprints of humans and animals to six layers in the trench, interspersed with eleven seed beds.

The researchers collected ditch grass seeds from each bed and measured their carbon. These measurements confirmed the initial results: The oldest footprints at the site — left by an adult human and a mammoth — were located below a seed bed dating back about 22,800 years.

In other words, the people who left the footprints walked around White Sands about 10,000 years before the Clovis people. The youngest footprints, the researchers estimated, dated to about 21,130 years ago. That meant that people lived or regularly visited the lake for about 2,000 years.

… Dr. Potter praised the White Sands team for their care in the new study, saying that it is the strongest case yet made for people in the Americas before 16,000 years ago. But he would feel more confident in the extraordinary age of the prints, he said, if there were other lines of evidence beyond the ditch grass seeds. The seeds could have absorbed older carbon from the lake water, making them seem older than they really are.

So, don’t take this as for sure.

But if true, it would suggest that somebody got here long before the proto-American Indians of Clovis. Interestingly, they didn’t wipe out much of the mega-fauna. Maybe they went more or less extinct? If so, did they die off on their own or did the proto-Indians kill them?

And how closely related were they to subsequent American Indians? Perhaps, the same people kept going back and forth from Siberia to Alaska and occasionally getting past the glacier barrier that cut off Alaska from the rest of the America. But 10,000 years is a long time to retain genetic continuity in Eurasia (as opposed to on an island).

A few years ago, a curious discovery was made among a few tribes deep in the Amazon: a small percentage of their DNA didn’t look like that of any other Amerindians. The researchers compared it to the DNA of Andaman Islanders in the Indian Ocean. Nobody really has a clue about this finding, but maybe they are descended in slight part from the mysterious White Sands people?

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  1. ruralguy says:

    There is other evidence of humans dating from 30,000 to 50,000 years ago, in South Carolina (along Savannah River), Oklahoma, Brazil, and Chile. Some of the dating is still questioned, but more evidence is piling up to collaborate these early dates. This is quite astonishing if true, because early homo sapiens migrated out of Africa from 60,000 to 80,000 years ago.

    • Replies: @Stoic_seeker
    , @Alden
  2. tr says:

    . . . the weather got nicer, so all the giant beasts just died from joy. . . .

    I love seeing a silly theory get the ridicule it deserves!

    • Agree: Charon, RichardTaylor
    • Replies: @jamie b.
    , @RichardTaylor
  3. Forgive an OT,

    but I can’t help feeling this is a significant convergence/horseshoe/whatever:

    Ann Barnhardt, Virgin Queen of flyover Catholics, recently approvingly posted Stanza 35 of BAP’s Bronze Age Mindset.

    Apparently, she has the book.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
  4. Not Raul says:

    It’s likely that there were multiple migrations (and back migrations) across the Bering strait, and nearby areas.

    It is also likely that Polynesians (and/or related peoples) made it to the Americas.

  5. LOL…..when I read that article I really did LOL because I was thinking along the same lines and thought, so did the American Indians, who seem to have ancestry from east Asia, really steal the land from folks already in the America’s?

    Or is it only Europeans that can “steal land”?

  6. 2BR says:

    The New World was just entering the Bronze Age (the Tarascans in Mexico) when the Spanish showed up, about 2500 years behind the Old World Middle East timeline. Is it possible a destruction of an older population delayed civilizational development a critical few thousand years?

    • Replies: @2BR
  7. Bill P says:

    Even if one group wipes out another, they almost always breed with them. The strange DNA in Brazil is intriguing, but not nearly widespread enough to indicate a significant population of different people. Maybe the Brazilians are partly descended from slaves brought over by Polynesians, who likely had some contact with Amerindians (sweet potatoes don’t float across oceans like coconuts, one of which my son just found washed up on a beach south of Vancouver).

    Polynesians seem to have some South American ancestry:

    So I’d think if there really were humans in the Americas that early on, they were probably more or less the same people as the Clovis Indians.

  8. Cortes says:

    Might exploitation of the

    have enabled people to bypass icebound land routes and allow ancient people to access regions unaffected by glaciation?

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  9. Another article on this finding did point out the researchers took additional tests that gave further credence to the early dating—that it is unlikely there was older carbon leaching based on distribution of seeds on that site. They undertook such measures precisely because they realized this finding might be questioned.

    The new scientific findings of the last decade in genomics plus archaeology are extremely fascinating. It’s a shame that the scientific method and general intelligence seem to be nose-diving in real time even as this new data creates a new world to uncover

  10. Mike Tre says:

    It was pretty inconsiderate of these proto-vibrant humans to not write any of the shit they did down. Would’ve been a big help to us today.

  11. @Almost Missouri

    It must be kept in mind that is an extremely small percentages of the population. But also…

    And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward. -Solzhenitsyn

    • Agree: Gabe Ruth
    • Thanks: Gordo
  12. I wouldn’t be surprised if the theory that Melanesians landed in the Americas some 25,000-30,000 years ago (since DNA testing has the Pericues of Baja California sharing their genetics and the archeological record goes back 10,000 years) turns out to be true some day.

    The same holds true for Kennwick man (8,900-9,000 years ago) and Penon Woman III, the oldest human remains found in the Americas (12,500 years ago) as both are closely related genetically to Pacific Rim people.

  13. Not that we want it back, but isn’t our claim to Wrangel Island stronger than either side’s to the Falklands? Mammoths survived there thousands of years after they had disappeared elsewhere. But the Wrangel mammoths degenerated from inbreeding. They never met any humans.

    The last woolly mammoths on Earth had disastrous DNA

  14. Daniel H says:

    So much material for speculative fiction in popular entertainment yet all we get is zombie and space opera bullsh*t.

    • Agree: Joseph Doaks
  15. @ruralguy

    The preponderance of evidence being suppressed by dogma is that human civilization got wiped out by a comet or asteroid and it only resumed 12,000 years ago. And then moronic archaeologists wonder why the ancients seemed obsessed with the heavens.

    First God rained down fire (comet initiating the ice age), the he brought the flood (asteroid vaporizing 400 foot high glaciers and flooding the whole planet for a period).

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Bill
    , @james wilson
  16. @Bill P

    Then there’s the chickens (Asian jungle fowl). I suppose they could have got Jap balloon wizards to float them across. Like the WW2 incendiaries.

  17. Polistra says:

    One set of prints showed a giant sloth avoiding a group of people, demonstrating that they were in close company.

    It’s easier to believe that footprints can be dated to approximately 20,000 years ago than it is to believe that different sets of footprints can be established to have been contemporaneous within minutes, at such a remove.

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  18. Clearly, the footprints are of the ancient Lemurians who now reside beneath Mount Shasta.

  19. Several tentative indications that there were humans on the American continents (North and South) but that they don’t seem to have had a major impact on the ecosystem (no significant extinctions), were not that numerous, didn’t leave any tools (at least none found so far), and seem to have been displaced with very little admixture by newcomers. Reminds me of the Tasmanian Aboriginals who were a small isolated group and seemed to have regressed in terms of cultural and technological sophistication.

  20. dearieme says:

    How many places are there in the world where the present day population is largely descended from the first humans (hom sap) to have lived there?

    Madeira, perhaps. Bermuda? Any other Atlantic islands – St Helena? Tristan de Cunha? Ascension Island? Not Iceland: the Norse settlers reported that Christian monks – presumably from Scotland or Ireland – were there when they arrived.

    Many of the Pacific Islands, certainly. Madagascar? It’s not even clear that the Abos in the Australian deserts are descendants of the first wave of humans there. They might be descended from a second wave.

    Perhaps parts of South Africa where there are still lots of Bushmen? (Are there such parts?)

    How about Tibet? Is there any part of Hokkaido (Japan) that’s mainly populated by “Hairy Ainu”?

  21. Trelane says:

    Much older footprints have been found in England. From 800,000 years ago.

    • Thanks: LondonBob
    • Replies: @dearieme
  22. So where does this put Kennewick Man … ?

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  23. Does footprints mean bare feet? So these ancients walked about unshod ?

    • Replies: @Trelane
    , @CCZ
    , @Right_On
  24. “But 10,000 years is a long time to retain genetic continuity in Eurasia (as opposed to on an island).”

    Or as opposed to Sub-Saharan Africa (ca. 50,000 years their genetic continuity retained, once others left the African continent).

    • Replies: @dearieme
  25. Thea says:

    Could there have been more islands such that island hopping across the Atlantic or Pacific was once possible?

  26. Trelane says:
    @Buffalo Joe

    There are human footprints on the moon c. 1969. Not barefoot.

    • Replies: @Polistra
  27. @dearieme

    Is there any part of Hokkaido (Japan) that’s mainly populated by “Hairy Ainu”?

    This might be of interest:

    Ancient bones reveal previously unknown Japanese ancestors

  28. Trelane says:

    Excellent question. The founding population, if reasonably large, would have an intense conservation of its genes. Who are the original peoples or “races” of Earth?

  29. There are 30K yr old tools found in south America. Argentina maybe?

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  30. Maybe they magically appeared in what is now Mexico and walked north, the way Haitians are doing today, and the way millions of future invaders will.

    • Replies: @Polistra
  31. 2BR says:

    Sorry that should be they were entering the Bronze Age 2500 years after the Middle East was exiting the Bronze Age and entering the Iron. Make that 3500 years late.

  32. Anonymous[374] • Disclaimer says:

    Many of the Pacific Islands, certainly. Madagascar? It’s not even clear that the Abos in the Australian deserts are descendants of the first wave of humans there. They might be descended from a second wave.

    Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa, not Australia. No Australian aborigines ever arrived there on their own. What the flip have you been smoking?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  33. El Dato says:

    First God rained down fire (comet initiating the ice age), the he brought the flood (asteroid vaporizing 400 foot high glaciers and flooding the whole planet for a period).

    If you think this can happen within 12K years and not leave gross holes both in the biosphere (anything larger than a hamster dead) and geography (one hemisphere still a smoking ruin), I suggest you start at the ground floor.

    • Replies: @DLR
  34. @Polistra

    Yeah, that would only make sense if all the footprints had been preserved contemporaneously by some event like a volcanic flow — a la Pompeii.

    Otherwise, it would also be implausible to have a mile and a half of one person’s walk preserved for thousands of years. Funny, they didn’t explain that part.

  35. anon12 says:

    Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in southwestern PA shows conclusive evidence of human habitation 16,000 years ago. Excavated by James Adavasio.

    Not much argument that Clovis is not the oldest. 23,000 years ago does, however, add substantially to the timeline.

    Of course, Adavasio said there were sites in South America that have evidence of human habitation dating to 20,000 years ago. (He used to give periodic talks at Meadowcroft.) He said that probably indicated a coastal migration, using boats to rapidly settle the America’s coasts.

    Humans hunted megafauna to extinction in Eurasia. Seems reasonable they could do the same in the Americas.

  36. Anon[560] • Disclaimer says:

    Even putting aside the weird heart-of-South-American thing, I was under the impression that there was ancient DNA evidence that before the First Peoples there were the Zeroeth Peoples, based on maternal mitochondria. In other words there was yet another of those evens that we see repeatedly in Europe and elsewhere where Y chromosomes disappear but female mitochondria continue, and apparently for some inexplicable reason the males of a people stopped reproducing while the women got it on with the males of a newer people. I think that anthropologists attribute this to a generous and welcoming reaction by the original male residents to migrants. “Please, have our women. In this Hut No Human is Illegal. Love is Love. Migrant Lives Matter.”

    The Native American resistance to DNA testing of ancient bones (even when there is evidence that the current “Indians” have no relation to the bones) stems from this. They do not want their mythology challenged. “We were the original residents of American. The Great Turtle put us here. We have no word for war. We use the whole buffalo. We invented wildfire prevention controlled burns. Pay us a royalty on prevention burns. The White man made us fat with fry bread.”

    • Agree: Old Prude, Joseph Doaks
    • Thanks: Polistra
  37. @Anonymous

    Read dearieme’s comment more carefully.

  38. @Jackie Pratt

    There are 30K yr old tools found in south America. Argentina maybe?

    But I bet they’re very well-made and nobody’s found a reason to replace them.

    • LOL: Alden
  39. Polistra says:

    Those are paw prints, dude. All card-carrying unzies know that humans never walked on the moon. Some of us don’t believe that the moon even exists. Personally I’m agnostic on these burning questions. Oh sorry, nvm, I just left the stove on.

    • Replies: @G. Poulin
  40. Neither Indians eating them nor climate change killed off the megafauna.

    Disease, epidemic, pandemic killed off the megafauna.

    • Agree: Old Prude
    • Replies: @Old Prude
  41. Polistra says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Not even possible to invade* a country with no borders, is it? More like a walkabout, as you say, or perhaps a perambulation, if you’re the prince-nez type. As I am assured many of our new friends are.

    * “In a very real, and legally binding sense.”

  42. epebble says:

    blame it on the ancestors of the American Indians eating them

    It does not make sense that a very small number of early North American humans ate up all the woolly mammoths and sabre tooth tigers. Till very recently, North America was chock-full of buffaloes that are far easier to hunt than mammoths and tigers. If early humans in good weather areas hunted mega-fauna to extinction, why did this not happen in Africa and Asia that were more densely populated?

    The hunted to extinction theory may pass muster in Siberia (where few other food sources might have been available) but seems unlikely in North America – unless there were no buffaloes (or salmon or turkey …) then.

    • Agree: Old Prude, Dutch Boy
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @JMcG
  43. CCZ says:
    @Buffalo Joe

    From the WSJ report on this story, written by science editor Robert Lee Hotz:

    There is little difference between modern feet and the ancient feet that made the footprints, the scientists found. “They are very normal feet,” said Matthew Bennett, a specialist in ancient footprints at Bournemouth and the leader of the research team. “The toes are nicely defined.”

    The prehistoric feet that left the tracks appear to have been flat, which the scientists said might have been caused by a lifetime of walking barefoot.

  44. JAmesJohn says:

    20,000 year old footprints showing a mother putting her baby down on the ground.

    A mile and a half straight line of footprints preserved for 20,000 years.

    How educated do you have to be to believe this garbage?

    • Agree: Alden
    • Replies: @Alden
    , @gcochran
  45. The good Doctor’s comment that seeds could have a d13C excursion influenced by local groundwater shows a pretty alarming ignorance to the fundamentals of stable isotope analysis.

  46. Alden says:

    Out of Africa was a fraud.

    • Replies: @SaneClownPosse
  47. @Anon

    Even putting aside the weird heart-of-South-American thing, I was under the impression that there was ancient DNA evidence that before the First Peoples there were the Zeroeth Peoples, based on maternal mitochondria

    You were wrong. Amerindian mitochondrial haplogroups are all recent migrants from the Altai-Sayan region of central Asia, and East Asia.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Curmudgeon
  48. Alden says:

    How do the alleged scientists know it was a baby and not a bundle of something? About the critters who died off in the La Brea Tar Pits. The climate near the ocean in LA is about the same as the Monterey Peninsula. They could have walked 10 miles to the beach.

  49. @tr

    It’s been part of anti-Whitism for generations to say only White people do bad things. Brown people are always given a pass for historical events, whereas White people will be condemned to Hell for the exact same behavior.

    This isn’t new. They were preaching back in 1950 that poor Brother Indian just wanted to love his Brother Buffalo till mean ol’ Whitey got here and killed them all. In reality, Indians ran them over cliffs. I’m not condemning them, just saying they weren’t little angels.

  50. Peter Nimitz is skeptical too.

    • Replies: @Anon
  51. Anonymous[313] • Disclaimer says:

    Something similar seems to have happened in the Arctic, but more recently. The people who live there now (the Inuit) are not the same as the people who were there a thousand years ago in Viking times. Nobody knows what happened to the older group.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  52. Anonymous[405] • Disclaimer says:

    The standard explanation for the survival of large animals in Africa is that they co-evolved with humans and so are instinctively hostile to them (us). African animals tend to be mean or skittish. They don’t tolerate the presence of humans.

    Outside of Africa, humans (being small and harmless-looking) could walk right up to the beasts without provoking a reaction. (It would have been like killing giant dodo birds.)

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Old Prude
  53. JMcG says:

    The conventional wisdom is that megafauna co-evolved with humans in Africa and so humans never achieved dominance, at least until the advent of the AK47. In the new world, man was novel and animals hadn’t worked out defenses against the threat posed by humankind.

  54. dearieme says:

    Yeah, but they are not homo sapiens.

    • Replies: @Trelane
  55. Old Prude says:
    @The Only Catholic Unionist

    Same place Kennewick man has been for awhile: Buried in the mud by order of a Federal judge at the behest of the redskins, afraid science was going to ruin their grievance racket.

    The Indians better get some pro-bono lawyers to help them find a judge (that crazy Asian judge in Colorado, perhaps) who will order the Army Corps of Engineers to run their bulldozers and graders over these footprints.

    • Replies: @greysquirrell
  56. dearieme says:

    The Bantu expansion (are we allowed to call it Bantu Imperialism or Bantu Colonialism?) replaced lots of earlier African hunter-gatherers.

  57. Old Prude says:

    One of my favorites: “Our ancestors only cut dead trees”. Yeah, sure, Tonto. Woodpeckers, flying squirrels and fungi have no use for a dead tree.

  58. Here we see that old “who was here first” stupidity.

    It doesn’t matter. In Anglo-America, these tribes/peoples had not built any civilization, nor was there any sort of cultural individuality that matters. Those who built a civilization – to them belong the land.

    To call Indian tribes “nations” is absolutely hilarious & imbecile.

    Real nations are only European and east Asian. Putting aside east Asian, Chinese-Confucian civilization, we can say that real peoples emerged only with the Western culture matrix.

    Western culture is: Greco-Roman heritage, Christianity and scientific-rational spirit from the 17th C on. That’s why true contemporary nations are Greeks, Italians, French, English, Irish, Danes, Germans, Swedes, Poles, Russians,…

    In the case of Romance-language speakers (Italian, French, Spanish,..), it is easy- they just preserved their pre-Christian heritage, which is frequently anti-Christian or, simply, different: Tacitus, Horace, Caesar, Seneca, Lucretius, busts of Roman emperors, Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, … and incorporated it in the Christian West of Augustine & others.

    Germanic speaking barbarians (ancestors of contemporary Dutch, Germans, English, Swedes…) had no culture of their own, but they, too, absorbed Horace, Virgil, Suetonius,… and then started to create their own culture within the Western Christian context.

    Eastern Christianity of Greeks had preserved their heritage of Homer, Plato, Athenian tragedians, Pindar, Herodotus, various sculptures … and then disseminated it to Russians and other Eastern Christians, who had been building upon that same heritage, from Plato & Aeschylus to early Church fathers.

    These are real nations.

    On the other hand, there are no real nations even in the high culture of Islam. Pre-Islamic Arab writing exists, but it is marginal. Most Islamized peoples didn’t have any culture worth mentioning, similar to ancestors of modern English, Russians or Germans. But, unlike them, they didn’t have any Homer or Virgil or Tacitus to absorb & build upon. In the case of Persian high culture, only in Shahnameh is pre-Islamic Iranian culture somehow preserved, but more than 1000 years, perhaps closer to 1500 years of Iranian pre-Islamic culture was either destroyed or forgotten. The root Iranians, Zoroastrians & perhaps Manichaeans, have been persecuted & their cultural heritage annihilated, as much as possible.

    That’s why there are no “real” nations in the Islamic, unlike Christian world.

    And that’s why it is silly to call nations various tribes in the Americas, Africa, Australia, Polynesia etc.

    • Thanks: Old Prude
    • Replies: @Joseph Doaks
  59. Old Prude says:

    Only the railroad and smokeless powder and immigration-fueled population growth threatened the buffalo and deer herds of North America with extinction. To think a scattering of humans armed with stone-tipped spears wiped out ALL the large animals on two continents is laughable.

    Correlation is not causation.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Rob
    , @WJ
  60. @Old Prude

    The vast numbers of bison when the white man arrived were likely not due natural balances but due to the Indians wiping out all the competing megafauna, allowing buffalo to explode in vast numbers.

  61. songbird says:

    Would that he before wolves? Or can we not date their arrival that clearly?

  62. If the Polynesians were able to make it to Easter Island it’s conceivable that Moana and Maui made it to Chile or Equador.

    • Agree: james wilson
  63. @Steve Sailer

    If native Americans (Paleolithic Asian Americans) had learned to domesticate horses rather than eat them the Bison would have undergone pressure too. Nonetheless, the Bison was in danger east of the Mississippi when the Spanish arrived.

  64. Anon[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Peter Nimitz is skeptical too.

    Should we listen to Peter Nimitz? Is he a credible authority?

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  65. anonymous[237] • Disclaimer says:

    Outside of Africa, humans (being small and harmless-looking) could walk right up to the beasts without provoking a reaction.

    Citation needed.

    • Agree: Old Prude
  66. Anon[429] • Disclaimer says:

    Well, there’s this:

    Working out how and when America was colonised is made harder by a lack of genetic data from the US. The absence is the result of tensions between native groups and the scientists who want to study them.

    So there is a paucity of data. David Reich’s group tried to navigate this problem, however, and in results that postdate your citation they found:

    To get a clearer picture of the settlement patterns, David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston and his colleagues compared DNA from 52 Native American populations across Canada, Greenland and Central and Southern America, focusing on variations called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in protein-coding and non-coding regions across the genome. They also examined DNA from populations in Siberia, where Native Americans are thought to have originated. Unlike mitochondrial or Y-chromosome sequencing, which trace the history of a single male or female ancestor, SNP analysis paints a broader picture of ancestry.

    “What’s striking is that populations from the northern parts of Canada to the southern parts of South America are consistent with descending from a single stream of migration from Asia,” says Reich. These migrants were probably the first Americans.

    But that’s not the whole story. The SNP analysis also shows there were two further waves of Asian migration, whose populations interbred with the original settlers. Speakers of Eskimo-Aleut languages, found in the Aleutian Islands and Greenland, inherit almost half their genes from the second wave, while the Na-Dene-speaking Chipewyan in central Canada inherit around a tenth of their genes from a third wave – although all groups can claim to have “first American” DNA (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature11258).

    I love the “all groups can claim to have ‘first American’ DNA” ass-covering postscript. Very Reichian.

  67. Couldn’t the assumption be made that these footprints belong to the ancestors of Amerindians?

    When exactly humans crossed from Asia to the Americas is debatable. The below NatGeo link from June 2018 says humans could have arrived here as early as 40,000 B.P.

    This paper, published in 2010 in Current Genomocis and NCBI, says American natives are postulated to have arrived here between 30,000 and 12,000 B.P.

  68. Bill says:

    Why were there all these easily exploited surface deposits of minerals 10,000 years ago, then? Did the earlier civilizations just not feel like mining?

  69. jb says:

    What I don’t understand is how it would be possible for modern humans to show up on a virgin continent and not immediately explode in numbers, to the point where they would be impossible to miss. That’s what seemed to happen with Clovis, so if other people were there earlier what was wrong with them?

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  70. Muggles says:

    Yes, the story of Siberian-Americans gets more complicated.

    There are tiny but tantalizing clues about other sources of extremely early Western Hemisphere population groups in S. America and even in N. America.

    Hypothesis is either from Africa or Pacific Islands. Both possible but how many could make it and reproduce successfully? Genetics, disease and even accidents can destroy tiny populations.

    We know pretty conclusively that pre modern humanoids lived in Asia, Africa and Europe but other than in Africa (perhaps) they died out completely. So it is possible a similar occurrence happened elsewhere.

    Super volcanoes and perhaps small asteroid strikes or near atmospheric strikes are often assumed to be responsible for early humanoid extinctions. Fortunately Africa remained hospitable.

    Hunter-gathering was not a very robust lifestyle. Climate changes easily could and did wipe out prior food sources. Now the big “danger” is obesity.

  71. Rob says:

    I recall some site that looked like a, forgot what it was called, a place where animals were butchered in Utah that dated to maybe 100k years ago, before OoA, so they were not “human.” A quick googling did not uncover it, so maybe it was debunked? There were flat stones far from any then-running water. There weee mammoth bones cracked lengthwise, and it looked like the marrow had been scraped out with stone tools. I guess since they did not find bones it’s not official, but c’mon, are you gonna leave geandpa’s body the same place you bet her carcasses?

    Here is a site near Steve’s house a 130k years ago fossil’s near Steve’s house.

    Harry Turtledove wrote a sci fi novel in which homo erecture survived in the Americas, and h sapiens arrived in 1492, right on schedule. I brarly remember the book, not even the title. I assume Columbus realized right of the bat that he was nowhere close to China. Not sure if Turtledove remembered to avoid foods we got in the Colombian Exchange.

  72. Rob says:
    @Old Prude

    Why would there only be “scattered bands” when there’s a lot of game? Infectious disease did not keep native or presumably pre-native numbers in check.

  73. johnmark7 says:

    I’m surprised no here as yet has heard of the Solutrians.

  74. WJ says:
    @Old Prude

    No evolutionary fear of upright hominids with spears. Why would a giant ground sloth fear the Siberian immigrant with a weapon?

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  75. @Anon

    Read his thread and decide for yourself.

    I don’t know much about him other than that he posts thoughtful twitter threads on timely and interesting subjects, and that he is read by others I read.

  76. @jb

    The Vikings showed up on the near-virgin American continent and did not immediately explode in numbers, despite having better farming, metallurgy, domestic animals than any foregoing group.

    • Replies: @jb
    , @Rob
  77. G. Poulin says:

    I’ve seen pictures of the footprints on the moon. Definitely shod. Proving that as long ago as 1969, people had already invented shoes. Who knew?

    • LOL: Joseph Doaks
  78. @Old Prude

    Kennewick Man’s DNA has been genotyped, by the well regarded Danish geneticist Eske Willerslev, at the University of Cophenhagen. The result : he was most closely related to Pacific NorthWest Amerindians.

    “Comparing the genome sequence of Kennewick Man to genome wide data of contemporary human populations across the world clearly shows that Native Americans of today are his closest living relatives. Our study further shows that members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation that belongs to the Claimant Plateau tribes of the Pacific Northwest, who originally claimed him as their ancestor, is one of the groups showing close affinities to Kennewick Man or at least to the population to which he belonged.”

  79. @Stoic_seeker

    Large animals vanished from the North American continent very suddenly, mastedon, camel, dire wolf, saber-tooth, giant bear and deer, horse, less so in Europe, not at all in Africa. Humans did not cause these large animal extenctions. They were experienced in that half of the earth that was either facing the sun during an epic coronal mass ejection causing massive fires, or passing through an oriting belt of schmutz, same result.

    Giving Injuns way too much credit.

    • Thanks: Old Prude
  80. Anon7 says:

    A tragedy. What obviously happened here is that hardy ancestors of today’s Scandinavians trekked over the ice to make it to America.

    Once here, they were so relieved to live in a spacious and temperate new land, that they took off their heavy boots, and ran barefoot with flowers in their yellow hair.

    Then, they were overrun and replaced by wave after wave of violent migrants.

    Somehow, it seems like a familiar story.

  81. Corvinus says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Citation required.

    • Replies: @HA
  82. @Alden

    “Out of Africa” is also used when a thing or people emerged from North Africa.

    A recent Ancient Origins article on the origins of the Abrahamic religions, used Africa in the headline, then specified Egypt in the text.

  83. gcochran says:

    Dinosaur tracks are even older.

  84. Right_On says:
    @Buffalo Joe

    At a later date, most of the Indians in New England died thanks to an epidemic. It was probably caused by Leptospira bacteria, picked up from soil containing infected pee. Rodents from European ships would have contaminated the land.

    It was no problem for white settlers, who always wore boots, but the Injuns went around barefoot. So leather shoes were the Covid masks of their day.

  85. @dearieme

    No citations saved, but I’ve read that the Bushman are the oldest (remaining) line of humans. IQ 60, ditto Abbos and Pygmy. The Abbo trip to Australia is more plausible at 60k, which was the ice-age maximum until 20k equalled that, both putting Australia in sight of several Indonesian lands at many points. The Pygmies too made it to Indonesia, presumably by land at ice-age maximums.
    People really got around, some quite by accident. If Polynesians got to the Easter Islands, and they did, they almost certainly got to SA. Possibly the Soultreans, France to North America, there is even an excavation at a small site in Brazil of negroes 20k past. That distance is “only” 1,800 miles. Our imaginations are limited because we are so far out of touch with normal rules of risk for all the ancients and even of the last century.

  86. @Anon

    I’m completely sick of those fat savages whose most distinctive characteristics are a propensity for diabetes, alcoholism, and bitching. They’re the world’s greatest losers, prehistoric cavemen until 1492.

    They get offended at being called savages, but that’s what they were, and mostly still are. They lived in the wild and had almost no material culture, compared with Asians and Europeans. They had almost no visual art or architecture, no literature, no science, and virtually no music (they never developed harmony, anything but the simplest rhythms, and seem to have only two melodies).

    They deserve no respect. I love to throw trash at their feet and watch them weep.

    OTOH, Native women are very beautiful, maybe the world’s most beautiful, per capita.

  87. Jean Raspail’s semi-historical novel Who Will Remember the People deals with this question. He has it that the real first/native Americans, a slow-witted, small-statured and physically weak race were terrorized and massacred by newly arrived warrior tribes from Siberia, who chased them from North America all the way down to Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost part of South America thousands of years ago. These true first Americans adapted to the freezing, barren climate of Tierra del Fuego as best they could (not very well, barely avoiding starvation on a diet of scavenged whale blubber and shellfish, which they made their women dive for) and are today known as the Alaculuf, or Kawesquar people. Raspail had actually met members of this tribe during his travels to South America, where their child-like simplicity inspired his paternalistic interest. He predicts their extinction is coming soon and laments it.

  88. @Cortes

    “California Current” part of the great gyre that circulates water around global oceans. What Thor Hyerdahl called “highways”. Whereas the uninitiated anthropologist views oceans as static barriers, Hyerdahl set out to prove that the 1 – 3 knot currents actually acted as conveyor belts. Your boat sinks off the North African coast? Just plop yourself down in your rubber raft and hang on for 80 days and you will wash ashore on a Caribbean Island. Same with the Pacific. Japanese fisherman, helplessly adrift when their boat lost power, survived to reach the California coast.

    Water is the limiting factor. Catch some fish to eat, fine. But you absolutely need water or you will die.

    People didn’t get here by walking. They floated. Many people have made the journey by kayak from Alaska to Puget Sound.

    The umiak, traditional traveling skin boat of the eskimos. Big. Seaworthy. Move the whole family.

    • Replies: @Dhklhfhj gjjbbb
  89. Art Deco says:

    Perhaps parts of South Africa where there are still lots of Bushmen? (Are there such parts?)

    Namibia and Botswana, I think.

    The South African Coloureds have a great deal of Khoi-san DNA. Don’t believe South African blacks do.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  90. Trelane says:

    A biped that leaves footprints may not be sapiens but it is hominin or of our tribe.

  91. HA says:

    “Citation required.”

    The first myth they [i.e. Shepherd Krech and others] explode is that of the “natural” Indian who lived in harmony with nature—unlike the greedy Europeans who conquered the continent. Instead, the authors unveil evidence of communal economies that engaged in large-scale burning to “clear” forests and also to kill game. “Controlled” burns by the Indians often got out of control, and without modern fire fighting equipment, flashed through forests, destroying everything in their path. Deer, beaver, and birds of all sorts were already on a trajectory to extinction in some areas, because over and above the hunting done by Indians, natural predators and disasters thinned herds. Isenberg wonders whether the North American bison herd was already falling below replacement levels before white hunters arrived.

    Indians used the tools at their disposal, mostly fire and cunning, to hunt buffalo. “Box burning,” a common tactic,… Charles McKenzie, traveling the plains in 1804, observed entire herds charred from Indian fires. Another favored hunting tactic, the “buffalo jump,” involved luring a herd after an Indian dressed in a buffalo skin. At a full run, the brave led the herd to a cliff, where he leapt to a small ledge while the buffalo careened over the edge to their deaths. Either of these methods led to horrible waste and inefficient use of resources.

    Here’s the Amazon customer reviews of Krech’s book which gives you a range of the heat that book generated by its own self. However, if you want the politicaly correct version of all that — maybe because you don’t have tenure and want to hold on to your job — then try Native American use of fire in ecosystems.

    Given that the “slash-and-burn” Native American segues nicely into the wood industry’s “there hasn’t been pristine wildlife in North American for thousands of years, so stop hating us” spiel, there is yet another take to consider, which is that Native American burns didn’t have much impact at all.

    • Thanks: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @epebble
  92. epebble says:

    There is much inconsistency in that analysis. Most megafauna like mammoth and sabre tooth tigers went extinct in North America around 10,000 years back when the number of humans in North America would be too small and their techniques too primitive to do anything mentioned in that analysis. Most of what is written there happened in the last 1,000 years.

    Most woolly mammoth populations disappeared during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene, alongside most of the Pleistocene megafauna (including the Columbian mammoth). This extinction formed part of the Quaternary extinction event, which began 40,000 years ago and peaked between 14,000 and 11,500 years ago.

    DNA sequencing of remains of two mammoths, one from Siberia 44,800 years BP and one from Wrangel Island 4,300 years BP, indicates two major population crashes: one around 280,000 years ago from which the population recovered, and a second about 12,000 years ago, near the ice age’s end, from which it did not. The Wrangel Island mammoths were isolated for 5000 years by rising post-ice-age sea level, and resultant inbreeding in their small population of about 300 to 1000 individuals led to a 20% to 30% loss of heterozygosity, and a 65% loss in mitochondrial DNA diversity. The population seems to have subsequently been stable, without suffering further significant loss of genetic diversity.


    Along with most of the Pleistocene megafauna, Smilodon became extinct 10,000 years ago in the Quaternary extinction event. Its extinction has been linked to the decline and extinction of large herbivores, which were replaced by smaller and more agile ones like deer.

    • Replies: @HA
  93. jb says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Oh come on. The Viking explorers came in very small numbers from sparsely settled Greenland, and never stood a chance against the well established populations of Skraelings they met in North America. The technological level of the Skraelings was not all that inferior to that of the Vikings, and the Icelandic Sagas make it clear that the Vikings considered them to be capable warriors who stood in the way of colonization. Just look how much trouble they caused later European colonists!

    Indeed, even with their much greater numbers, if it were not for the plagues later Europeans brought with them the Skraelings might have been able to keep their continent, or at least parts of it. But Greenland was on the absolute fringe of Europe, and those plagues never made it from Scandinavia to Iceland to Greenland to Vineland, probably because plagues tend to burn out and disappear when they hit sparse populations.

    OTOH, if the American continent had been totally unpopulated when the Vikings discovered it, I guarantee that within two or three hundred years at most it would have been filled with millions of Vikings. So there’s the mystery: why is there so little trace of pre-Clovis Americans, who presumably did enter a totally unpopulated continent and occupied it for not hundreds but thousands of years, and why does evidence of human presence suddenly become so much easier to find after Clovis?

    • Agree: Gordo
  94. @jb

    It’s curious why there appears to be some, but not much pre-Clovis artifacts.

    The Ice Age climate was nasty in most of North America, but if the pre-Clovis folks got to Brazil, that probably was nice, like maybe France today?

    Maybe most of the pre-Clovis people were fishermen and their campsites are below sea level today?

    • Replies: @jb
  95. jb says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Even if they were fishermen, populations expand, and after thousands of years alone on the continent I would have expected them to have thoroughly colonized all available habitats, including the interior. I have no ideological objection to pre-Clovis, it’s just that I find the sparsity of evidence to be a real puzzle. Even the Australian aborigines had reasonably dense populations where conditions were good!

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  96. @jb

    Right, it’s a conundrum: how do you last 10,000 years without either dying out or taking off in numbers?

    • Replies: @jb
  97. znon says:

    Andaman Islanders and other related people may be the original populations of their areas.

    • Replies: @Bobjeanjesus
  98. roonaldo says:

    Go to where one can find out about the Hueyatlaco site, sometimes referred to as Valsequillo. And Pedra Furada, and Calico, and that site near San Diego dating to about 130,000 years ago, showing human presence. Hueyatlaco gets ya back 250,000 to 450,000 years ago, heavy-hitter scientists did plenty of work there. I first read of it in the mid 1970s. Hell, we knew “Clovis firsters” were a bunch of cranks back then– the fossilized bastards simply were jealous guardians of academic prestige, privilege, and purse strings.

    For ice age insights, get Hapgood’s “Path of the Pole.” For some idea of pole-shifting motive force, the Electric Universe is the ticket. has some neuron busting fun, as does–or you can take the blue pill and get back to regular programming.

  99. RogerL says:

    It seems like some people here have forgotten about race reality, when they are asking “why didn’t this group to this or that”?

    I haven’t seen any analysis of what adds to or subtracts from the vitality of a group of genetically related people. Some groups of people rise into prominence, and others fade away. Why does this happen?

    Even more interesting, for a distinct group to exist in the first place, their ancestors must have had some kind of vitality that pushed them in a specific cultural direction. Then their evolving vitality does some kind of u-turn, and they fade away.

    I’m guessing that ideology helps shape the gene base thru popularizing some behaviors that affects who is more likely to survive and pass on their genes to descendants. Some ideology will encourage genes that strengthen that group, and other ideologies will in a genetic sense, shoot them in the feet.

    I’m finding it very curious that there is little to no discussion about the best ways to strengthen a culture.

    There are thousands of groups of human that have faded into oblivion, and if we were truly intelligent apes, then we would be trying to learn from those cautionary tales, while we still have a chance to do so.

    Lots of intelligent people come to bad ends. What are the behaviors and beliefs, in combination with intelligence, which will sustain a high level of vitality in a culture?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  100. Anon[212] • Disclaimer says:

    Lol if you actually believe Native Americans could have kept this continent or that “plagues” played a principal role in their demise.

    The 40 year old plague myth has been debunked for what, 30 years now? Step in to an Ivy League anthropology forum and spout that plague shit. They’ll laugh you off campus.

    • Replies: @jb
    , @Bobjeanjesus
  101. Old Prude says:

    “Outside of Africa, humans (being small and harmless-looking) could walk right up to the beasts without provoking a reaction. ”

    Balderdash. A horse flees at anything that is unusual: An odd pile of wood, a shiny ballo0n, children on a swing set.

    A few humans with stone-age tools did not kill all the megafauna. It is an absurd proposition. What made those megafauna, sloths, cave bears, mastadons, smiladons, so much stupider than all the animals that have thrived next to more advanced humans for thousands of years until the Industrial Age?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @tr
  102. Old Prude says:

    Straw-Giant Sloth arguement. I’ll grant you the sloth might be an easy meal. How about a dire wolf, or a saber-tooth tiger, or a brontotherium?

    Animals don’t react to the unknown by standing still and staring. If you think so, then get an unbroken Arabian filly and go for a ride. See you in the hospital.

    • Replies: @Yngvar
  103. @Old Prude

    After all, Mauritius is full of dodo birds even today.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  104. Old Prude says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Dodo birds and Sloths are not representative of most animals. Ostriches and mountain lions are. Are we to believe ALL the megafauna was as mal-adapted as an outlier like a dodo bird?

    • Replies: @HA
  105. @ThreeCranes

    That is big and seaworthy? I suppose it could hug the coast, in fair weather, but crossing an ocean with it would be perilous, and you would be very lucky to make it alive.

  106. Traddles says:

    Mandans, Olmecs, Sioux, Mayans, Crow… There was a lot more “diversity” among the American Indians than today’s Diversity commissars would like to admit. Just looking at artwork and photographs of these peoples makes it clear.

    And then there were the mound builders.

  107. jb says:

    Links? In particular regarding the impact of European diseases. You sound like an ignoramus, and I’ll be surprised if you’ve got anything worth reading, but if you do I’m interested.

  108. jb says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Exactly! I have the same problem with Bigfoot, and Megalodon, and the Loch Ness Monster. There is the coelacanth of course, but that isn’t really all that rare, it just lives in a very out-of-the-way habitat. (For that matter the Da Vinci Code “Jesus bloodline” thing has a rather similar problem: after 2000 years, either everybody is a descendant of Jesus or nobody is. It’s mathematically almost impossible to have a “last living descendant” after that much time).

  109. @Bardon Kaldian

    “And that’s why it is silly to call nations various tribes in the Americas, Africa, Australia, Polynesia etc.”

    Not just call them nations, but send ambassadors to tiny islands and admit them to the United Nations!

    I tend to believe that Congress should abrogate all the treaties ever made with the Indian tribes and revoke all their racially based “traditional lifestyle” privileges. Did the “First Peoples” always run casinos and hunt with high powered rifles? Give me a break — they’re just plain citizens like the rest of us.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  110. HA says:

    “There is much inconsistency in that analysis.”

    It does focus on the environment just before Columbus, I’ll give you that. As to inconsistency, that depends on whether any group of humans has ever managed to settle territory without immediately deciding that this thing here needs to be over there, that thing should go a little to the left, and that other thing will simply not do and needs to be wiped out.

    If we’re all as similar as the just-a-biological-construct people would have us believe, then a thousand or ten thousand years is beside the point unless Native American attitudes to the environment somehow shifted along the way, and the inconsistency accusations should probably be directed at those who seem to think that everyone except modern Europeans are able to live in peace and tranquility with their environment, despite the bones of dead moa, Eurasian and barbary lions, and suspiciously vast monocultures of buffalo that suggest otherwise.


    I would also note that neither of your citations absolves humans: “…the sudden disappearance of an apparently stable population [of wooly mammoth] may be more consistent with a catastrophic event, possibly related to climate (such as icing of the snowpack) or a human hunting expedition. The disappearance coincides roughly in time with the first evidence for humans on the island…” and “….Other explanations [for smilodon extinction] include climate change and competition with Homo sapiens (who entered the Americas around the time Smilodon disappeared), or a combination of several factors,…”. That goes as well for the “extinction of large herbivores”, given that the human contribution that that is a matter of ongoing dispute.

  111. Mammoths, dire wolves, camels and other animals

    To me, thise reads as if “dire wolves” are a distinct species.
    Are/were they, or were all wolves dire and since then they dropped their direty?

  112. HA says:
    @Old Prude

    “Are we to believe ALL the megafauna was as mal-adapted as an outlier like a dodo bird?”

    The dodo bird was not maladapted to its environment before humans came. The very fact that it had no predators meant that curiosity and inquisitiveness were not penalized and rather made it more likely that the birds who possessed it would first find the worm or whatever other creature that floated in on the tide. So when sailors arrived, they would lazily go have a look at the newcomers and thereby end up roasting on a spit in the galley.

    To the extent the megafauna were able to survive whatever predators or competitors they had to deal with before humans came, but had no defenses against spears and atlatl and an eagerness to kill just for the chance to gloat over it at the next campfire, then yes, they were mal-adapted in much the same way. I’m not saying that’s how they all died, but I wouldn’t rule out that as a significant contributing factor.

    • Replies: @Anon
  113. @jb

    The Viking explorers came in very small numbers from sparsely settled Greenland

    The Siberian explorers came in very small numbers from sparsely settled Kamchatka.

    The technological level of the Skraelings was not all that inferior to that of the Vikings, and the Icelandic Sagas make it clear that the Vikings considered them to be capable warriors who stood in the way of colonization.

    True, but the Vikings’ cattle and horses should have given them a big advantage. After all, that was the advantage that gave the Indo-Europeans all of Indo-Europe, which was hardly virgin territory.

    Just look how much trouble they caused later European colonists!

    Indeed. The later European colonists weren’t much more advanced technically than the Vikings, and were probably physically weaker. Yet they succeeded … eventually.

    If you look at the casualty rates of early European exploration/colonization missions, they were typically 80%, 90%, even 100%. (Most of the losses weren’t to “Skraelings”, but to disease, starvation, accidents and various kinds of mismanagement.) But somehow, all that attrition wasn’t a deterrent and they just kept throwing more bodies into the projects. Eventually they won and their biggest adversaries became each other.

    So to your original question, “how it would be possible for modern humans to show up on a virgin continent and not immediately explode in numbers”, the answer seems to be that a lot of colonization attempts just don’t succeed, even in virgin territory. Yet a few colonization attempts do succeed, even in non-virgin territory. The only two big ones that ever did well in the Western hemisphere were the Siberian-Clovis one 13k years ago and the Atlanti-European one five hundred years ago.

  114. I may be wrong about this, but it was my understanding that people were migrating across Beringia and into North America DURING the last ice age- meaning 25-30 thousand years ago–not at the end. If so this would mean that there were people in what is now Alaska and Northern Canada during that time. Isn’t it conceivable that some of them may have managed to make their way south? If so, this might account for the date of those footprints, meaning that they made it to what is now New Mexico anywhere between 3 to 8 thousand years after their ancestors made it into North America.

  115. @JkhnPlywood

    all recent migrants from Altai-Sayan region of central Asia, and East Asia.

    This study is “newer” than your link, and has interesting implications.
    Here is another study that adds more controversy.

    As I have said for many years, we know nothing about early human migration. The Maori, who are genetically related to Alaskan coastal tribes, arrived in New Zealand about 800 – 900 years ago. They admit that there were red-headed people and blond people living there when they arrived.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  116. @Steve Sailer

    Bullshit. The vast numbers of buffalo were caused by the massive post-Columbian pandemic that killed off 95% of Indians before they had ever seen a white man. Buffalo numbers pre-Columbus were kept down not by hunting, but by controlled grassland burning. (Read up on the controlled burning practiced by Indians. It was not some ignorant, accidental savage thing. It was deliberate and could arguably be called scientific, or at least advanced agriculture.) With the end of burning, their numbers exploded.

    Incidentally, the second half of the Little Ice Age was caused by the post-Columbian pandemic. Not only the population loss, but the massive reduction in controlled burning.

    • Replies: @Ralph L
    , @Almost Missouri
  117. Anonymous[233] • Disclaimer says:

    Some ideology will encourage genes that strengthen that group

    How does an ideology “encourage” genes?

    I’m finding it very curious that there is little to no discussion about the best ways to strengthen a culture.

    What do you mean by “strengthen a culture”? What do you mean by “culture”?

    • Troll: Gordo
  118. Anon[217] • Disclaimer says:

    The very fact that it had no predators meant that curiosity and inquisitiveness were not penalized and rather made it more likely that the birds who possessed it would first find the worm or whatever other creature that floated in on the tide.

    Could there be an analogy here to Northwestern Europeans? Their lack of exposure to multiple competing tribes (for example, in a higher-population density, urban, or mercantile environment) left then with a curiosity—or at least a naivety—toward sharp-elbowed, even genocidal, self-interested outgroups.

  119. @Bill P

    Or they were closer to the Ainu of Japan, descendants of the Jomon people. These were the lighter skinned, Caucasian looking folks who lived like American Indians until the descendants of the movern Japanese arrived and conquered them. They could have gotten to the Americas by boat, following the coastlines from Hokaido to Alaska and then southward.

    • Replies: @RogerL
  120. People travel… there’s no evidence that any group exist apart from civilization. I’m sure the inhabitants on sentinel island are pirates or exiles. Leif Erikson used to sail to the Americas…one bit of Mexican lore has vikings hanging out with Aztecs…of course…you might have to show solidarity with the natives…skull collections and stuff.

  121. @Anon

    That’s Racist…check your privelige

  122. @znon

    All Indians are the same race I would guess. 🙂 Someone confounded the languages is my guess 🙂 when they were building that tower

  123. Rob says:
    @Almost Missouri

    The Vikings had the Indians to clash with. Pre-Clovis Americans would have had just the animals to contend with. I can believe Andamanese-like highly inbred people did not have the genetic depth to expand very much.

    For any other pre-Clovis theory, that is something that must be explained away.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  124. Ralph L says:

    There were buffalo in the mid 1700’s in piedmont NC when the white man began settling. Perhaps the Indians had suppressed some of the forests before they largely died out. That would have made it easier for the farmers, since much of the clay soil was hardly worth the effort of clearing by hand.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  125. tr says:
    @Old Prude

    a bunny.

    • Thanks: Old Prude
    • Replies: @Old Prude
  126. RogerL says:
    @Hannah Katz

    You have a good point. There is a lot of similarity among the cultures around the rim of the North Pacific, and it seems likely that long-distance cultural exchange contributed to this.

    The cultures on the NW rim of North America all had water craft that were ocean going in good weather. The trick is to keep track of areas sheltered from the open ocean, keep a sharp eye on the weather, and then as soon as it looks ominous, make a fast run for sheltered water.

    For migrations, they could have sent scouts ahead looking for sheltered water. Then when the weather looked good enough, travel to the next area of sheltered water.

    I haven’t thought about it, or heard it mentioned before, but you could get from Japan to Chile this way. While slower than crossing thru the middle of the ocean, it would be far more likely to be successful when using water craft suitable for only for coastal travel.

    • Replies: @Weaver
    , @Weaver
  127. @Joseph Doaks

    Did the “First Peoples” always run casinos and hunt with high powered rifles?

    This has long since been debunked by McInnes & JT:

  128. Anonymous[387] • Disclaimer says:

    According to the first study reported on in your links, as well as other research by Skoglund, it seems that northern Europeans and American Indians are more closely related than are northern and southern Europeans. So…Baltic Sea peoples and Plains Indians closer to each other than either are to Mediterranean Sea peoples…?

    Regarding early human migration, there is disputed but intriguing cultural and genetic evidence suggesting that Jomon-era Japanese made it to Ecuador perhaps as early as 6,000 years ago.

    There is probably lots of yet-to-be-discovered evidence of early human migrations, perhaps some by now extinct types, that will alter our understanding of the past.

    In the meantime, I’m looking forward to chowing down on a grand American Thanksgiving feast come November. I’ll be serving turkey with cornmeal stuffing, green beans, lima beans, pinto beans, fresh and stewed tomatoes, wild rice, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, candied sweet potatoes, grits, corn bread, and, for desert, pumpkin pie. Some of the menfolks will relax afterwards with a pipe of choice tobacco. All courtesy of those red-skinned hair-lifters who greeted their distant European cousins when they arrived on these shores after their long separation.

  129. @Ralph L

    Of course they did. The whole east coast was full of burnt over lands. West Massachusetts. South Central PA. And best of all–know why Buffalo New York is called Buffalo? Because there were buffalo there, because the pre-Columbian Indians burnt a tree-free corridor from the Ohio prairie all the way up to Niagara Falls.

    Moreover, did you know. Before Jamestown settlers introduced earthworms to the pristine American wilderness, forest floors used to be covered with a layer of fallen leaves 3, 4, 5 feet deep. Why, you ask? Because earthworms eat leaves. No earthworms, leaves pile up.

    The Indians used to burn away this leafy understory regularly. They were almost a sentient part of the ecology.

  130. @Steve Sailer

    “What was initially perceived by colonists as “untouched, pristine” wilderness in North America was actually the cumulative result of those occasional managed fires creating an intentional mosaic of grasslands and forests across North America, sustained and managed by the original Peoples of the landbase.”

  131. Yngvar says:
    @Old Prude

    Animals don’t react to the unknown by standing still and staring.

    In Antarctica, when cats from research stations visit the locals for a snack, the penguins typically stand and stare as a buddy gets killed and eaten. The danger is unknown.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  132. DLR says:
    @El Dato

    Suggest you view the work of Ben Davidson at, especially his Earth Catastrophe Cycle series on YouTube. The evidence is overwhelming that every 12,500 years the earth
    flips 90% and back again 12,500 years later. The near-extinction event is triggered possibly by our sun having a micro nova, which may be triggered by the galactic current sheet which our solar system is now entering. Y’all should be preparing for a pre-industrial existence, as in before the widespread use of electricity to power our civilization.

  133. Anonymous[143] • Disclaimer says:

    The sabertoothed cats were probably the only predators these large animals had. These cats would jump on the back of their prey and use their long canines to break its neck, causing instant paralysis. Very dangerous though. If the cat fell off, it would be swiftly trampled/tossed/gored to death.

  134. @Rob

    How do you measure “genetic depth”?

  135. @obwandiyag

    Why would people who hunted buffalo want to keep the keep down the number of buffalo?

    • Agree: Old Prude
    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  136. Old Prude says:

    Now, imagine what the reaction to a War Elephant would be.

  137. Old Prude says:

    Alright, you guys win; If all the mega-fauna were giant sloths and small flightless birds who had never encountered a land predator, then yes: Some cave men with pointy sticks could possibly exterminate two continents’ worth of mega-fauna.

    • Replies: @HA
  138. HA says:
    @Old Prude

    “Some cave men with pointy sticks could possibly exterminate two continents’ worth of mega-fauna.”

    They likely didn’t help much, that’s pretty certain. And the moa were not in any way “small”, yet they, too, were wiped out much like the dodo. And there is little in the way of megafauna in Europe or Northern Asia either, so to the extent a bunch of their residents managed to spill over into another continent, well, you do the math:

    In Southeast Europe, the lion inhabited part of the Balkan Peninsula, up to Hungary and Ukraine during the Neolithic period. It survived in Bulgaria until the 4th or 3rd century BC. Around 1000 BC, it became extinct in the Peloponnese.It disappeared from Macedonia around the first century AD, from Western Thrace not before the 2nd century AD and from Thessaly possibly in the 4th century AD; Themistius regretted that no more lions could be furnished for beast-shows.

    Over in Africa, killing a lion with one pointed stick is (or was) a rite of passage for but a single Masai warrior. A tribe of such men would be a ready match against a wooly mammoth, especially since megafauna tend to be high K and low R creatures. That is, they don’t breed like rabbits, so to the extent you let a bunch of prestige-hunting men go after them, be they Masai warriors or men with serious inadequacy issues like Ernest Hemingway and Donald Trump, Jr., it may well lead to a serious dent in their numbers. To the extent that other stuff is going on, be it ice sheet retreats, or anything else, not to mention any bugs or viruses that the new inhabitants coming in along the Bering strait tracket in, it would make the end quicker.

  139. @Almost Missouri

    You people are so so so fucking simple-minded. Weep for the fate of the nation.

    Read it and weep, dumbbell.

    “Like people everywhere, Indians survived by cleverly exploiting their environment. Europeans tended to manage land by breaking it into fragments for farmers and herders. Indians often worked on such a grand scale that the scope of their ambition can be hard to grasp. They created small plots, as Europeans did (about 1.5 million acres of terraces still exist in the Peruvian Andes), but they also reshaped entire landscapes to suit their purposes. A principal tool was fire, used to keep down underbrush and create the open, grassy conditions favorable for game. Rather than domesticating animals for meat, Indians retooled whole ecosystems to grow bumper crops of elk, deer, and bison. The first white settlers in Ohio found forests as open as English parks—they could drive carriages through the woods. Along the Hudson River the annual fall burning lit up the banks for miles on end; so flashy was the show that the Dutch in New Amsterdam boated upriver to goggle at the blaze like children at fireworks. In North America, Indian torches had their biggest impact on the Midwestern prairie, much or most of which was created and maintained by fire. Millennia of exuberant burning shaped the plains into vast buffalo farms.”

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    , @Weaver
  140. @obwandiyag

    Okay, thanks for replying, but this is the opposite of what you said in your previous comment, to wit:

    Buffalo numbers pre-Columbus were kept down not by hunting, but by controlled grassland burning. … With the end of burning, their numbers exploded.

    Yes, burning makes sense to to keep buffalo numbers up, and I think that is widely understood, but that’s not how the previous comment formulated it.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  141. @Almost Missouri

    Buffalo numbers pre-1492 were managed. Managed to an optimum number, neither too small nor too large. When Indians died off from european diseases, buffalo numbers exploded and then plummeted, because when you cut out a predator from an ecological system, the whole thing goes kaflooie. “Loss of range management can trigger a cascade of environmental damage spiraling toward extinctions.”

  142. MEH 0910 says:

  143. Weaver says:

    In Heyerdahl’s Ra Expeditions book, he mentions ocean currents. It was supposedly easy to go from Chile to Easter Island but not from Japan to Chile.

    Heyerdahl p’s book is about whites coming from the Middle East to the Americas. He assumes they’re possibly akin to bearded Norwegians like himself. And maybe that did happen, who knows. His book Kon Tiki was about half-Amerindians possibly taking a Balsa raft to Easter Island.

  144. Weaver says:

    In Heyerdahl’s Ra Expeditions book, he mentions ocean currents. It was supposedly easy to go from Chile to Easter Island but not from Japan to Chile.

    Heyerdahl’s book is about whites coming from the Middle East to the Americas. He assumes they’re possibly akin to bearded Norwegians like himself. And maybe that did happen, who knows. His book Kon Tiki was about half-Amerindians possibly taking a Balsa raft to Easter Island.

  145. Weaver says:

    If Amerindians had continued having more kids, they would have eventually needed a more efficient system and adopted small plot agriculture. It’s a neat article if there’s some truth to it.

    Europe is much smaller than North and South America combined. You’re comparing very large areas. It was only a part of Europe that colonized the Americas. Europeans were numerous and united. And disease.

    The US seems to be becoming a mix of all the world, including Amerindians. So, do you win?

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