Saturday, June 3, 2017

Discovery Channel: Ice Age Columbus

Discovery Channel produced this docu-drama presenting the recently discovered evidence that Europeans of the stone-age Solutrean culture reached eastern North America perhaps 2000 years before Asians (ancestors of "native" Americans) entered North American from the Northwest over the Bering land bridge.  I find the drama they created unlikely, but the scientific evidence is compelling.  It appears that Europeans did in fact reach North America long before "native Americans" did. 

Here's Smithsonian Anthropologist Dr. Dennis Stanford giving a lecture on the same evidence of the prehistoric peopling of America by Solutreans, obtained by studying ancient projectile points and mitochondrial DNA evidence.


FXScouse said...

Very interesting video, thanks.

However, most archaeologists and geneticists do not accept Stanford's claims

Don Matesz said...

Yes, it is true, however science is not settled by consensus, but by data. It is commonly the case in science that new data is rejected by holders of old theories (read Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn).

Unfortunately, the coastline of north America c. 17,000 years ago now lies up to 50 miles off the current shoreline. If there is additional evidence for the Solutrean hypothesis, it is likely much of it is currently underwater.

According to some geneticists, there is genetic evidence that can only be explained by the Solutrean hypothesis:

"Genetic analysis is also keeping the out-of-Europe idea alive.

"One variant of DNA that is inherited only from a mother, called mitochondrial DNA, and is found in many Native Americans has been traced to western Eurasia but is absent from east Eurasia, where Beringia was before the sea covered it, Oppenheimer explained. For the variant, called X2a, to have such a high frequency in Native Americans "it must have got across the Atlantic somehow," he said. The new study "completely ignored this evidence, and only the Solutrean hypothesis explains it.""

I of course am not claiming that the Solutrean hypothesis is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, only that the fact that "most archaeologists and geneticists don't accept Standford's claims" is not in itself evidence that his claims are unworthy of consideration. At the time of Galileo, most astronomers did not accept Galileo's claims! In fact, the bulk of evidence stood against the heliocentric hypothesis and in favor of a motionless earth, and Galileo himself admitted it in his book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. He argued however that the Copernican hypothesis was mathematically superior (i.e. favored reason/theory over evidence).

"To this end I have taken the Copernican side in the discourse, proceeding as with a pure mathematical hypothesis and striving by every artipee to represent it as superior to supposing the earth motionless–not, indeed absolutely, but as against the arguments of some professed Peripatetics."

The debate is covered in-depth in Science in a Free Society by Paul Feyerabend.

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