What should we infer from a much older migration to the New World?

This news is important in its own right:

Surprisingly old stone points found in a Mexican cave are the latest intriguing discovery among many to raise questions about when humans really arrived in the Americas.

For most of the 20th century archaeologists generally agreed that humans who had crossed the Beringia land bridge from Siberia to North America only ventured further into the continent only when retreating ice sheets opened a migration corridor, about 13,000 years ago. But a few decades ago, researchers began discovering sites across the Americas that were older, pushing back the first Americans’ arrival by a few thousand years. Now, the authors of a new study at Mexico’s Chiquihuite cave suggest that human history in the Americas may be twice that long. Put forth by Ciprian Ardelean, an archaeologist at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas (Mexico), and his colleagues, the new paper suggests people were living in central Mexico at least 26,500 years ago.

Ardelean’s work was published in Nature and paired with another study that presented a broader look at 42 known early human sites across North America from the Bering Strait to Virginia. Data from those sites were used to model a much earlier peopling of the Americas, and help scientists reimagine not only when but how the first people reached and populated the New World. The model features a number of archaeological sites, including Chiquihuite cave, which are intriguing but controversial enough, as experts disagree whether the sites actually evidence human occupation.

Here is the Smithsonian article.  Of course I also wonder what is the rational Bayesian update?  That it takes longer to build a civilization than we had thought?  That people are more mobile than we had thought?  How much mobility precedes civilization?  All seem to be true.  Perhaps the truly scarce input in human history is “conceptual categories, understood properly in the relevant context.”  If those categories are very difficult to come by, it would help explain why the flowering of civilizations indeed did not follow immediately from these migrations, or indeed from the origin of mankind.  So this is partly a victory for Paul Romer’s theories, noting that the necessity of context may mean these ideas are not pure public goods in any simple sense.  You can’t just drop into Mexico, circa B.C. 3000 and bark out “here’s what the Mayans and Aztecs did!”.  Arguably the context as the scarce part is more important than the idea proper.

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Surely the more appropriate and apt question to ask is who exactly did the Clovis people steal the land from? Whoever they were, they were truly the native-est of native americans, the true first nations. I want to get to the root of Americas colonized past by discovering the first true colonizers...don't give me this Mississippian b.s., we all know they clearer displaced early Mandan and Arikara linguistic cohorts.

Nothing makes me madder than Clovis people. They cross that land bridge and come over here with their superior flint napping technology and the next thing you know we were living on reservations!

It is interesting how a minuscule armed conflict from 10,000 years deep into prehistory gets spun into a nationalist fury, either for American Indians who see themselves in a dismally long line of oppression and genocide, or for American Jingoists who can "what about" and somehow absolve themselves of responsibility for the destruction of indigenous culture.

"American Jingoists who can "what about" and somehow absolve themselves of responsibility for the destruction of indigenous culture"

-1 for holding the great grand children responsible for the sins of their great grand parents

No one alive today was involved in the destruction of indigenous culture" from 140+ years ago. No one alive today is responsible for the destruction of indigenous culture. The idea that you should transfer responsibility through 4+ generations of people is silly.

Well God is still punishing us for Eve eating that apple...so if the creator of the Universe can hold a grudge, why can't we!!?

+1, ABC 's belief system is reminiscent of the Old Testament point of view, before the wishy washy hippy attitude of Jesus and forgiveness that cropped up a couple of millenia ago.

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-1, for not understanding the dogma of original sin. The sin is a state of being, we are sinful because we are born with a proclivity to sin, it is in our nature. God's wrath against the unrepentant sinner is because of the individual's actions.

So God’s wrath is because of our nature which God gave us?

Now don't spoil it all with your pert questions.

You could end up burned at the stake.

Wait, I thought Christian theology was all logical and consistent?

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Not a Christian, but the standard rejoinder is that humans are endowed with a partly divine nature that give them free will. Hence the lion is not held responsible for eating the sheep, but humans are held responsible for their sins.

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This comment was so predictable. Please find a hobby, the culture wars are eating your brain

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JWatt, I am concerned you are letting "responsible" do a lot of work and eliding.

No one thinks people today are criminally or morally liable for murders committed by other people, now or in the past, unless you are otherwise legally or morally deemed to have contributed to the murder.

Those are the easy cases and not disputed--well, maybe they are but by a fringe that is not convincing others.

Bu the assertion that there is some obligation for people today for the acts of the past is more nuanced than that.

Rather than "responsible", how about causation? I don't think it is a difficult argument to see that the economic and social conditions of a variety of groups today have been severely impacted by the actions of the past. Assets have been stripped away, different laws were applied, the same laws were applied differently, social connections were denied. These acts, and the lack of adequate legal redress at the time, were causally related to the initial crimes against these groups. The effects and treatment carried forward. Black GIs after WW II and the Korean War were not allowed to use the GI Bill, sometimes just bald-facedly by bank refusal, and other times by refusal of brokers to sell housing in 'white' neighborhoods. This fact alone accounts for a material portion of the asset gap between whites and blacks. Native tribes were murdered and lands taken in the early 20th Century when oil was discovered on their treaty lands. This goes on and on, all the way to the present day, in forms legal and informal.

What is the obligation of society for these acts? Everyone that did not have assets taken, everyone who got an easier deal because competition was lessened by lack of other sources of capital and entrepreneurship, everyone who got more 'virtue signalling' from a better college because other competitors for positions were eliminated---we could go on and on. Everyone not subject to the wrongful acts and their cascading effects has acceded to advantages not earned.

And while for us the amount of advantage may be small in most every case, the other side's detriment is not small.

So, while I would not say responsible, its because making the test one of responsibility avoids the issue. What does a society owe to its members it has put in this position, that it expects to operate by rules that assume there was not a societally caused and sanctioned unfairness?

Society has the obligation to provide opportunity on equal terms to everybody. People will start in different positions but enough privileged people will piss away their advantages that there will be lots of opportunities to move up. Then no need or obligation to give some people special advantages because their ancestors were treated poorly.

"Then no need or obligation to give some people special advantages because their ancestors were treated poorly."

It is precisely this very thing that represents the "opportunity to move up" - specifically without having to do any work - that is the impetus for the need to bear grievance. 'Affirmative action' is entirely based on this principle and this alone, not merit or the ability of the 'privileged' to "piss away their advantage". It is the ability to make use of affirmative action and to use historical grievance that is the privilege, not the other way around.

There is zero unfairness. None. The ability to succeed or fail for large numbers is dependent precisely on their ability to maintain their grievance, they have no other redeeming quality enabling them to seize these 'advantages'.

As it is commonly referred to, it is a bigotry of low expectations, one they are rewarded for maintaining.

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Is the poor treatment effect only in the past? Is there a difference between chance induced differences and poor treatment induced differences? Opportunities may abound (I might debate that but won't here), but the opportunities available and the extent to which you can take advantage of them are dependent on where you are.

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I don't think it is a difficult argument to see that the economic and social conditions of a variety of groups today have been severely impacted by the actions of the past.

Except, of course, that without those actions, those groups today would not exist.

Oh, sure, it is true that a group called "Cherokees" would exist today if there had been no Trail of Tears, but it's fairly trivial biology that the counterfactual group would have exactly zero membership overlap with the group called "Cherokees" that is alive today. Due to the sensitivity and variety in spermatozoa, the first generation of people conceived after the start of the forced migration were all, at best, the siblings of persons who would have been born without it. Now, existing Cherokees are at best a quite distant cousin of the persons who would have existed had there been no Trail of Tears.

As no Cherokee alive today would exist but for the Trail of Tears, every Cherokee alive today has a single massive advantage as a result of the Trail of Tears; existing. It is only by ignoring this, by substituting the abstraction of the group "Cherokees" for the actual individuals who gained an advantage or a detriment, that one can possibly invent the idea that any currently-living person was detrimentally affected in any way by the Trail of Tears.

The same applies to any person whose ancestors were affected by any crime before they themselves were conceived; they simply would not exist if it weren't for the crime. The crime accordingly was not a detriment to that individual; it gave them the advantage of existing. The only injury someone who did not exist at the time of the crime can claim is the fact that they exist. And the only remedy for existence is non-existence.

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"There is no such thing as society." Margaret Thatcher

But if you want to play that game, virtually everyone has a claim of some ancestor being maltreated that may have had a negative impact.

On the positive side of the ledger, your comparison point assumes that but for slavery and discrimination blacks would have lived in the U.S. and performed comparably to whites. However, without slavery it is unlikely that there would have been a large black population in the U.S. at all. So the relevant point of comparison is arguably Africa or Liberia today, which shows the enormous "unearned" advantages that blacks enjoy being in contact with a "superior people" (Frederick Douglass's term) that are omitted from your accounting.

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+1, I don't think this early occupation happened, but it is depressing to see USians who have some kind of complex about how the US came to be established sort of trying to immediately manhandle the science and narrative into how Native American groups are "just as bad" at replacing former peoples (worse still those like the "Solutrean Hypothesis" proponent below).

You're not going to get to the truth with this sort of Politically Correct manhandling of data and facts to form a particular narrative.

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Not surprisingly you have it exactly wrong. The Clovis point immigrants may well be the first people (first nation) in the America's. It was all of the subsequent immigrants who pushed them off the land and killed them. One other uncomfortable fact is that the Clovis point design traces back to ancient cultures in Europe not Asia. It is likely the first "nation" in the new world was from Europe and the "colonizers" who murdered and pushed them out of their lands were from Asia.

I'm sorry OneGuy, but that method of thinking does not comport with the narrative. The NYT and their style-book are the only correct source regarding those with any status, and what that status is, on the victimization hierarchy.

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Younger Dryas event 12,800 years ago wiped out Clovis along with most large animals. Set North America civilization back to nothing. Refilled from Asia and whoever survived.....

I always look at a temperature chart like that and it puts our current "global warming crisis" into perspective.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/19/the-intriguing-problem-of-the-younger-dryaswhat-does-it-mean-and-what-caused-it/

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The Younger Dryas event didn't put any glaciers in New Mexico.

Comet or meteor strike, not Younger Dryas, was the extinction event, Google this. And lack of patents was cause of retarded civilization.

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huh? More and more evidence piling up on an impact event that killed off Clovis and all large animals in North America and even impacted civilizations all around the planet. Check recent articles on Syria and Anartica

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Wrong.

"Using demographic modelling, we infer that the Ancient Beringian population and ancestors of other Native Americans descended from a single founding population that initially split from East Asians around 36 ± 1.5 ka, with gene flow persisting until around 25 ± 1.1 ka. Gene flow from ancient north Eurasians into all Native Americans took place 25–20 ka, with Ancient Beringians branching off around 22–18.1 ka. "

They split off from East Asians, then mixed with ancient North Eurasians, then a subpopulation of Siberians.

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25173

After the multiple fiascos of demographic/genetic/linguistic chronological models published in Nature and Science (for example the multiple papers of Gray-Atkinson and collaborators), anyone who changes significantly his priors in view of such a new article shows how superficial his view of the subject is.

Please adopt the scientific attitude. If you cannot explain in your own words how the "demographic modeling" gives you a date of about 36ka,
disregard it until you do, even though it is published in a journal that you have been trained to find prestigious.

The archeological discoveries are more interesting, and deserve to be scrutinized with great attention.

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That statement refers to the population of Beringia, NOT to Native Americans. If you had read two sentences further in the Abstract you would have found this: "We show that the basal northern and southern Native American branches, to which all other Native Americans belong, diverged around 17.5–14.6 ka"

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One thing that took me a long time to understand while studying prehistory was just how few people there really were in the world. If you're a hunter-gatherer society, living lives not much more advanced than apes, you're just generally wandering around from place to place and not leaving much of a record of your existence. I'm only until there's a critical mass of population will you bother to create civilization.

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Human beings were quite successful as they were 20k years ago. It's not a small thing to span the globe with tribal organization and stone age technology.

As far as whether civilization will serve the species as well and as long, it's too soon to tell.

Note that the first tribal stone age hunters had a lot of big, dumb, slow, tasty animals to feast on.

They ate the giant sloths and then had all the avocados to themselves.

Man stopped evolving after the discovery of avocado toast.

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Thousands of animals species have managed to span the globe with less than stone age technology. Not really much of an achievement.

And before animals bacteria did it.

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Any of them living in the Kalahari desert and also on permafrost in Alaska?

Indeed, the way that some species -- or genera -- have spread around the globe is impressive, e.g. small cats (genus felis) were found wild from the southern tip of Africa to Siberia and northern Europe.

But no single cat species was able to achieve that, there were different cat species in those environments. Whereas a single human species has made it's home in that range of environments and more.

But that single human species wiped out or displaced other hominid species that had previously migrated everywhere from Northwestern Europe to Java. I suppose what make homo sapiens unique is that we managed to cover most of the world in tens of thousands of years instead of hundreds of thousands of years, which meant there was less time for speciation to occur, as it did for past migrations of hominids.

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"Human beings were quite successful as they were 20k years ago. "

+1, Are ancestors were bad mo-fo's that fought saber tooth tigers, prehistoric bears and lions to a draw and expanded across the entire planet during a severe ice age.

The human race as a whole did okay, but individuals probably not so much. You were reproducing by the time you're maybe 12 or 13, by the time you were in your twenties you were in all likelihood debilitated by injury, disease, attacked by animals or other humans, or just plain dead. I wouldn't consider it quality time.

Bad, but not that bad:

"about a quarter of Neanderthals and early humans that Trinkaus found lived into their 40s"

https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/short-lived-hardlyneanderthals-matched-early-humans-lifespan

https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/short-lived-hardlyneanderthals-matched-early-humans-lifespan

How many of them were killed by fellow humans?

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+1, most of the evidence I've read backs up what anonymous quoted. The average early human that reached age 20 had a life expectancy of another 20+ years.

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I doubt many males were reproducing by 12 or 13

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No, puberty was later then, probably for nutritional reasons. While there was less total living, they spent far less of their lives working. In this way it was vastly better.

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Let's go full Hegelian and say that you need outside forces to change. If your homogeneous population has enough room to grow for the next 10,000 years without the need to settle down and farm, there's nothing to argue about. If there's nothing to argue about, nothing changes.

I suspect that this is correct. Necessity is the mother of invention.

That doesn't mean that those homogeneous populations weren't creative. But instead of inventing new technologies or ways of getting food, they were probably inventing new storytelling techniques, longer epics, new styles of poetry, new musical instruments, new dance styles, and new myths and new religions.

Once you've got enough to eat, what's your next priority? To have something interesting to do, or sing along to.

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Of course I also wonder what is the rational Bayesian update? That it takes longer to build a civilization than we had thought? That people are more mobile than we had thought? How much mobility precedes civilization?

Mark Moffett, has written a book, The Human Swarm, that speaks to these issues, and I've blogged a series of posts about it. He writes, for example, about fission/fusion societies in humans (and animals as well). These are societies that exist as smaller groups most of the year, but then come together annually to achieve things that individual groups cannot. I discuss this in my first post about the book, Reading The Human Swarm 1: Hunter-Gatherers and the Plant Trap, where I mention:

Between Mount Eccles and the sea in Victoria, Australia, on a lava plain laid down by a volcano eruption about 30,000 years ago, are the archaeological remains of hundreds of dwellings. The structures cluster in groups of a dozen or so, some so large they are partitioned into apartments. People by the thousands settled across that expanse in these small villages, members of settled tribes that jostled, fought, and forged lasting alliances.

The region around the villages was transformed into a vast, managed landscape, with streams and rivers variously dammed and diverted to create a labyrinthine yet integrated drainage system. The waterways, which extend for kilometers, are ancient, many dating back 8,000 years, with the system reaching its full glory 600 to 800 years ago. The canals were used to harvest wild game–a species of eel–with traps reaching a hundred meters long and constructed in some places of stone walls up to a meter high. The people also carved out artificial wetlands in which the young eels could thrive until they were large enough to eat, and caught the fish in such abundance that the excess could be preserved and stored for the off-season.

Like all the Aborigines elsewhere in Australia, the people at Mount Eccles lacked domesticated food. This entire elaborate infrastructure was the brainchild of hunter-gatherers. And yet the homes look to have been permanent, and some may have been occupied year-round–the descendants of the original residents claim this was so. Indeed, the lesson of the Mount Eccles Aborigines is that, even before societies took up farming, people had the option to reside in what I call a settled hunter-gather society.

He goes on to discuss the plant trap:

Taking to cultivation at all but the smallest scale of simple gardening had another drawback that no early farmer could have predicted: it could ensnare a society in a plant trap. A trap, because the option of going back to hunting and gathering full time faded away once an expanding society committed to agriculture. [...] Yet once a society grew to a huge population, or was packed in tight with other agricultural societies, the numbers of people would be too great to be supported by native foods and starvation would be guaranteed.

I've gathered all my posts about this book into a single PDF: Reading Mark Moffett’s The Human Swarm.

As for, "Perhaps the truly scarce input in human history is “conceptual categories, understood properly in the relevant context.” If those categories are very difficult to come by, it would help explain why the flowering of civilizations indeed did not follow immediately from these migrations, or indeed from the origin of mankind." David Hays and I began, in effect, arguing that starting in 1990.

"Indeed, the lesson of the Mount Eccles Aborigines is that, even before societies took up farming, people had the option to reside in what I call a settled hunter-gather society"

Those waterways and raising of young eels make them sound more like a pastoral society than a hunter-gatherer society: they were raising animals, not just hunting them.

But sedentary hunter-gatherer societies have been known for decades, probably centuries. If they lived in an ecologically rich environment, there was no need to move because their food sources were always there. Schoolchildren have been taught about the local Pacific Northwest coast tribes for decades, and California's coast may have been even richer in food sources (or maybe the weather was just better).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter-gatherer#Habitat_and_population

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If these finds are dated accurately (not a given, need to see more), that does not mean that the people who left these artifacts behind contributed to later Central American cultures. In fact no genetic evidence has yet been found indicating a migration this old.

There is that mysterious Andamanese-esque inheritance that some populations in the depths of Amazonia have. I guess it wouldn't be too surprising if that lineage which was far more widespread before farming could have found its way into the Americas before being displaced.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferraff/2018/11/13/ancient-dna-reveals-yet-more-complicated-histories-in-the-americas/#732801e04d03

This is something I'd previously considered likely to be a spurious result but those tools make it seem more credible.

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That is interesting. More on that here:
https://www.gnxp.com/WordPress/2020/07/23/how-the-amazonians-got-their-australasian/
My knee jerk reaction on this kind of thing is skepticism, especially with that B.S. mammoth stuff in San Diego. But this find is not an order of magnitude like that one.

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So Clovis people wiped them out. Or the genetics is shared with denisovans or some other extinct human subgroup that we havn't identified.

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"Of course I also wonder what is the rational Bayesian update? That it takes longer to build a civilization than we had thought? "

Tyler, why would this have changed by this news update. Humans have been around in their modern form for 100K years. They had plenty of time to build civilizations in Asia well before 26K years ago and yet they didn't. Civilizations rose roughly at around the same time around the world. The first civilizations didn't show up until 5K years ago. There were civilizations in the America's 2K years ago. The 3K difference really doesn't amount to much over the entire 100K year span.

Humans arriving 13K or 26K to the American's didn't have the culture/technology to support a civilization. Around 5K years ago, we developed that ability. It took roughly 2K years to spread around the world.

I don't believe that it magically appeared in various spots around the world at roughly the same time. The more plausible explanation is that those ideas were transferred via microscale human movements (ie traders, explorers, etc). That kind of time scale allows for 10's of thousands of idea transfers, even if the actual transfer rate is very low.

"That people are more mobile than we had thought? How much mobility precedes civilization? All seem to be true"

What level had we thought? Traders, explorers, etc have been recorded throughout recorded history and the myths and legends before that period. Clearly there was plenty of microscale travel. We know that the civilizations throughout the Mediterranean were interacting 4-5K years ago. Traders don't magically appear as soon as a market condition is created. Traders are subsets of the normal microscale travel that starts profiting from a market condition that already existed. The people were moving around.

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I thought there were civilizations in North America like 10,000 years ago which collapsed at some point? Maybe it depends on the definition of civilization?

Uruk is the earliest known city and it dates back 6,500 years ago.

"The city of Uruk, today considered the oldest in the world, was first settled in c. 4500 BCE and walled cities, for defence, were common by 2900 BCE throughout the region. "

I wouldn't rule out earlier civilizations but would give the idea a low probability.

Does it count as a civilization if organized religious centers are constructed? There are some well-developed ritual centers going back 8-10,000 years, possibly more.

Were there permanent human settlements of any significance (say, population of more than 10,000) at these religious centers?

Doubtful, both as to permanent habitation and certainly in that number. Perhaps some semi-permanent habitation. That's a long time for all but the stone structures to last.

OK, people can argue around the edges of what "civilization" means exactly but I think most people would agree the distinguishing characteristics of it are writing, architecture and permanent settlements that are more than just villages. Anarchists won't like this but when you have these, you typically get governments with legal codes, taxes and bureaucrats. Once these things are in place, you then have the possibility of complex scientific and engineering discoveries being preserved for hundreds of years which leads to material progress.

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The usual answer to "why no civilization for the first 90,000 years (or whatever) of humanity?" is that those years prior to the end of the last Ice Age had much more climate variability than the years since. You could build up a culture, settle in where you were, and then WHAM! it was too hot or too cold or too wet or too dry and you had to make a big move and/or change your way of life.

This is why sex and death are essential parts of life - you have to keep throwing those new adapters out there.

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Tyler Cowen is forgetting about the Australian Aborigines, who settled in Australia 50,000 years ago and never built an urban civilization. Even if evidence emerged that pushed back the first migration of humans to the Americas to 50,000 years, it wouldn't change how we view the rise of civilizations.

Unlike the Americas there was a distinct lack of plants in Australia that could form the basis for agriculture-- and no domesticable animals either.

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Not buying.

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The rational Bayesian update is that whenever we find evidence of the "earliest known" [fill in the blank], that we shouldn't conclude that it was the earliest [fill in the blank] to have existed. In other words, don't collapse your uncertainty so much as to when the earliest [fill in the blank] occurred when archaeologists uncover the current earliest known example. The more we keep digging, the more we'll find, and our estimates should become more accurate. The earliest [whatever] can only have happened as early or earlier as the dating on these artifacts.

Unless there was an error in interpreting or dating the existing evidence, so maybe incorporate that uncertainty too. That quote even says, "experts disagree whether the sites actually evidence human occupation." So we need to incorporate the strength of the evidence when updating as well. If this evidence is weak, then maybe our update doesn't change from the prior very much.

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That Julian Jaynes was actually right? I kid, I kid!

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Is it just me, or should that number be 30,000BCE?

Because by 3000BCE, corn was already being cultiivated, having been first domesticated around 9000BCE. And the foundation of Mayan civilization seems to have gotten started around 2000BCE.

Corn makes a big, big difference in civilization capability.

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I'd say it means climate matters a lot. We've only had a stable, agriculture friendly climate about 10,000 years. Vast swaths of human history are lost because the weather wasn't right for planting crops in the same place ten years in a row.

That's the view of one of the authors of the paper:
https://insitome.libsyn.com/peopling-the-americas-32000-years-ago
Humans lived further south within the Americas than previously believed during the Ice Age, but their population was much smaller. When it warmed up, their population exploded and they started killing off megafauna at a higher rate.

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As I understand, the prevailing hypothesis right now is that the Tertiary extinctions of North American megafauna were largely due to overhunting by the Clovis people. If the Americas were inhabited long before that, does that cast doubt on the hypothesis? Did the Chiquihuite people never attain the population, or develop the hunting technology, necessary to exterminate a significant chunk of the local fauna?

Low population is the explanation of one of the authors of the paper.

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Human evolution came from Africa, I hear. Northern Africa has the Mediterranean where humans practiced the art of evolution for a hundred thousand years.

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I've also been wondering how time fits into the human cultural experience. The whiplash from which norms can reach back into the past and which can only be shored up in recent history– from which past actions are convictable under today’s standards to which behaviors ones are to be ignored–is going to require the use of a neck brace.
https://aethelontis.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/messing-with-time/

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I think the correct takeaway is to say that we don't know as much about the past as we like to think. The fossil record is the fossil record, and what we've found in it (so far) isn't all there is to tell.

In other words, don't believe everything the archaeologists have it all figured out.

"don't believe everything the archaeologists say or that they have it all figured out."

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Finds like this make me want to see people excavating sites underwater where the shoreline would have been. Too bad it would take a huge amount of work. Maybe robotics will be able to do it in a couple decades. I presume waterlogged finds would be far more revealing.

That was my main takeaway for the article in the Times a few days ago. We’re looking for clues that have pretty much been washed away.

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Dillehay has hinted that Monte Verde in Chile probably dates to at least 18,500 BP and that it may date to as early as 33,000 BP. If you follow the dates from the oldest sites in the Americas, it appears that North America was initially colonized from the South as the ice retreated from the last glacial maximum. Interestingly some indigenous tribes in Brazil have genetic markers in common with Australian Aborigines. I wouldn't be surprised if the dates continue to get older and older for the peopling of the Americas. My guess is that the use of boats in antiquity is significantly underestimated.

Furthermore, a controversial "butchering" site in California may date to over 100k BP. It also wouldn't surprise me if a non-Sapien hominid fossil is eventually discovered in America. In the known time that H. Erectus was in East Asia animal interchanges have occurred between North America and Asia over Beringia.

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The supposed tools in the Mexican cave site look to some critics like they naturally flaked off the ceiling. I compared them with images of tools from other pre-Clovis sites like Monte Verde, Meadowcroft, and Buttermilk Creek. Those were obviously man made even to a layman, with many chipped facets. The supposed Chiquihuite Cave tools are not in the same category. The Pre-Clovis sites cluster in time over a few millennia. Chiquihuite is just hanging out there alone in time.

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The most obvious answer is that this study is wrong, like so many others have turned out to be. The genetic evidence show very clearly that almost all Native Americans descend from a single founder population less than 15,000 years ago. It is simply not feasible that people were in the Americans 20,000 or 30,000 years ago and left so little evidence of themselves, then disappeared genetically.

Tyler, a little online searching would show you that claims of people in the Americans this long ago go back decades. And yet the Clovis first model still stands.

I think so. This new study has to explain, why there isn't evidence of this earlier group all over the Americas, or conversely why they died out leaving little trace.
The genetic data indicates that the earliest migrants started colonizing the New World between 18,000 and 15,000 years ago

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-first-americans/

That link indicates they believe that the most likely period was 18,000 and 15,000 years ago, but it also says:

"that the ancestors of the Native Americans parted from their kin in their East Asian homeland sometime between 25,000 and 15,000 years ago"

It's possible you had earlier migrations from Eastern Siberia in the earlier time period and later migrations from Eastern Siberia in the later period. They came from the same genetic pool.

It doesn't look like that the DNA evidence rules out earlier migrations. It just rules out migrations from sources outside of Eastern Siberia.

There is the archaeological evidence, the genetic evidence and the ecological evidence ( climate). The current model is that Americans peopled Beringia before the Last Glacial Maximum, but remained locally isolated, until their migration south towards the end of the LGM perhaps 18 k to 15k BP, either through a coastal or inland route.
The 25,000 years ago departure mentioned is compatible with them migrating into Beringia.

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What if earlier migration didn't branch from east asians, but from something like neanderthals or denisovans?

I don't think so. The Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred with some modern humans , but there is no evidence that Native Americans have specifically a greater share of their genomes than say from West Eurasians or Melanesians. There is only one Denisovan site in Southern Siberia and I believe no Neanderthal sites found close to Northern Siberia.
genetically, it's a complicated story of migration that is not easy to summarize. If you are interested here are two excellent papers
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/06/03/1524306113
https://sci-hub.tw/10.1038/s41586-019-1279-z

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Recent discoveries with ancient DNA have revealed that "population replacement" is a FAR more common phenomena than was considered under the "pots not peoples" theory.

Why would conquerors not kill all the men and take the women as wives?

Ummm, women have genes, too.

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Yes.... *but* East Asians are still the most related population to Tianyuan man, who lived there at 40kya. Europeans are the most related population to Upper Paleolithic (post-Oase) populations who lived there at 35kya. A lack of some population continuity over two continents of such vast size, from the first founding population, by a small intrusive population doesn't fit with anything we know about as likely in the record.

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Younger Dryas extinction 12,800 years ago really messed things up. Wiped out Clovis who seemed on their way to a growing civilization. Also wiped out most large animals. Probably explains why oldest human evidence is farther south and not in north as expected. I bet there is a ton of older artifacts buried under water and mud in North America. Sea level rise covered most of it.

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I thought it was pretty well understood that there were multiple waves of migration over the bering strait. The current native population is mostly related to the most recent migration, the Clovis culture. The Clovis culture wiped out the earlier migrations, with some small amount of genetic mixing, much like modern humans wiped out the neanderthals.

Clovis is dated 11,080 ± 40 years before present (BP). Their ancestors may have crossed into the Americas as early as 16000 BP.

This new study says at least at least 26,500 years BP is a big jump and a strong claim
Here is a good review paper:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268149509_The_First_Americans_A_Review_of_the_Evidence_for_the_Late-Pleistocene_Peopling_of_the_Americas

There is a site an hour or so from me that is dated to 16,000 years ago. It is said to have a pre-Clovis layer that was overlooked during the years when artifact hunters could pay to dig there.

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Well are they saying that this site is from Clovis or from some earlier group?

From some earlier group than the Clovis people, crossing into the Americas from Asia even as far back as 33,000 BP, before the last Glacial Maximum.
They have to overcome, the present archaeological evidence, the present genetic evidence and the problem of crossing over around the the last glacial maximum. That's why it's a strong claim.
Skeptics also not the lack of evidence of animal butchering or fire pits in that cave or unusual distribution of object.
I would say it's quite speculative

*Skeptics also note

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Ok, well, I have read about evidence of previous waves of human migration dating back up to 60,000 years. So it's not really "speculative". There's multiple sites with artifacts that are older than Clovis - it's not the first site of it's kind.

Human migrations into the Americas 60,000 years BP is not serious research.
Please post sources to support.

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"That it takes longer to build a civilization than we had thought?"

These primitive hunter gathers, if they existed at all, did not build a civilization.

They lived, built nothing, died out and left nothing.

That's not true at all. They left a cache of knapped stone tools. That's right in the text.

They probably produced a lot of other stuff. How many of these comments are going to be around in 30,000 years?

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They were paleolithics or neolithics, they were incapable of producing metals or objects that require metals for their creation. Very little of the technology of these people could survive even a lifetime, much less thousands of years. Having no way of storing their knowledge and passing it along to future generations, it's impossible for us to know almost anything about them. This entire thread is made up of idle speculation by people who feel compelled to have an opinion without any real information.

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Razib Khan had an interesting post on the papers. Some of the comments are interesting, too.

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There's a good chance these earlier immigrants died out before the next group arrived, and there's a good chance a number of other groups arrived and died off before and after that one. Now that we can extract ancient DNA, though none was found at this site, we know that complete population replacement was surprisingly common in the good old days. With multi-hundred year gaps in habitation, it is impossible too argue one group's arrival led to the older group's departure.

Our host's question about civilization is intriguing, but civilization is a much higher threshold than mere survival. It helps to consider what led to one group's destruction as opposed to another group's survival. The Americas have a lot of north-south range, and if you could walk in, you could walk north or south if the climate changed. Odds are you were walking a lot in those days before agriculture. Was it knowledge of food resources and food processing? Most animals are surprisingly conservative in what they eat. Are humans similarly conservative?

I read one paper arguing that Neanderthals died out because their clothing wasn't designed well enough to deal with ice age cold. Was it button or pin technology? We take the secondary products revolution for granted. Who, in god's name, invented butter, yogurt and cheese? Who convinced people the include these in a regular healthful diet?

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Mesoamerican history book recommendations besides 1491? Thank you

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/990/the-first-americans-by-j-m-adovasio-with-jake-page/9780375757044

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Not sure this New World evidence says anything different about the time-to-build-a-civilization than the contemporaneous experiences in the Old World. Our records of civilizations, there, only reach back to about 5000 before-present.

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There is a theory that a comet hit the Canadian ice sheet about 10,000 BC, causing global disaster. The Younger Dryas period.

It is plausible that humans made an earlier migration to the western hemisphere but were driven into extinction by the disaster. Then the later descendants survived to be Native Americans.

The ice-free corridor is one thing, but it would not have been hard to use canoes to travel the coast from Siberia to parts of America south of the glaciers. Migrations would not have been hard a very long time ago.

Alternatively, there were many migrations, and the later migrations killed of the descendants of the earlier migrations, Today's Native Americans are descendants of mass killers also, and were not the first people. Not very PC point of view.

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The definition of "civilization" might be due for revision if so much of human existence lies outside it.

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We overrate answers and underrate questions.

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