Friday, August 25, 2017

The Case Against Humans In California 130,000 Years Ago

In April, I reported on an article in Nature claiming evidence of a human presence in California around 130,000 years ago. Here is a rebuttal:
In a controversial study published in Nature, Holen et al. (2017) claim that hominins fractured mastodon bones and teeth with stone cobbles in California ∼130,000 years ago. Their claim implies a human colonization of the New World more than 110,000 years earlier than the oldest widely accepted archaeological sites in the Americas. It is also at odds with genetic and fossil evidence for the dispersal of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) out of Africa and around the world. 
Recognizing the incompatibility of their claim with extant knowledge, the authors suggest that the Cerutti Mastodon locality might have been created by an as-yet unidentified archaic hominin, for which no fossil, archaeological, or genomic evidence currently exists in northeast Asia or the Americas. 
We assess Holen et al.’s (2017) supporting evidence and argue that such extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which their paper and supporting materials fail to provide.
Todd J. Braje, et al., "Were Hominins in California ∼130,000 Years Ago?" 3 PaleoAmerica 200-202 (July 17, 2017)

The rebuttal paper largely appears to recap the points that I made in my post at the time, but it is closed access, so it isn't easy to tell.

1 comment:

Jaap said...

Not much of a rebuttal, is it? Looks like a dismissal, rather. Just a reiteration of the old worn paragigms, which fully deserve to be stood on their heads. Surely there are some issues with this find (e.g absence of cutmarks: Andy White). But the find stands. And not quite alone either! High time to start looking for more ...