Friday, April 28, 2017

Reaction to the Holen Paper (130,000 year old mastodon hunting site in California)

Marnie Dunsmore

I noticed in the last few days that a number of scientists and journalists are dismissive of the Holen paper (Link) [130,000 year old mastodon hunting site in California].  Many of the criticisms can be traced back to a handful of extremely vocal Clovis First or Beringia Standstill promoters such as David Meltzer, Don Grayson and Michael Waters.  British Chris Stringer, a proponent of the recent African Origin Hypothesis, is highly cited and retweeted, even when he knows almost nothing about American archaeology.

In my view, this paper was carefully reviewed and has been published in the journal Nature.  It is at least worthy of consideration.  I doubt that in the two days since it has been published, that any of the journalists or scientists voicing deep skepticism about this paper have even had a chance to read it, let alone check into related source material.  I therefore find the deep rejection of this paper by journalists and scientists such as Marc Kissel, Chris Stringer, Lizzie Wade, Kate Wong, Jennifer Raff, Maria Avila-Arcos, and Tom Higham, to be premature.

Marc Kissel, protégé and graduate student of John Hawks, seems to think that non adherents of the now outdated Clovis First Theory belong to the "Preclovis Crowd".  Hmmm, sad to think that Marc is a newly minted professor and will be teaching and supporting the Clovis First Hypothesis at the University of Notre Dame likely for the next fifty years. 

More from Marc.

Says Chris Stringer, poster boy and talking head for British Paleoanthropology, who knows absolutely nothing about North or South American archaeology

Says Lizzie Wade.  Dating of even more Neanderthal and Denisovan ancient DNA is not going to entirely solve the question of the origin of anatomically modern humans.  And about her latest write up in Science Magazine:  it would be a cause for celebration if some of these journalists at Science Magazine could talk to a broader group of scientists.  I myself am a little sick of hearing about what Chris Stringer and Eske Willerslev think.

Yes, Kate Wong talked to 7 skeptical archaeologists, such as David Meltzer, who continues to relentlessly push the Clovis First/Beringia Standstill Theory, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Jennifer Raff, supposed skeptic and native American ancient DNA researcher, retweets Kate Wong.

Tom Higham, professor at Oxford, dismisses the Holen paper.  Yet Tom Higham, a dating specialist, is perfectly happy to be a frequent presenter at the ESHE Conference, which promotes experimental archaeology research similar to the use wear studies presented in the Holen paper.  OK if a site is dated to 100,000+ years in Siberia, but not in the Americas?  Why is that, Tom?  Somehow, in the long periods that Siberia and North America were connected by Beringia in the last 200,000 year, humans somehow read a signpost as they past into Beringia that read "Do not pass Beringia, do not collect $200, go back to jail, go back to Eurasia?"  Right.

Maria Avila-Arcos, recent Stanford graduate, and ancient DNA researcher, retweets Lizzie Wade (who knows nothing about American archaeology)

Maria Avila-Arcos retweets skeptical comment by Chris Stringer (who knows nothing about American archaeology).

Here's Maria Avila-Arcos explaining to a CARTA audience that humans arrived in the Americas 15,000 years ago.  She cites Monte Verde dating as the reason for the date of 15,000 years ago.  Oddly, the date for Monte Verde is 18,500 years ago, not 15,000 years ago, so the date Maria cites is off by 3,500 years.  She's quite emphatic about the 15,000 year old date for entry of humans into the Americas, and doesn't bother to even hint that there are some sites in the Americas that might be older than Monte Verde.

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