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Peopling of the Americas Becomes More Complex

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On 7/22/2015 at 7:34 PM, Xlucine said:

Straight across the pacific without touching all the islands makes no sense - but if they went via alaska, why didn't their genes survive anywhere else?


I think I found the answer.


During the period we're talking about, all of Canada and all of Alaska were both unlive-in-able.  Considerable portions were still under glaciers.


The actual inhabitable parts of North America had different ecosystems than they do now.  A lot more of it was covered in conifers, so what are now the Great Plains was probably more taiga-like, according to ancient pollen records.


So, basically, Alaska and Canada were all Greenland, and Nebraska was Wisconsin.


Probably most of those people in canoes said "nope!" and kept moving until they hit South America, which was the first place that didn't suck.

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Peopling of east asia becomes more complicated



Stone tools put early hominids in China 2.1 million years ago

The discovery suggests hominids left Africa 250,000 years earlier than thought

Members of the human genus, Homo, left Africa far earlier than thought, reaching what’s now central China by around 2.12 million years ago, a new study finds.

Some stone tools unearthed at China’s Shangchen site date to roughly 250,000 years before what was previously the oldest Eurasian evidence of Homo, say geologist Zhaoyu Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou and his colleagues. Toolmakers visited the Chinese spot on and off until as late as 1.26 million years ago, the scientists report online July 12 in Nature. No hominid fossils have been found at Shangchen.

Until now, the Dmanisi site, in the western Asia nation of Georgia, had yielded the oldest hominid remains outside Africa. Homo erectus fossils unearthed at Dmanisi date to between 1.85 million and 1.77 million years ago (SN: 11/16/13, p. 6).


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A site in Texas yields spearheads that may be pre-Clovis types.


I have spoken to an archaeologist who specializes in New World stuff about recent modifications to the Clovis-first hypothesis.


The genetic evidence of modern Amerindians is consistent with the Clovis-first model... mostly.  It certainly looks like a population of Australasian-ish people made it to South America ahead of the Clovis big-game hunters, and later interbred with them.  Also, some populations of Amerindians descend from subsequent migrations to the New World from Asia.


But that doesn't rule out the possibility of even earlier waves of humans making it to the New World during earlier interglacials and failing to leave a mark in the genomes of current populations.  The archaeologist I spoke to said that this possibility cannot be ruled out at this time.  When the glaciers retreated, long-buried soil would have been uncovered.  Lacking much vegetation, this newly-exposed soil would have blown off easily, creating massive dust bowls following the glaciers.  This glacial loess covered much of the continent, and any artifacts of abortive pre-Clovis cultures would mostly be buried under feet of this dust.

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