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Texas Site Pushes Back Known Settlement Date For North America 149

Posted by timothy
from the everything's-older-in-texas dept.
Velcroman1 writes "The discovery of ancient stone tools at an archaeological dig in Texas could push back the presence of humans in North America, perhaps by as much as 2,500 years. The find was located 5 feet below materials left by the well-known Clovis culture, which was once thought to have been the first American settlers around 13,000 years ago. It was 'like finding the Holy Grail,' Waters said in a telephone interview. To find what appears to be a large open-air campsite 'is really gratifying. Lucky and gratifying.'"
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Texas Site Pushes Back Known Settlement Date For North America

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  • Too bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    Too bad the Texas text books state that this is 7000 years before God created the Earth.
    • Re:Too bad (Score:4, Funny)

      by jovius (974690) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:15PM (#35602568)

      Perhaps they found the tools of GOD?!

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        Perhaps they found the tools of GOD?!

        More like BP

      • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:29PM (#35603734) Journal

        The Texas find is interesting, because it's dealing with settlement of North America, but to me the India find in the same article was much more interesting. Acheulian stone tool designs in India at 1.5 million years BC, saying humans migrated out of Africa at least 100,000 years earlier than we thought! That difference is a lot longer than the time modern Cro-Magnons have been around.

        • Those humans would have been Homo Erectus, not Homo Sapiens.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Those humans would have been Homo Erectus, not Homo Sapiens.

            Not necessarily.
            Our knowledge is severely limited. We can NOT say "Homo Erectus did not co-exist with Homo Sapien", all we can say is "we don't have any evidence that they did." Those are not even close to being the same thing, and it's possible that tomorrow we'll find Sapiens from much earlier or Erectus from much later. It's also likely that there were other species which we have not, and probably never will, find direct evidence that they existed.

            • we can say that the fossil record shows that homo Sapiens did not evolve until about 200K years ago.

              so yeah,.... unless you find some Modern human remains that are 1.5 million years old... I'd say that I am correct.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Nah they found the tools of the people who created god

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Frankly, if the Texas Democratic Party can't take the buffoonery of the Texas Republican Party and make votes out of it, then they deserve what they get.

      • Re:Too bad (Score:4, Funny)

        by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:29PM (#35602820)

        Frankly, if the Texas Democratic Party can't take the buffoonery of the Texas Republican Party and make votes out of it, then they deserve what they get.

        They have Democrats in Texas??

        • Re:Too bad (Score:4, Funny)

          by SydShamino (547793) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:33PM (#35602880)

          People live in Austin, yes.

          • by brian1078 (230523)

            People live in Austin, yes.

            you call that living?

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              People live in Austin, yes.

              you call that living?

              outstanding living, as a matter of fact.

              actually, it's the only place in Texas worth living.

              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by meerling (1487879)
                I lived in Austin for a year. The stupidity level was worse than radiation at Chernobyl. Austin is not, in my opinion, a place worth living in.
                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  I lived in Austin for a year. The stupidity level was worse than radiation at Chernobyl. Austin is not, in my opinion, a place worth living in.

                  I lived in Austin for a year and a half. The weather was worse than living at Chernobyl, that's for sure. Other than that, Austin is pretty great if you live within the city limits, and are capable of not talking like a fag when you go outside of them. I'm a big white guy (in spite of having a Mexican surname and two saints for first names) and I can sound like anybody I like so I did just fine no matter where I went in Texas. Austin has numerous incredible advantages including a live music scene that is th

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Remloc (1165839)
            Many parts of Dallas swing Democrat as well. (I live there).

            Of course, most TX Democrats would be considered Independents anywhere but TX or UT.

            • A friend and his wife moved to a town outside of Austin, in part because of the lower cost and because they were told by locals that the town had a liberal population, important since they were coming from San Francisco. Several friends and I (including some people who live in Texas) tried to explain that a Texas liberal and a California liberal (particularly a Bay Area liberal) were not even remotely the same thing. They moved back a year later after deciding that Texas wasn't for them.

          • mini-San Fran is home to many "star children" of Texas.

        • by bpfinn (557273)
          I think I'm the only one. Every election is like a Washington Generals game.
      • by hondo77 (324058)
        Aren't you forgetting about the buffoonery of the elecorate?
        • by blair1q (305137)

          But that's a defining characteristic of electorates. It's why the word "idiot" has the etymology it does.

      • Frankly, if the Texas Democratic Party can't take the buffoonery of the Texas Republican Party and make votes out of it, then they deserve what they get.

        The same can be same about national politics. But Democratic politicians are too stupid and/or gutless to make hay out of it.

        If the typical D politician had half the brains & balls of the typical R politician, this would be a very different country.

    • by zixxt (1547061)
      I for one like Texas text books at least the Texas history books are not racist anymore by way of exclusion. They made American History books include more early and essential Black and Native leaders and figureheads than in past textbooks.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        at least the Texas history books are not racist anymore by way of exclusion

        Yep, now they include both kinds of music: country *and* western.

    • They will state that God created man out of the clay and dust found right here in Texas, which turns out to have been partially prefab.

      Also, "Tornadoes"? Or Breath of life!

    • by fishbowl (7759)

      Is there an actual Earth science textbook that puts forth a young Earth creationism theory? (ISBN please?)

    • Re:Too bad (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OakDragon (885217) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:10PM (#35603460) Journal

      Too bad the Texas text books state that this is 7000 years before God created the Earth.

      Cite?

      • Too bad the Texas text books state that this is 7000 years before God created the Earth.

        Cite?

        You want me to cite a joke?

    • by MoeDumb (1108389)
      Or, too bad their dating methodology is flawed.
    • Have you ever been to Texas? Our textbooks say no such thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    they better not open the Pandorica or the Daleks will really invade this time around.

  • Well, that's sad. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by StefanJ (88986)

    I sign on to make a wise-ass comment about creationism and Texas and find two others beat me too it.

    Either /. commenter creativity has hit a new low, or Texas's reputation is so overpowering that such jokes are inevitable.

  • by snsh (968808) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:17PM (#35602614)
    The Clovis kids were probably just playing a practical joke 10,000 years ago, burying pottery five feet under, to confuse the archaeologists.
  • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:18PM (#35602634) Journal

    So the Clovis culture was one day's easy digging away from being the first archaeologists?

  • Settlements (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HikingStick (878216) <z01riemer.hotmail@com> on Thursday March 24, 2011 @02:27PM (#35602794)
    It's nice to read about a settlement that has nothing to do with a lawsuit.
    • by EkriirkE (1075937)
      With Texas in the same sentence, no less. I was trying to wrap my head around a publicized patent suit so famous it didn't need to be named in the headline.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, I was trying to figure out what web-site in Texas would have the power to push back the legal settlement date of something that affected the entirety of North America.

        God, I am really starting to hate living in this world of lawsuits.

  • "Known settlement date"? What the hell does that even mean? Perhaps "date of first known settlement", but come on. Even if the story is filled with grammatical problems, at LEAST check the headlines before you hit submit.

    • "Known settlement date"? What the hell does that even mean? Perhaps "date of first known settlement", but come on. Even if the story is filled with grammatical problems, at LEAST check the headlines before you hit submit.

      Some site in Texas sued all of North America, and North America is settling. However, the settlement date is being pushed back from the known value.

  • I expected an article about some Texas-based website pushing back the settlement date for some kind of copyright violation class action lawsuit affecting North American users only (at least the known ones).
  • That theory has been long ago discredited. It's amazing that it still decorates US history books - is it because almost no one teaching this subject and the kids learning about it don't care at all?

    Anyway, this finding helps debunking the mantra...

    • Yes, didn't some Europeans boat along the edge of the Atlantic pack ice during the last ice age (pre-Bering strait land bridge) and land in Eastern North America? I thought the found some ceremonial spear points somewhere that matched ones in France, but predated the land bridge migration.
      • Yes, didn't some Europeans boat along the edge of the Atlantic pack ice during the last ice age (pre-Bering strait land bridge) and land in Eastern North America? I thought the found some ceremonial spear points somewhere that matched ones in France, but predated the land bridge migration.

        I don't recall about the spear points, but there is an oddity regarding a population-tracking mutation that occurred in Europe showing up among the native American populations. And just those in the eastern part of North America, IIRC.

    • Please do enlighten us with more recent knowledge. I'm well away from archaeology; the last word I know is Jared Diamond's, which was: even if Clovis culture wasn't the first one in North America, it was the first widespread one, and so predecessors are merely interesting curiosities. Much like L'Anse aux Meadows: it's impressive that the Norse made it that far, but it didn't really go anywhere.
      • Please do enlighten us with more recent knowledge. I'm well away from archaeology; the last word I know is Jared Diamond's, which was: even if Clovis culture wasn't the first one in North America, it was the first widespread one, and so predecessors are merely interesting curiosities. Much like L'Anse aux Meadows: it's impressive that the Norse made it that far, but it didn't really go anywhere.

        The problem is, anomalous dates are found scattered all over the two continents, suggesting that the precursor population wasn't just a minor thing.

        Assuming the anomalous dates are actually correct...

      • by serbanp (139486)

        Hmmm, I'm now reading a nice book named "1491" (see http://www.amazon.com/1491-Revelations-Americas-Before-Columbus/dp/1400032059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8 [amazon.com]). It has quite a few interesting bits of information about the Clovis precedence being challenged more and more, with some sites that seem to be older being located in the South America; if only one of these recent findings will become generally accepted, it will be enough to discard the Northern Passage theory of Siberia migration during the last ice age (whic

    • That theory has been long ago discredited.

      I don't think it has been as thoroughly discredited as you say. (Or maybe I should say, the discrediting isn't broadly enough accepted for you to state it as you did).

      However, a steady sequence of anomalies has popped up, mostly in the past decade or so, so that people who argue for an earlier settlement are no longer dismissed as a lunatic fringe. I suspect there will eventually be a consensus on an earlier settlement, though it's too soon to say what the new mainstream view will state.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:16PM (#35603546) Homepage

    This is getting a lot more hype than it should: Several other sites, as well as genetic studies, have pointed to the existence of pre-Clovis human habitation in North America, and it had long been a working hypothesis for a lot of archaeologists who had been studying early American habitation.

    The only really interesting question is what these tools most resemble: If they look like they're related to a culture not from Siberia, that would be a much bigger deal, since it would suggest migration from Africa or Europe or Polynesia.

  • They found ol' Dinosaur Dan!

    "When y'all gonna let me outta here?"

  • The tools are stamped "Made in China"
    • Funny you should mention that. During the last Ice Age, humans did cross the land-bridge from Asia through Alaska back down through Canada, North and South America. I'm sure many Native American's mitochondrial DNA could be traced back to ancient Chinese decedents.

      • by IrquiM (471313)
        Funny you should mention that - maybe he was making a joke, based on exactly that information and the fact that a lot of the tools currently being used are also made in China?
        • They were just really cheap tools from China that looked like quality tools made in other places.
  • by 517714 (762276) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:12PM (#35604362)

    Bryan/College Station's worst disaster occurred when a small two-seater Cessna 150 plane, piloted by two Texas A&M students, crashed into a cemetery earlier today. Texas A&M volunteers have recovered 300 bodies so far and expect the number to climb as digging continues into the evening. The pilot and copilot survived and are helping in the recovery efforts.

    I know it's old, but it never fails to get the goat of my Aggie buddies.

  • Note that this article was on Fox, along with news of a Bigfoot video from North Carolina and a story on an El Chupacabra found in Kentucky. You know that Rupert Murdock, he checks, rechecks, and checks again to make sure his stories are accurate!
  • I wish they'd post more information on how they dated the tools. It's not that I doubt the science, but the article makes it sounds like they dug 5 feet deeper and found tools, so they must be thousands of years older. I can almost hear Ray Comfort now saying "The Clovis people dug a 5-foot hole and buried their old tools. All these scientists found was an ancient landfill. Now look at this banana..."

    Why does the quality of news articles always have to be so low? Off-topic now but: It's an online publ

    • by Anonymous Coward

      New York Times explains: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/science/25archeo.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

      Given the lack of sufficient organic material buried around the tools, the radiocarbon dating method was useless. Instead, earth scientists at the University of Illinois, Chicago, used a newer technique known as optically stimulated luminescence. This measures light energy trapped in minerals to reveal how long ago the soil was last exposed to sunlight.

      Steven L. Forman, who direc

    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      Wait, are you seriously asking Slashdotters for advice on dating?
  • For a minute I thought this was about some official Texas educational website changing the dates of historical events. And my first reaction was "o, those idiots, are they at it again?".

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