Re: The Anthroplogy of the New World

whittet (
11 Dec 1994 20:48:33 GMT

In article <>, (Gerold Firl) says:
>In article <3bt0iu$> (whittet) writes:
>>I am curious as to whether there is any evidence that man has existed
>>long enough in the new world to evolve any adaptations.
>What are the latest estimates for how long we have been here? Every now and
>then I see claims that man arrived long before the end of the last glacial
>period (~12,000 years ago); what kind of evidence supports such a claim?
>>I would include in this grouping the range of peoples
>>from the Clovis and Folsom, Dorset,Inuit and Thule hunters,
>>to the Tolmec, Olmec, Myan and Aztec agriculturalists,of
>>Mezo America, the South American Maritime cultures
>>and the archaic indians of the Northeast.
>The inuit show clear signs of cold-climate adaptations. The obvious
>indications are their short limbs, but I would expect some metabolic
>changes as a result of their unusual diet, as well. But they didn't arrive
>with the bering migration(s) (there has been more than one, judging by the
>linguistic evidence), but rather have spread throughout the circumpolar
>region using the waterways. The inuit have had longer than 12,000 years to
>adapt to the cold.
So then my next question would be, is there any evidence of these
adaptations showing up somewhere else subsequently; for example do the
adaptations of the inuit show up in the Dorset and Thule as well?

Do they show evidence of this lingustic diffusion throughout their range?
Are there any interpenetrations into their sphere of influence by other
linguistic groups?

If they didn't arrive with the Bering migrations, is there another
mechanism to explain their presence, was there an ongoing and continuing
tendency for people to migrate north? Is it possible that some people
migrated north from the Americas?

Could the route of connection have been farther south than Beringia, along
the islands that ring the Pacific from the South China Sea
to the Aleutians for example.
Do your linguistic groups extend that far south?

>>It would seem at first glance that there are a number of
>>possible differences, related to things like diet, climate,
>>lifestyle, and behavior in general as well as genetics.
>Right. I would suggest the yahgan (coastal dwellers in tierra del fuego,
>now extinct), inhabitants of amazonia such as the yanomamo or jivaro, and
>north american plains indians such as the sioux as examples showing
>typical adaptations. The yahgan were very stocky, able to
>withstand amazing extremes of cold; similar to the eskimo, only to a
>greater degree, since they had virtually no technology to assist them. The
>amazonian indians are analogs of the old world forest pygmies; what is the
>average size of the jivaro, maybe 5' 2" tall, and 135 lb? Typical jungle
>adaptation. And the plains indians were tall and long-limbed; similar to
>the nilo-sudanese physique of africa.
>So yes, I would say that the human residence time in the americas has been
>sufficient to produce biological adaptations.

Are there any indications of interaction between different groups as might
occur among people in the process of spreading out to occupy a continent,
perhaps from different points of origin?

>Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
>me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf