Re: history questions: meat, siberian land bridge, horses in th

J. Clarke (
17 Dec 1996 06:28:00 GMT wrote in article
> On 12/13/96 5:07PM, in message <58sk2s$>, Ethan
> Vishniac <> wrote:
> 1) Isn't there any support for other methods of migrations to America via

> sea-going vessels instead of the well-known and commonly accepted (in
> high-school textbooks anyway) siberian land-bridge theory?
FWIW, the only information I have ever read on that topic, and there was
precious little of it, suggest possible Polynesian landings in South
America or the possibility of a colony of Chinese or other Asians. Both of
these would have been very recent--the Polynesians arrived at Easter Island
around 1680 AD, while the evidence for an Asiatic colony is a similarity in
styles of pottery, and pottery wasn't developed until around 6000BC, by
which time humans had been in the Americas for 32,000 years or so. The
Neanderthals may have been in North America as early as 70,000 BC and Homo
Sapiens arrived around 38,000 BC. FWIW, by the way, Homo Erectus was
cooking venison around 700,000 BC and Homo Neanderthalensis, which came
along later, hunted mammoths--even Australopithecus, 2 million years ago,
was eating meat.

> 2) Weren't horses existant on the American continents prior to the
arrival of
> the Spaniards?

Well, yes and no. If you want to be technical there were also camels,
mammoths, giant sloths, and all sorts of other critters existent on the
American continents prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. The last
mammoth died more than 5000 years ago, part of a remnant population on an
island (I was surprised that their final extinction was that recent, but
supposedly that's what the dating on the remains showed). Those on the
mainland had become extinct (probably hunted out--apparently our ancestors
hadn't discovered wildlife management) long before. As had the camels, and
giant sloths, and horses, which incidentally appear to have evolved in
North America and then somehow or other gotten to Eurasia before their
extinction in North America. The Spaniards arrived on the mainland about
500 years ago. In between, there was a long period, during which all of
recorded history happened, in which there were no horses in the Americas.
Apparently it did not occur to the ancestors of the "Native Americans" that
horses might have some use other than food until they saw the Spaniards
riding them.