Huddleston Lee Eldridge (
30 Nov 1996 20:09:37 GMT (Ed Conrad) writes:

>Whoever came up with the theory that man arrived in
>North America by crossing the Bering Strait is certainly a prime
>candidate for science's Dunce of the Century Award.

The first man to suggest this possibility was Joseph de Acosta in his
_Historia natural y moral de indias_ in 1589. True, the straits had not
yet been found, but Acosta logically eliminated other routes of entry
and concluded men must have entered America by way of some northern
land connection with Asia, or at a place where the two continents were
narrowly disjoined. Those who gave serious consideration to the
question of man's entry into America generally accepted Acosta's
conclusion by 1700. The puritan [Acosta was a Jesuit] Cotton Mather not
only accepted the Bering crossing but noted reports from explorers of the
region who had observed bi-directional strait crossings in the 17th
century. [Mather, _Magnalia Christiani_ (I probably mispelled that

NOTE: These early proponents of strait crossing worked within the then
prevailing assumption that all human migrations came after [Noah's]
flood. Reason led them to their conclusions.

Lee Huddleston
Dept. of History
Univ. of North Texas