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

Julia E Smith (
16 Dec 1996 17:40:30 GMT

In article <>,
<> wrote:
>Yes! Yes!
>Which brings me back to two earlier questions:
>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?

Depends on which kind of sea-going vessels. I think everyone is
comfortable with the idea that folks were travelling back and forth
between Alaska and Siberia by island hopping for thousands of years, just
like they do today, using small boats powered by humna beings.

If, on the other hand, you mean people sailing "across the ocean blue,"
the evidence is a lot more mixed. If people were travelling, they didn't
have much influence. If they didn't have any influence (there was no
transmittal of culture), who cares whether or not they managed to travel.

If, on the other hand, you are suggesting that the land bridge idea
doesn't make sense, why not? We know that large amounts of land that are
currently under water were exposed during ice ages, when a large amount of
water was tied up in the ice sheets. Likewise, we know that at other
points, the sea level has been higher, and areas that are currently land
were once under water. Moreover, the periods during which a land bridge
was exposed match up well with our current understandings of when people
got to the New World.

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

Well, once upon a time. Horses, along with cattle and most kinds of
camels (llamas and their relatives are the exception), became extinct
around 10,000 years ago. Did humans have anything to do with it? Who

However, the wild herds of the southwest are Spanish horses that ran wild.
Burros are the same. Aztecs who encountered the Spaniards had no idea
what horses were, although their traders travelled widely. Likewise, the
buffalo hunters of the Great Plains were a phenonenon of the 19th century.

Julia Smith
University of Pittsburgh