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July 24, 2003

First Americans???

The headline shouts Date limit set on first Americans, as in no earlier than 18,000 years ago according to genetic evidence. But read more closely and note the qualifications....

Posted by razib at 02:32 PM




I have been asking this question for decades, and I've never even gotten a poor answer. Why is the date of the first humans in the Western Hemisphere so emotionally charged? What the heck is at stake?

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at July 24, 2003 06:23 PM


" Why is the date of the first humans in the Western Hemisphere so emotionally charged? What the heck is at stake?"

I am as mystified as you are. It alters nothing of any consequence, political or otherwise.

Posted by: Juvenal at July 24, 2003 08:02 PM


1) scientific careers are involved, a lot of theories are predicated on Clovis First & its cousins

2) native americans lose moral ground if you push back human habitation to 30,000 years, but genetic evidence does not exist of their lineages...one might argue that this is the result of amerindian & na dene displacement of earlier peoples-which is something moderate native americans don't want to admit. also, fundamentaists reject the whole out-of-asia thesis and assert primal autochthonous standing.

Posted by: razib at July 25, 2003 10:11 AM


"one might argue that this is the result of amerindian & na dene displacement of earlier peoples-which is something moderate native americans don't want to admit. also, fundamentaists reject the whole out-of-asia thesis and assert primal autochthonous standing."

Ah, now that makes sense. On the one hand, you have the Native Americans trying to preserve for themselves the image of noble savages, untainted by the plague of conquest before the coming of the white man. On the other hand, you have the bible thumpers, trying to pretend that the world came into being just as it is a few thousand years ago ...

Posted by: Juvenal at July 25, 2003 02:46 PM