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Did an Exploding Comet Doom Early Americans?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the fire-last-time dept.

Science 89

New Scientist outlines a new theory on the demise of the Clovis people in the southwest US over 10,000 years ago. A group of 25 researchers speculates that a comet exploded over ice-covered Canada 12,900 years ago and triggered a firestorm across North America that not only wiped out the Clovis people but also forced a number of large land mammals into extinciton and kicked off the Younger Dryas climate change. However, geologists are pretty conservative folks, according to the article, and some of them are not buying it.

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Not all gone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19227473)


a comet exploded over ice-covered Canada 12,900 years ago and triggered a firestorm across North America that not only wiped out the Clovis people

It didn't wipe them all out, here's video of a proud decendant. [youtube.com]

Hilarious.

What about the firestorm? (5, Informative)

Podcaster (1098781) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227475)

a comet exploded over ice-covered Canada 12,900 years ago and triggered a firestorm across North America

According to TFA, the firestorm seems to be the most controversial part of their claims. All the dissenting voices in the article made mention of it.

According to the abstracts [agu.org] of the research, it looks like the strongest evidence of a trans-american firestorm is "... a carbon-rich black layer commonly referred to as a black mat, with a basal age of approximately 12.9 ka, ... identified at over 50 sites across North America"

-P

Wow! (0, Redundant)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227635)

"... a carbon-rich black layer commonly referred to as a black mat, with a basal age of approximately 12.9 ka, ... identified at over 50 sites across North America"

Wow! That Firestorm sounds like one Hell of a Shit Storm!

The real reason - early blogs (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228379)

Eventually blogs of the time created such a combustible mix of ideas that literally the air around them exploded in fire. There was no meteor - only Wordpress 0.1.

Re:The real reason - early blogs (1)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 6 years ago | (#19233803)

This gives 'FeedBurner' a whole new perspective! ;-D

Re:What about the firestorm? (1)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 6 years ago | (#19242601)

a carbon-rich black layer commonly referred to as a black mat, with a basal age of approximately 12.9 ka, ... identified at over 50 sites across North America"

...now That's a carbon footprint

LOL What? (2, Funny)

AssCork (769414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227587)

Humans have only existed for 4000 years. What a joke....

Re:LOL What? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19227651)

And besides that the first American, Jesus, only live 2000 years ago.

Re:LOL What? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19227667)

Humans have only existed for 4000 years......

er.... you are being ironic ? please, you are aren't you ?

Re:LOL What? (0, Troll)

ricree (969643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228323)

Look at the guy's posts. Just another troll. Nothing to see here.

Re: LOL What? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228521)

Humans have only existed for 4000 years.
6011, you fubar heretic.

NOT ACCORDING TO XENU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19229195)

75 MILLION YEARS AGO, COME OUT OF THE CLOSET

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Younger Dryas (0, Offtopic)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227657)

According to Wikipedia, the Younger Dryashttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Younger_Dryas [wikipedia.org] was not preceeded by the Older Wetass. It was a short period of time between the Pleistocene and the current Holocene climate eras.

Re:Younger Dryas (4, Funny)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227939)

According to Wikipedia, the Younger Dryashttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Younger_Dryas was not preceeded by the Older Wetass. It was a short period of time between the Pleistocene and the current Holocene climate eras.
So ... when were the Dumas and Smartas periods?

Re:Younger Dryas (3, Funny)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228289)

"So ... when were the Dumas and Smartas periods?"

When FreeRepublic and Fark went online.

The Dumas period was: (2, Funny)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230107)

July 24, 1802 - December 5, 1870, according to Wikipedia.

Don't know about the Smartas period though.

Re:Younger Dryas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19230217)

Those periods must have been very recent, because every schoolkid knows that America (with a capital A) is only 221 years old... Why, we barely celebrated our bicentennial in 1976. If there was really a comet that impacted early America, don't you think the Founding Fathers would have chronicled the event? Sheesh. So much for journalistic integrity.

Re:Younger Dryas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19236643)

If there was really a comet that impacted early America, don't you think the Founding Fathers would have chronicled the event?

Duh... Of course they chronicled it. This is "The Star Spangled Banner" was about. (The "Banner" means to the comet's tail.)

Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner" to commemorate George Washington's great victory on July 4th at the Battle of Lexington, which made possible in no small part when the comet destroyed the main body of the British forces. This finally compelled the Redcoats to give up on the Revolutionary War and evacuate New York.

In Europe, the famous Czechoslovakian composer Tchaikovsky also wrote about this famous event in his classical music symphony, "The 1812 Overture". (Written, of course, in 1812.)

And so every year here in the US, we celebrate the anniversary of this great victory on the Fourth of July, usually with a great fireworks show to remember the comet "bursting in the air".

In England they also also celebrate this day, because they are such good sports, but they actually do it on November 5th, because summer happens at a different time of year over there.

Re:Younger Dryas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19231511)

So ... when were the Dumas and Smartas periods?
Dumas isn't a geological period, it's a geographical location [wikipedia.org] in Arkansas.

Reflected across the world (2, Interesting)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227693)

Now I don't pretent to understand this stuff but if there was a comet large enough to wipe out a people then surely we'd see a reduction in population across the globe due to dust blocking out the sun and such. We'd also be able to see it in the ground, whether it's less plant material or rocks/fossils.

Re:Reflected across the world (4, Informative)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228185)

Do you pretend to RTFA?

The idea is that the comet started fires that wiped out these people. They would not have affected the rest of the globe hugely due to the interfering presence of oceans. Although you would expect the smoke of a burning continent to have an effect.

According to TFA, the suggested impact happened at a time when "35 genera of the continent's mammals went extinct". Would that count as "seeing it in the ground?"

Re:Reflected across the world (3, Funny)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228803)

Are you crazy? No-one on /. RTFA.

Re:Reflected across the world (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 6 years ago | (#19233321)

Nor the summary. I know, I know, "I must be new here."

Re:Reflected across the world (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19228309)

then surely we'd see a reduction in population across the globe due to dust blocking out the sun and such


Maybe you're thinking of the results of a supervolcano? A comet that creates a firestorm that kills/chases off a group of people won't necessarily equate to planet-wide consequences. Strip a large enough area of much of its vegetation (doesn't even have to be all or even most vegetation) and you can kill off lots of animals and people who depend on that vegetation for shelter and food.

They were saved by the Dead Zone (1)

tbcpp (797625) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227697)

Well some of them were. You see this guy named John Smith appeared to one of them and told them to get out of the village.


Either that or I've been watching too much TV lately, hmmm....

Geologists are indeed conservative. (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227787)

Just finished reading "The Map That Changed The World", the story of the discovery of plate tectonics. The reaction from the community was apparently not healthy skepticism but hostility bordering on fanaticism.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (2, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228003)

I remember picking up and looking over a geology text book circa 1950 at a garage sale. It said plate tectonics was full of crap, and said the same about another theory that escapes me. The other theory is also standard belief today. I didn't buy the book.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (5, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228209)

I was going to make the same comment, but you beat me to it. I have a degree in Geology, and I remember my Historical Geology teacher telling us about how when he was in school nearly all of his professors ridiculed the idea of plate tectonics. However (according to him), he dismissed them as fools since the theory seemed to fit in so nicely with the available evidence. Just goes to show that the most important thing you can learn in school is to evaluate the data yourself.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (2, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228375)

Just goes to show that the most important thing you can learn in school is to evaluate the data yourself.


Yes indeed! My math teacher told me that PI is an irrational number; as soon as I am done computing it out to infinity I will know this fact for myself, but until then I am still pretty skeptical.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228421)

I wish you the best of luck with that. Let us know when you get close to finishing...

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19228603)

That is the dumbest comment I've ever seen.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228971)

He said "evaluate the data yourself", not "run off on a fool's errand". Mathematicians didn't conclude that Pi was irrational by trying to compute it's value and getting bored.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229107)

Apparently my cynical unhumorous attempt to stir up a discussion about facts v.s. theories and the questioning thereof has utterly failed. For the record I agree with the grandparent post that sticking with a theory when it no longer fits the available facts isn't conducive to furthering our understanding of how things really work.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229153)

I told my computer to evaluate Pi once, but it got so irrational that it beat the machine up and kicked it downstairs. Which was impressive, as I lived on the ground floor at the time.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

broter (72865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229569)

Funny joke, but pi is provably a transcendental number [wikipedia.org] , which means it's irrational. Transcendental numbers are numbers that aren't the root an any rational polynomial. So, it's a mathematical proof, not a scientific theory. Big difference.

If you care to check for yourself, Johann Heinrich Lambert [wikipedia.org] has a proof of it that I've never read. I hear it's painfully long.

That's the great thing about math: unless it says "conjecture" it's provably true or false.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

broter (72865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229695)

"...: unless it says "conjecture" it's provably true or false."

For instance, that statement I made is totally false. How could I forget about Godel [wikipedia.org] 's theorem?

Oh well, at least I'm making my daily allowance of mistakes.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

asninn (1071320) | more than 6 years ago | (#19233485)

Calculating all the digits is neither necessary nor would it be helpful; here [lrz-muenchen.de] 's a short proof of pi's irrationality, though.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (5, Interesting)

Temkin (112574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228427)



While I was wrapping up my Geology degree in the early 90's, I actually came across a old geezer with tenure at a symposium that kept rambling about granitizing fluids. Thankfully, he wasn't a prof at my school.

It's been said that any major change in the fundamental theories of a field will not be accepted until the old guard dies off. Plate tectonics was one such shift. I figure if we're wrong about global warming, we won't be able to admit it until 2045 or so...

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228543)

It's been said that any major change in the fundamental theories of a field will not be accepted until the old guard dies off.


Maybe something subtle, like a lunch symposia titled "Current Ideas in Granitized Fluids" where you serve poisoned food items would be a good idea now and then?


I figure if we're wrong about global warming, we won't be able to admit it until 2045 or so...


Yeah that would probably be pretty much too late either way.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

Temkin (112574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228705)

Maybe something subtle, like a lunch symposia titled "Current Ideas in Granitized Fluids" where you serve poisoned food items would be a good idea now and then?



Maybe... But I left the field. I was working on groundwater modeling, writing my own software, and there was this Finnish guy that released a free OS with a real VM system... and years of study was suddenly boring... I think that was kernel 0.95a. :-)

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

Demena (966987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19231155)

1945 may have been too late

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19231843)

It'll be cancelled out by an equally baseless prediction of "global cooling" in a few years. I think the only thing that's cyclical is idiocy in blindly believing the random end-of-world scenario du jour.

Weathermen can't accurately predict the weather a few hours out ... what makes anyone think they can predict the temperature years or decades out?

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19234569)

Stop trying to confuse them with rational thought.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (2, Informative)

jlehtira (655619) | more than 6 years ago | (#19236967)

Weathermen can't accurately predict the weather a few hours out ... what makes anyone think they can predict the temperature years or decades out?

The weather a few hours out is about the distribution of mass and energy in our atmosphere.

The temperature decades out is about the total amount of mass and energy in our atmosphere.

You've got to admit that the latter is a much easier problem.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#19239171)

God, you people parroting the same tired, refuted-ad-nauseum arguments OVER and OVER and OVER...

Christ! Make the slightest effort at rational thought, would you? Take a tiny little step towards finding something out for yourself instead of believing every pig-headed thing you hear on the internet that makes you feel good about yourself for being a contrarian.

You want to complain about the "old guard" holding science back?

YOU ARE THE FUCKING OLD GUARD!

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19246771)

Weathermen can't accurately predict the weather a few hours out ... what makes anyone think they can predict the temperature years or decades out?

Whatever you do, don't go into any of the scientific or business fields that rely on statistics. You can probably earn a good living designing web sites, or maybe as a plumber, or something similar, and you'll be a lot more comfortable with that.

Or, accept a short period of intense discomfort and study statistics. Learn the key difference between describing a data point and describing the population to which it belongs.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

dr_labrat (15478) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234471)

granitizing fluids?

Is that Hot grits?

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19244235)

I figure if we're wrong about global warming, we won't be able to admit it until 2045 or so...

There's global warming and human-induced global warming. Don't confuse the two.

Re: Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228471)

I remember my Historical Geology teacher telling us about how when he was in school nearly all of his professors ridiculed the idea of plate tectonics. However (according to him), he dismissed them as fools since the theory seemed to fit in so nicely with the available evidence.
Possibly the perfect example of Kuhn's view that sometimes the Old Guard just has to die off.

But I don't think things are usually that bad. (Am I naive?)

Re: Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228621)

But I don't think things are usually that bad. (Am I naive?)

And now, a news report from 2145: "Researchers have finally established a correlation between advance bookings at cemetaries and the publication of new theories, a new report has said. When asked for comment, three aged critics of the claim were run over by a car registered to a student working for one of the new researchers."

Re: Geologists are indeed conservative. (2, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228999)

It's not always that bad in science: some theories are accepted pretty quickly. The Dark Energy theory has gained wide-spread acceptance almost overnight. The Giant Impact theory for the formation of the Moon was accepted by much of the community over the course of a single meeting, I've been told by a participant.

It seems to be a question of overwhelming evidence: if you don't have really compelling evidence, you'll have a slow, uphill battle. If you do, odds seem to be in your favor for gaining a much more rapid acceptance. In the end, there's nothing particularly wrong with that. Radical theories are *aren't* backed up by really powerful data or convincing models deserve to be treated with great skepticism.

Re: Geologists are indeed conservative. (3, Interesting)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230997)

The Giant Impact theory for the formation of the Moon was accepted by much of the community over the course of a single meeting, I've been told by a participant.

A quick search reveals that is the case [psi.edu] :

Some work was done by Thompson and Stevenson in 1983 about the formation of moonlets in the disk of debris that formed around Earth after the impact. However, in general the theory languished until 1984 when an international meeting was organized in Kona, Hawaii, about the origin of the moon. At that meeting, the giant impact hypothesis emerged as the leading hypothesis and has remained in that role ever since. Dr. Michael Drake, director of the University of Arizona's Planetary Science Department, recently described that meeting as perhaps the most successful in the history of planetary science.

That's very cool.

My economics professor told us essentially the same thing about the Coase theorem. Allegedly, Coase presented it to a group of economists all of whom rejected the theory right off, but by the time they'd left, he'd convinced every last one of them. (I, however, think it needs a few qualifications.)

Re: Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#19236431)

Yep, that was the meeting. My graduate adviser was there. He said that what really convinced people was the first suite of numerical models that showed that it was possible dynamically to make the Moon that way.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19249931)

I have a degree in Geology, and I remember my Historical Geology teacher telling us about how when he was in school nearly all of his professors ridiculed the idea of plate tectonics.

You have to remember that there were a ton of objections to plate tectonics which its supporters could not answer (where does new crust come from; where does old stuff go; where does the energy come from; etc.). Until new observations could solve these questions the evidence was not that strong and what there was gave no real clue to the mechanism. The idea that continents move is a fairly incredible one (how much does Africa weigh?) and as they say, amazing claims require amazing evidence.

What the plate tectonics story actually tells us is that scientists were prepared to look at new evidence when it came in and change even their strongly views. This contrasts strongly with religion, for example.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (2, Insightful)

zoikes (182347) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228739)

Horses**t:
      Theory X was controversial, but turned out to be true.
      Theory Y is controversial, therefore theory Y is true.

Gimme a break.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229501)

How observant. The correct steps are:

  1. Theory X is not merely controversial but cynically rejected without ever being tested, yet turns out to be true anyway.
  2. Method of evaluating theories is deduced to be broken, as it becomes apparent that theories are being deemed false without having been falsified.
  3. Method is refined, the same way ALL theories are refined when they are found wanting.
  4. Theory Y is controversial, but examined from a more enlightened perspective. It turns out to be false, but it is found to be false honestly, openly and verifiably, following a procedure that is repeatable by any future scientists.

There is no claim that all that is controversial is true, there is however a claim that because something is controversial it need not be false ("Possibly not false" is not the same as "Definitely true") and there is also a claim that when something is true, the controversy is less important than the truth (as far as is known).

I'll assume that anyone on Slashdot who would confuse the sequence has done so by accident, but there are many disingenuous fools who would confuse them deliberately for the purpose of confusing the issue in general. The best deceptions are based on truth, because you see the truth and therefore believe the rest. Political speeches and disinformation campaigns are often based on this technique. It is foolish and irrational, and only heightens the arguments I've made here and on the Smithsonian debate, that truth as best as we can establish it MUST take precedence over personal beliefs, no matter what the opposition, and that because truth is not "revealed" but must be established, the only way it can take precedence is by actively pursuing and espousing knowledge and simultaneously teaching that the truth is neither fixed nor stagnant, but evolves continuously, and that no-one can own the "final" answer. (Including those scientists who have a habit of blocking those who would usurp their supposed crown earned by achieving but one step amongst a billion.)

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (2, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19232051)

"You know how Einstein got bad grades? Yeah, well MINE are even WORSE!" - Calvin

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (-1, Flamebait)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229061)

Maybe back then they were conservative, but these days they're certainly not, at least in the USA.

Remember, in the USA, "conservative" now means you believe the Earth is 6000 years old and that dinosaur fossils are planted there by God to test your faith.

I'm pretty sure no credible geologists today believe this, so they can't be conservative.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19235083)

Do you find that people tend to refer to you as "special"?

Did your mommy buy you a hockey helmet and tell you you should wear it all the time,"because it looks good on you"?

Was the bus you rode to school shorter than the one most of the kids rode?

Just curious

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (3, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229177)

I remember reading about the history of plate tectonics in a Philosophy of Science class. Over in the Smithsonian thread, someone opined that "politics has no place in science". He obviously didn't read the same history we did.

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229521)

Apparently they didn't read the same history as the ancient Greeks did, either. (Ok, ok, the Sumerians invented politics in general, but the Greeks invented both politics and science as we know them today - and mixed them freely. Usually with martinis. Or mead. One of the two.)

Re:Geologists are indeed conservative. (1)

Anthony (4077) | more than 6 years ago | (#19233871)

Erm, how well did you read it? That book, by Simon Winchester, was about William Smith, the first person to create a geological map. Also a case study of someone who lived beyond their means.

Wegener certainly got a hard time for his continental drift theory. The mechanism, plate tectonics, was only pieced together 50 years later.

Geologists are just like any other scientists. Conjecture (the continents are not fixed on the face of the earth) without a proven mechanism (expanding earth?, floating rocks?) only goes so far. It does have the benefit of focusing a scientist's mind by trying to answer these questions.

So if humans want to survive we should (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227985)

Looks like the firestorm even hit the other side of the world.

So if humans want to survive things like this in the future we should go back to living deep in caves rather than tall exposed buildings.

Re:So if humans want to survive we should (4, Funny)

DohnJoe (900898) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229141)

So if humans want to survive things like this in the future we should go back to living deep in caves
I think most slashdotters are already aware of this danger, living in the safety of their parents basement ;)

Teh community will be saved!!!

Re:So if humans want to survive we should (2, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229247)

For 1 generation. Then the total lack of women basement dwellers will doom the race.

Re:So if humans want to survive we should (4, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229633)

That's why we need to become highly active in do-it-yourself genetic engineering. Then we can grow our own females in our basements. And our genetically engineered females will be superior to natural ones, as we can design them to be thin, beautiful, bisexual, and only interested in geeks (and other hot women).

Re:So if humans want to survive we should (3, Funny)

DohnJoe (900898) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229807)

I guess the first words those women hear will be: 'please be gentle'

Re:So if humans want to survive we should (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19231713)

Reminds me of the following which has been rattling around in my head for the last few decades.

(I believe Isaac Asimov may be to blame for this)

Oh, give me a clone
Of my own flesh and bone
With the Y chromosome changed to X
And when she is grown
My very own clone
She will be of the opposite sex

Clone, clone of my own
With the Y chromosome changed to X
And when we're alone
Since her mind is my own
She'll be thinking of nothing but sex.

(Yeah, I didn't need all that karma anyway...

Re:So if humans want to survive we should (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#19265041)

Dude that'd be, like, your sister!

Re:So if humans want to survive we should (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19248587)

Either that or combine our DNA with those of female sharks

Confusing Sentence Structure (3, Funny)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228191)

According to results presented by a team of 25 researchers this week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in Acapulco, Mexico, that's where the Clovis people's doom came from.
I definitely read this as:

According to results presented by a team of 25 researchers this week, the American Geophysical Union meeting in Acapulco Mexico: that's where the Clovis people's doom came from.

I hate it when my doom comes from American Geophysical Union meetings in Acapulco, Mexico.

Re:Confusing Sentence Structure (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229125)

I definitely read this as:

Well, we at least can't blame this misreading on bad spelling...

but (0, Troll)

loafula (1080631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229199)

didn't jesus invent the earth like 3000 years ago?

Re:but (1)

Ohmaar (997049) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230329)

Yes, but there's that whole "1 day is as a thousand years" stuff that makes it all work out.

Einstein got it.

Re:but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19230565)

From my schooling when I was younger, the earth was believed to be 7000 years old. This was determined by the listing of who begat who and then giving an average for living, both items gathered from Biblical verses.

What I currently believe now compared to back then does not matter. I will only state that I have always questioned my teachers in regards to their text books.

Re:but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19231065)

"didn't jesus invent the earth like 3000 years ago?"

That was 6000 years ago and it was God, not Jesus. Jeez, what an idiot!

Re:but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19231107)

The kikes believe so too, when you add up the life spans in the torah. Hence einstein's one day is an age claim. What's sauce for the kike is sauce for the christian. BTW, the muzzies and the koran also produce similar figures.

Problem (5, Informative)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229651)

Clovis peoples did not "go extinct." They spread put across the Americas and developed in to more locally adapted cultures. The Folsom point is a fairly obvious derivative of the Clovis point see here [texasbeyondhistory.net] . The Folsom point supplanted Clovis on the Lower Great Plains. From Missouri to the Atlantic coast the Dalton point is considered a direct outgrowth of Clovis, and on the western Gulf Coast, the San Patrice point seems to have filled the same role as the successor to Clovis. Aside from that, there is a lot of regional variation in Clovis itself prior to the emergence of Folsom, San Patrice etc.

The Pleistocene megafauna did go extinct, but the causes of that have been argued back and forth since I was a student in the 1970s, and with no end in sight. Some have blamed Clovis and closely related groups in the Americas, and refer to these extinctions as the result of a Clovis "blitzkrieg." However, there's also evidence to suggest that some were headed down the drain before humans reached the Americas. Late Pleistocene environments were drastically different from today. The southwest was fairly moist, not a desert at all. The southeast was considerably drier than now and had fine-grained, micro-environments quite unlike anything seen today. All of those environments changed drastically, and the intricately intermingled mico-ecologies of the southeast disappeared, and any fauna dependent on that was toast (my 2 cents, there).

Re:Problem (2)

RamblinLonghorn (1074873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229979)

"Some have blamed Clovis and closely related groups in the Americas, and refer to these extinctions as the result of a Clovis 'blitzkrieg.'" I recall reading/hearing something about a similar "blitzkrieg" by the First human inhabitants of Australia. And more recently, the decimation of the Moa and other flightless birds in New Zealand. Point being, I think we underestimate the power even primitive humans had to drastically change their environments, especially ones they aren't native to. But I must say, an exploding comet sounds really cool.

Re:Problem (4, Informative)

Inexile2002 (540368) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234279)

There is some indirect evidence that the Clovis culture died out even if some of the Folsom people were ancestors of the Clovis people. You say that the Folsom point is derivative of the Clovis point when most sources that compare the two note that the Folsom point was inferior to the Clovis. The vast majority of Folsom points were found using rock quarried from relatively local sources, where as the Clovis points are often found thousands of kilometers from the rock quarries that the stone originated from. Clovis peoples valued higher quality stone enough that they either traveled or engaged in VERY long distance trade to get it. They produced some of the most sophisticated stone tools ever developed by human beings, only really being surpassed by Pre-Colombian native Americans almost ten thousand years later. Finally, Clovis points with nearly identical workmanship have been found from Alberta to California to Patagonia and as far east as Floria - points that have been dated to within hundreds of years of years of each other. All of this indicates a sophisticated, wide ranging, traveling culture.

The Folsom people by contrast didn't leave evidence of this type of wide ranging travel and sophistication, a change that seems to have happened quite quickly. Archaeologists have speculated that climate change led to conditions that were more hostile to longer distance travel - forcing them to use lower quality stone and thus simpler stone work techniques, but the evidence does seem to indicate the death of the Clovis culture (if not the people themselves). The true reasons for the sudden culture change will probably never be known. If there's good evidence of a Pliestocine comet explosion then it almost definitely was a nail in the coffin of the Clovis peoples.

Re:Problem (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 6 years ago | (#19239297)

They spread put across the Americas and developed in to more locally adapted cultures. The Folsom point is a fairly obvious derivative of the Clovis point..


The way I remember my old Anthro course, the main distinguishing factor in Clovis was the "fluted" spear/arrow heads. This basicly means they had a trench in the sides, to help the very large mammals they got stuck in to bleed to death quicker. Once the very large mammals died out (for whatever reason), there was no longer a huge need for the fluting.

The point here is that the disappearance of the large mammals and the eclipse of Clovis are not a coincidence. They basicly go hand-in-hand. So there's no real mystery here to be explained away by things like huge continent-wide firestorms.

re: Did an Exploding Comet Doom Early Americans? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19231087)

In a word: No.

Being a bunch of filthy, alcoholic, shiftless, feather-wearing goddamned indians doomed early Americans.

I'm no scientist, but I think that's obvious.

I thought that ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19232909)

the Clovis people got into a paeleolithic nuclear war with the Sivolc peoples of Northern Siberia, which explains the layer of burnt ash.

Using the natural reactor at Oklo, these stone-age engineers successfully developed stone atom bombs, and then delivered them across Alaska by suicide intercontinental mammoth-riders.

The last remanents of the Clovis people fled south, and eventually all perished due to a legal mix-up when someone patented breathing. Noone could hold their breath long enough to mount an effective defence.

Atlantis (2, Interesting)

12357bd (686909) | more than 6 years ago | (#19233607)

So Plato [wikipedia.org] was right about a great disaster 9000 years before his epoch.

Ask People Instead of Rocks (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#19239699)

The Navajo (Dine) people of the southwest US are directly related to the Dene of Canada. It's already been shown that it took the former over 20,000 years to migrate physically and linguistically. It's trivial to show the latter (in Canada, ground zero for the object in question) still exist.

The Hopi (Anasazi or "Ancient Ones" in Dine) can confirm that the Dine/Dene were here over 20,000 years ago. They met these descendents of the Tungusk coming across the Bering Land Bridge. Since this means the Hopi were here before the Bridge, it doesn't get taken seriously. Likewise, the Dine's name for the Hopi is that of another group that supposedly went extinct, indicating they didn't, is another fact that gets actively ignored.

Conducting archeology without conducting anthropology on people that still exist is like studying the history of New York by studying the subway maps and ignoring the people on the platforms and the streets above.

Re:Ask People Instead of Rocks (1)

rodentia (102779) | more than 6 years ago | (#19242169)

That the physical record does not coincide with data from linguistic analysis is one of the standing problems within the current scientific consensus regarding the first peoples of America. There are a variety of ways to account for this. One's view is sharply dependent upon one's academic specialty. Linguists obviously chafe at being told that phonetic evolution is perhaps not as controlled and deterministic a process as radio-isotope decay. Similarly, analysis of mutation within mitochondrial DNA has not been definitively established to be beyond the influence of events tending to accelerate or suppress the process (cosmic gamma-ray outbursts, etc). In view of these facts, your post is largely polemical rather than instructive.

Likewise, the Dine's name for the Hopi is that of another group that supposedly went extinct, indicating they didn't, is another fact that gets actively ignored.

Facts are meaningless data points in the absence of interpretation. Verbal coincidences are the stuff of charlatans. Language does not develop in a deterministic way. It is much more likely that the Dine word was mis-appropriated by nineteenth century researchers than that this identification speaks to the interpretation you patently confuse with the fact at issue.

Re:Ask People Instead of Rocks (1)

12357bd (686909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19247147)

Sorry,but data is never complete. Mismatches between ancien traditions and current theories about what happened at a certain time frame, use to suffer the 'not modern' syndrome.

Troy (and a lot of other important arqueological sites) was considered a mere myth, due to a miopyc s.XVIII prejudice still present due to the lack of proper philosophical studies in current education.

Because Siberians eating Clovis isn't PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19239723)

Even though that is what the data show.

This is especially bothersome to the PC crowd because the Siberians are the modern American Indians (for the most part, some European gene types remain in some groups, such as the Cheyene), and the Clovis/Red Paint People, appear to have come from Europe, hunting seal and walrus across the North Atlantic ice shelf.

And the earliest people appear to have been Melanesians from across the Pacific.
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