Human evolution

Is the human race really only 200 thousand years old?

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Michael Cremo

Liechtenstein’s Daily Bell features Vedic (Hindu) creationist Michael Cremo on “Forbidden Archeology, Our Billion-Year-Old Human History and the Spiritual Satisfaction of the Vedas” (Sunday, May 22, 2011 – with Anthony Wile):

Daily Bell: Tell us about your book, Forbidden Archeology , and why it is so controversial in the West. Give us its main thesis.[ … ]

Michael Cremo:In the 1970s, American archeologists led by Cynthia Irwin Williams discovered stones tools at Hueyatlaco, near Puebla, Mexico. The stone tools were of an advanced type, made only by humans like us. A team of geologists, from the United States Geological Survey and universities in the United States, came to Hueyatlaco to date the site.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human RaceAmong the geologists was Virginia Steen-McIntyre. To date the site, the team used four methods—uranium series dating on butchered animal bones found along with the tools, zircon fission track dating on volcanic layers above the tools, tephra hydration dating of volcanic crystals, and standard stratigraphy. The four methods converged on an age of about 250,000 years for the site. The archeologists refused to consider this date. They could not believe that humans capable of making the Hueyatlaco artifacts existed 250,000 years ago.

In defense of the dates obtained by the geologists, Virginia Steen-McIntyre wrote in a letter (March 30, 1981) to Estella Leopold, associate editor of Quaternary Research:

“The problem as I see it is much bigger than Hueyatlaco. It concerns the manipulation of scientific thought through the suppression of ‘Enigmatic Data,’ data that challenges the prevailing mode of thinking. Hueyatlaco certainly does that!

Not being an anthropologist, I didn’t realize the full significance of our dates back in 1973, nor how deeply woven into our thought the current theory of human evolution has become. Our work at Hueyatlaco has been rejected by most archaeologists because it contradicts that theory, period.”

This remains true today, not only for the California gold mine discoveries and the Hueyatlaco human artifacts, but for hundreds of other discoveries documented in the scientific literature of the past 150 years.

Is it credible? Cremo is, I expect, pushing the envelope, but he raises a critical question: How much of the current timeline is intended to lend credence to existing theories of human evolution, so that inconvenient facts get quietly dropped out?

What if human history is not the steady Ascent of Man portrayed in TV broadcasts on evolution, but a series of rising and falling waves? Maybe we should think about Göbekli Tepe and the anti-kythera a bit more.

2 Replies to “Is the human race really only 200 thousand years old?

  1. 1
    ellazimm says:

    This is an interesting case. I looked up Hueyatlaco to see what other information was available.

    The Wikipedia entry discusses the controversy which has been battled over several decades it appears. The major excavations happened in the 60s NOT the 70s and there were more dating techniques used then cited in the summary above. I suspect the rancour and alienation between the factions will never give us a clear picture of what happened but . . . . .

    There are many, many strands of evidence implying a much more recent settlement of the new world than the older dates reported. One site with weird dates should be looked at with suspicion in the same way as you would look at reports of someone getting 200 miles per gallon from their Ford Focus using some new fuel. Worth looking at but treat with extreme caution.

    Additionally, speaking from experience and knowing a lot of archaeologists, the chance of sample contamination is significant. My spouse told me about a time they were excavating an English site and were trying to ‘date’ an occupation layer and got results of over 3 million years before present.

    If there were several sites that gave similar results then I think a rethink would be in order. But there is this one site. Even good excavators can screw up. AND, against the implication of this post, the results have been discussed and analysed ad nauseum. Even the proponents of the older dates acknowledged the problem:

    “The evidence outlined here consistently indicates that the Hueyatlaco site is about 250,000 yr old. We who have worked on geological aspects of the Valsequillo area are painfully aware that so great an age poses an archeological dilemma. If the geological dating is correct, sophisticated stone tools were used at Valsequillo long before analogous tools are though to have been developed in Europe and Asia. Thus, our colleague, Cynthia Irwin-Williams, has criticized the dating methods we have used, and she wishes us to emphasize that an age of 250,000 yr is essentially impossible.”
    (Steen-McIntyre, Virginia, et al; “Geologic Evidence for Age of Deposits at Hueyatlaco Archeological Site, Valsequillo, Mexico,” Quaternary Research, 16:1, 1981.)

    I can’t speak to the “hundreds of other discoveries documented in the scientific literature of the past 150 years” since they are not mentioned but if someone gives me a list I’d be happy to look into them.

    But, bottom line. one outlier does not a theory make. Nor does it make a conspiracy.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    But, bottom line. one outlier does not a theory make. Nor does it make a conspiracy.

    Ah, but you are wrong!

    There is only one “magic bullet.”

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