Ancient human remains and artifacts occur in Africa and Asia where evolution of man has been traced through many stages from early hominoids about 4 × 106 years ago (Kalb et al., 1982; Totten, in preparation). Oldest dates for human fossils and artifacts in North America and South America are about 100,000 years (Carter, 1980) with no evidence of evolution from ancestral stock. This means that man first became acquainted with the Atlantic Ocean along the coasts of Africa and Europe. Overwhelming evidence indicates that the earliest immigrants arrived in North America from Asia via the land bridge that existed across Bering Strait during a time of low sea level associated with glaciation. This first immigration may have been during the early Wisconsinan (Würm) glacial stage prior to about 100,000 years ago. Artifacts at this time were so simple that humans must have subsisted mostly on small game, fish, and gathering of plants (Willey, 1966, p. 29–37). Nevertheless, humans spread through the un-glaciated parts of North America and on to South America (Müller-Beck, 1967; Haynes, 1970; Willey, 1971, p. 28; McNeish, 1976; Dumond, 1980) as representatives of the Neanderthal Mousteroid culture. Paucity and uncertain identification of artifacts limits knowledge about this early colonization, and some pre-12,000-year datings have been revised to much younger dates (Bischoff and Resenbauer, 1981).
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K. O. Emery
- Springer New York
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