I was saddened to hear a few days ago about the fire at the 200 year old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (9/2/2018). Contained in that building were some of the Andean Mummies which were highly value for research IMO. I find these mummies intriguing to say the least and it saddens me that they will no longer be able to be studied. This museum housed over 20 million artifacts so it was a MAJOR museum for research.
Among the artifacts believed destroyed is the skull known as “Luzia” which was dated at 11.5 kyr and is believed to have been from a Paleoindian woman who was one of the earliest known inhabitants of the Americas. Mummies and artifacts from Egypt were also housed in this museum and now presumed destroyed. It’s currently estimated that only 10% of the artifacts in the museum survived IF that much. Smoke detectors reportedly were not working and the fire suppression system in the building was limited, sadly. I do know that funding for the museum was cut by the Brazilian government not long ago and some are blaming that lack of funding for basically a non-working and inadequate fire suppression system.
Among the “survivors” was a 5.86 ton meteor which is the largest meteor every found in Brazil. It was discovered back in 1784. From what I hear bone fragments have been found in the rubble but they are nothing compared to what this museum once housed. So 200 years of work and research has now gone up in flames and that saddens me to say the least. It always saddens me when artifacts are lost and/or destroyed either by accident or intention. They are all clues to our TRUE history as a species and without them our knowledge and research only slows down and develops voids which we can’t fill in with evidence. Oh we can “fill in the blanks” with a lot of speculation but that’s far different from FACTS. The museum was a popular center for research both for new and seasoned researchers.
I don’t know how far they’ve gotten through the rubble but I’m sure that most of what the museum contained is gone and what is left is likely now pretty useless. We need to protect our heritage and our history all over the world because it IS important! It is all clues to how we as a species came to be as we are today, modern humans. I know many people look at artifacts and think, “Oh they’re just a bunch of old bones” but to researchers like me they are far more than “just old bones.” I want to know where we came from and how we came to be modern humans for certain. I want as many facts as we can possibly gather and I want our theories based on those facts instead of speculation. And I want artifacts protected and not lightly thrown aside because they are our clues to who we are and how we came to be. In my mind there is no such things as “just a bunch of old bones” or “just a piece of old pottery.” We as a species NEED to know and NEED to understand where we came from and how we came to be who and what we are today. All the bones, all the pottery, all the mummies, and all the other artifacts around the world are important and they are the road map to discovery the truth about ourselves as human beings. Without that road map we become lost and our “knowledge” becomes based on false and erroneous assumptions.
BTW I’ve blogged here about Luzia a couple of times which you can find at the following links:
The fire at the museum is a great loss and my heart weeps for such a significant and important loss that we can never recover.
When most of us think of ancient seafaring we think of something along lines of Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the New World using three ships. Those ships, however, were very small compared to ancient ships built by the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, et al. Columbus only had about 88 men on board his three ships and two of his ships were only 50 feet long! That’s about the size of a small fishing boat.
Chinese trading ship of Admiral Zheng He
When we look at the history of China we get a clue at just how much more advanced these people were than Europeans when it came to ship building and exploration. For example, there is a tiny island off the coast of Africa called “Pate” which is just off the coast of Kenya. People living on that island claim that they are the descendants of Chinese sailors who were shipwrecked on the island several centuries ago! These Chinese sailors traded with local Africans and they even took a few giraffes back to China for the emperor’s pleasure! People on this island have an Asian appearance, somewhat and many have antique porcelain heirlooms in their homes that resemble those made by the ancient Chinese.
History tells us that some six centuries ago a mighty Chinese armada sailed westward to Ceylon, East Africa, and Arabia for trade. Some of the ships (junks) had giant nine-masted sails and accompanying them were smaller escort vessels carrying patrol boats, horses, soldiers, supply ships, etc. This armada was anything but small because in total there were more than 27,000 soldiers and sailors! The biggest ships were recorded as being over 400 feet long and 150 ft wide! In comparison, Columbus’ ship named the Santa Maria was only 90×30 feet. These ancient Chinese ships were massive, to say the least. Continue Reading
Nothing ever remains the same. Life is always changing and so is the planet we live on. This is important to keep in mind because when we look at a map of the present Earth we often assume that all of the land masses, seas, and oceans we see today have always been there. But that isn’t true! Seas, oceans, and land masses have changed dramatically over the history of our planet. What was once dry land is now under the water and what was once under the water is now dry land.
A landbridge once existed between Siberia and Alaska, for example, but today we see only islands and ocean water. If the sea level were lowered in that region by just 100 feet we’d see some of that landbridge again today! This landmass has existed several times over the course of history so it was not just a one time event.
Some oceanographers and geologists believe that sea levels may have once been at least 500 feet lower than they are today! Those lands that were dry land then are today under water. Think of how much human history might be under water today because of this. Think of how the migration patterns of our ancient human ancestors might be under the sea today. We simply cannot assume that the dry land we see today has always been so. It hasn’t.
The North Sea was once a great plain and England and Ireland were connected. Italy was connected with Africa and the Mediterranean was once two great lakes instead of a sea. Some of these lands were once home to evidence of human migration and civilization. Some were the homes of palaces, temples, and communities. But today they are all under sea water. Most of the continental selves which mark the true boundaries between oceans and land are today deep under the ocean’s waters! Those ocean water depths range anywhere from 100 to 300 to 1500 feet or more! We might think of this as the true ocean basins being overflowing with water, in fact, and when we think of Noah’s Flood we might even say that our planet is STILL recovering from that ancient flood as some theorists and biblical scholars believe!! Continue Reading
A new genetic study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that ancient people in the Americas separated into two populations between 18-15 kya and remained apart for millennia before mixing again. This reconvergence happened either prior to or after their expansion into South America according to the study.
These findings challenges previous research that suggested that the first people of the Americas split into northern and southern branches and that the southern branch alone gave rise to all ancient populations in Central and South America. But, this new study says “not so!”. Deep in their genetic DNA many native people in South America retain at least some of the DNA from the “northerners” who are direct ancestors of many Native Americans today living in the eastern parts of Canada.
This along with various other studies are beginning to prove to us that the peopling of the Americas was NOT so simple as we thought. In fact, it’s beginning to appear a bit more complicated. Continue Reading
Tianyuan Man fossil remains, China
An analysis of an ancient Chinese fossil known as “Tianyuan Man” dated at 40 kyr has revealed some surprising findings. We’ve known that this fossil is closely related to modern Asians, or so we thought. However, recent analysis of the fossils yielded a surprise no one, almost, was expecting and that is that a 35 kyr fossil found in Belgium (GoyetQ116-1) thought to be closely related to ancient Europeans shares some genetic similarities to Tianyuan Man and these similarities are NOT shared by other ancient European remains. Additionally, the analysis showed that some Native American populations from South America appear to have a genetic connection with Tianyuan Man! BTW Tianyuan Man was a Homo Sapiens species.
What is beginning to appear is that the population that crossed into the Americas about 20 kya was NOT one single migration or time period but several and at least one of these groups had genetic ties to ancestors that contributed DNA to modern Papuan and Onge people. There appears to be no trace of this connection in present day East Asians or Siberians, however and unlike these two present day populations Tianyuan Man appears to have genetic similarities to some native South American populations!
What this newest analysis does is confirms, directly, that multiple ancestries in Native Americans were all from populations originating in mainland Asia and it seems to indicate that the migrations from Asia to the Americas happened around 20 kya or more. However, Tianyuan Man is at least twice that age and this means that the populations that migrated into the Americas were diverse and those diversities must have existed for at least 40,000 years. Continue Reading
Artistic bust of Peking Man
Dragon Bone Hill overlooks the sprawling Chinese capital of Beijing (formerly Peking). It is a small limestone mountain visited by over 150,000 visitors each year. It was here in 1929 that the first specimen of Asian Homo Erectus was found known as “Peking Man.” The find consisted of a nearly complete skull dated between 680-780 kyr. The specimen was also one of the earliest ancient human ancestor fossil remains ever found but since that time the fame and importance of Peking Man has dwindled, sadly. Older fossils have been discovered in Africa where environmental conditions for fossil formation are more conducive. China and Southeast Asia tend not to be very good places for finding fossils due to the tropical climate and wet conditions in much of the region. Today Chinese paleoanthropologists wonder if H. erectus died out or contributed genes to modern Chinese people.
In the past decade China has stepped up efforts to uncover evidence of early human ancestors in the country and surrounding region. Old fossils are being reanalysed and old theories are being revised as new evidence comes to light. And the Chinese government has built a million dollar lab to extract and sequence ancient DNA!
More and more paleoanthropologists are beginning to finally pay attention to what is being found and what has been found in China and Asia in general. Discoveries in China and Asia clearly indicate that there was a variety of prehistoric human ancestors in the region and these finds are beginning to challenge some conventional ideas about just what our evolutionary history might really be!
Sadly, Western researchers tend to view fossils and artifacts in terms of those found in Africa and Europe due to the age of the fossils found there and because they are closer to major research facilities. However, what is becoming increasingly clear is that Asian fossils do NOT fit into the traditional narrative of human evolution
There have been several discoveries over the past few years that are changing what we think about how and when the Americans were populated by modern humans and now comes yet MORE evidence that modern humans were in Brazil about 23 kya (thousand years ago). These new discoveries are proving our textbooks WRONG and frankly that is a breath of fresh air!!
A recent article in the journal “Antiquity” suggests that prehistoric modern humans were hunting giant ground sloths in eastern Brazil 23 kya. A large number of stone artifacts and bones were found at a rock shelter at Santa Elina between 1954-2004 and reanalysis now suggests small, bony sloth skin plates were notched and perforated and made into ornaments by modern humans living in the area. Remains of fire hearths were also found in the sediment layers. Dating suggests humans were living in the area at least 20 kya and the dates also suggest that humans were living again in the area between 10,000 and 2000 years ago. Continue Reading
“The Northern Toltec in the American Southwest”
Authors: Dr Roberto Peron, Barb Benson, Rob L.
Dr. Cyclone Covey was a history professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina and he had some interesting theories. One book he authored entitled “Calalus” tells of what he believes was a Roman Jewish colony in Arizona northeast of Tucson. He believed the “Tucson Artifacts” were real although most scholars believe them to be fakes. I’ll be posting about these artifacts after I examine them myself very soon.
Portrait of the Toltec emperor Tecpancaltzin lztaccaltzin, 9th ruler of the Toltecs
Covey believed various Jews sailed from the Portuguese port of Porto Cale and founded a city in Florida which they named “Cale.” Today this alleged ancient settlement is known as Ocala which is in North-Central Florida. He also held the view that some Jews escaped Rome and they also set sail to the Americas from Porto Cale in Portugal. Once across the Atlantic they established a Jewish-Roman colony in 775 A. D. near Tucson, Arizona. Further, he believes that during this time the Toltec controlled most of what is today Arizona and New Mexico and that they continuously fought with these new arrivals from Europe until decades later when they finally defeated them and took the Jews captive after destroying their two cities in Arizona. So, these northern Toltec took the Jewish-Roman survivors captive and marched them to Tula, the Toltec capital in Mexico. He also points out that the Toltec emperor at this time was white skinned with a beard! That the Toltec may have dominated Arizona and New Mexico is believed to be so by several researchers so Covey’s thesis is not all that far-fetched! Continue Reading