protomyth 2 months ago

“My professional opinion is that if we actually want to test which of these hypotheses is true, we need more data—and it should be combining archaeological, climatic, and genetic—and it needs to be systematic,” she said. “At the moment we are forced to cobble together puzzle pieces from disparate sources and there isn’t congruity between methods used at various sites, so it’s hard to say what is really comparable and what isn’t.”

Good luck getting the genetic data. A lot of tribes in the US have been taken advantage of by universities to get grant money with no real benefit for the tribe. Some tribes have even gone so far to restrict research data. One reason I use tarsnap is that the encrypted locally data complies with the local tribal resolutions on data sharing.

shams93 2 months ago

The land theory was popular because it’s easier to prove a lot ice age coast line is deep under water and it’s hard to find the easy evidence but the cultural and linguistic evidence are there

  • curtis 2 months ago

    Not may people appreciate that at the peak of the last ice age, "sea level" was 400 feet lower than it is today. It's likely that there's a whole bunch of archaeological sites that we can't easily get to right now, even if we could find them.

    • Bucephalus355 2 months ago

      Yes, it’s very likely most of the human pathway out of Africa to Australia would have gone over these kinds of routes.

      For instance, Indonesia would have been connected to Australia more or less and so one could cross over land from Southeast Asia to Australia.

      • jcranmer 2 months ago

        Not quite. There are some oceanic trench faults in between Indonesian islands, so there was no full land connection.

        At the last glacial maximum (and sea-level minimum), the big islands of Sumatra, Java, and Borneo would have been portions of a massive Southeast Asia peninsula. In addition, New Guinea would have been attached to Australia. The other Indonesian islands, such as Sulawesi and Timor, would still have been islands. The gaps between the islands would be somewhat smaller, perhaps about 25mi (even between Timor and Australia), which is close enough that you can sail between them without ever losing sight of land.

      • brailsafe 2 months ago

        As an aside, Indonesia was also home to a now extinct species of human called homoaflorensis.

    • tribune 2 months ago

      Thinking about this always dismays me. Given humans' proclivity for living near the coast, it seems likely than many (even most?) interesting sites from this period are gone.

    • guessthejuice 2 months ago

      People don't realize that just 8000 years ago, you could walk from britain to continental europe as it was connected by land to europe.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doggerland

      It's amazing how in a short period of time ( in geological terms though it seems like a lot of time for us ), how much of the earth changed.

      Another interesting tidbit, we had a little ice age not too long ago which ended in the mid 1800s.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

      https://www.eh-resources.org/timeline-middle-ages/

mozumder 2 months ago

Wouldn't people be able to traverse the continent in a few months? Why are they giving estimated ranges that span thousands of years?

  • Alan_Dillman 2 months ago

    Climatic and geographic familiarity is a big thing. My ancestors left the Russian Steppes and ended up in Kansas, by all accounts a much nicer place. They left anyway, and homesteaded in an area of Canada that is quite similar to the terrain they'd left behind in the old country.

    They skipped over a lot of good farm land, and ended up in Northern Alberta for no discernible reason other than they knew how to deal with it. The problems made sense to their skill sets, and they did very well.

    As the other person said, familial support is darned important, which is why my family went to Kansas in the first place. They had relatives there. It was recent enough that my grandmother has gone there to visit her cousins over the years.

    I imagine that successful hunter-gatherer groups colonised over the next hill, or a days walk or two down the river. Probably someone could model that to narrow down prospective digs. I know that the land between the confluence of two rivers was a common place for groups to meet up.

    I guess my family also provides a modern example of far colonising. The way they bridged the Atlantic was by sending a few young men ahead to scout out new potential homelands. I suspect that they used this as a sort of social control, and to add a useful function to the young men who were disruptive agents in their society.

    In a hunter-gather society, this tactic would be better than straight banishment or death. "Climb that mountain pass and see if there is good land on the other side. Prove the land by staying over summer, and come back in the fall with skins and dried berries".

    • neffy 2 months ago

      It´s also possible that then as now, the idea of spending summer away from parental control was an excellent motivator for the younger members of the tribe to find new digs.

      • toyg 2 months ago

        To be fair, "parental control" back then was so much looser than anything we could conceive today. Any family would have had a minimum of 3 or 4 children, and they would have been put to work at ages as early as 8, possibly becoming a tribe peer shortly after. There was probably control at tribe level, but parents were likely busy surviving.

        We also keep talking about this in terms of rejection (being banned, escaping parents etc), but it might well be that they were simply pushed by a reckless sense of exploration, curiosity, and personal ambition. Their world was endlessly new: what is beyond that hill? What is beyond that river? I'll find out, and if it's good, I'll make it mine. After all I'm a teenager, I obviously cannot die.

        • InitialLastName 2 months ago

          > We also keep talking about this in terms of rejection (being banned, escaping parents etc), but it might well be that they were simply pushed by a reckless sense of exploration, curiosity, and personal ambition. Their world was endlessly new: what is beyond that hill? What is beyond that river? I'll find out, and if it's good, I'll make it mine. After all I'm a teenager, I obviously cannot die.

          Right on. There are a lot of instincts humans show in developed society that work great in a hunter-gatherer society, including this one. See also:

          -Tribalism

          -Territorialism

          -Hoarding

      • bilbo0s 2 months ago

        So true. Sometimes, the answers are so much more simple than we think.

    • zipwitch 2 months ago

      Environmental familiarity can be a huge thing. It's something we don't really notice with our mix of technology and associated wide-ranging logistics.

      I've got a little taste of it myself. I casually hiked and camped in the Northern Rockies for years. I didn't realize how many small bits of specific knowledge I'd picked up until recently moving to the midwest and doing some camping here. Different woods, that burn differerently. Damper conditions in general that make for all kinds of different prep. My knowledge of what is safe to eat (and what is not) went from fairly extensive to almost nothing. Different geography and climate that changes what you want in a campsite and what sort of site you are likely to find. A thousand little things that each make a difference. With only stone age kit and knowledge base, moving out of your "home range" would have doubtless been quite challenging.

    • SketchySeaBeast 2 months ago

      > They skipped over a lot of good farm land, and ended up in Northern Alberta for no discernible reason other than they knew how to deal with it.

      I'd had that phenomena explained to me in University as a result of the feudal states (serfdom was only officially abolished in 1861) that the Russian people left to come to North America - back home those trees would have been the lord's property, but here it could be theirs - so even though there was better arable land even in southern Alberta (assuming you could deal with the fact that the land in basically a desert), they traveled where there were "valuable" resources they wouldn't have had access to in the old country.

      • Alan_Dillman 2 months ago

        Agreed, though they were not serfs in the case of my family/ethnic group. Rather, they were Germans(and some others) who colonized southern Russia, and were called the Volga Germans. In other ways you are correct: their lives and property were tightly constrained.

  • simonh 2 months ago

    I’m just guessing, but community and social support networks are vital for survival and to retain access to potential mates. You don’t deliberately distance yourself from that without a really good reason. Also the nice you have built experience with the terrain, shelter, food, water and material resources of a region why give all that up? Even nomadic cultures have a range and set of routes and locations they know and visit.

    Suddenly changing climactic zone is also probably difficult as the different climate, flora and fauna might require very different sets of skills.

  • egjerlow 2 months ago

    Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond has its fair share of critics, but one thing I feel it does well is introduce to the general populace the ways of thinking around questions like this. In the case of migration, one of the factors that slowed it down so much is the lack of properly 'domestic' peoples that actually had a population surplus. If you're a hunter-gatherer tribe that has reached an equilibrium between children born and people dying, and your hunting grounds provide the resources you need to sustain that equilibrium, there is little reason to go looking elsewhere (migrate).

  • Balero 2 months ago

    You have to approach it with the knowledge and motivation of those people.

    First off, you don't know where you're going, at all. You have never been more than 20-30 miles from your home base, and neither has anyone out of the 30-40 people you know.

    The world is dangerous, there are lions and bears and worse everywhere, let alone the unknown things that you probably believe in. Camping out in the open is incredible dangerous. You much prefer to stick to places you know and have feel safe in.

    You have to think about why you're moving. There are two major reasons for going anywhere.

    First, something dangerous has come. A pack of wolves that like to eat people [0], a forest fire, a food shortage, another group of humans (not all bad, now you have some trade, but this was probably also a major danger with fighting for territory/reproduction). This drives you just far enough away to escape the danger, and there's always a chance you'll come back to the familiar territory when the danger has passed.

    Secondly, your group has grown and has started acting like two groups. This new group will probably only move next door. There will still be familial bonds and cooperation. Add in that the population isn't growing all that fast and this is very slow movement.

    You have to think how and what you're moving. You do not have a backpack. You have a bunch of baskets and maybe a couple of (literal dead animal) bladders of water. You can only take what you can carry, if the wheel had been invented it probably can't get over the terrain you're on. You need to stick to freshwater, so you can go down a river, and maybe chance along the coast hoping to get to another river a day or so away. Your group consists of babies that need carrying, children that need protecting, old people that know stuff but are slow, and more mouths to feed than you would like. Also bear in mind you were walking on game trails no human had ever walked on in bare feet/crap shoes at best. You also need to make fire (or take it with you) every night.

    Finding a rive will basically stop any travel, they are a great place to fish/hunt and have accessible water. So actually coming across a usable river is likely to slow your advance by a couple of decades/centuries at the least.

    Long story short, going anywhere more than a day away in pre-history was scary, dangerous and very very hard, and moving next door was a lot easier.

    [0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_of_Soissons (This was in the 1700's in Europe, they had guns and steel. Imagine having only leather and stone tools.

  • jghn 2 months ago

    this wasn’t a journey where people were trying to get from point a to point b.

  • garmaine 2 months ago

    Why would they?

    • vortico 2 months ago

      Chasing migrating buffaloe?

      • dredmorbius 2 months ago

        Game (and other biota) tend to distribute latitudinally, along uniform climate zones, far more than longitudinally, across them.

        Bison have a daily range of about 2 mi. (3.2 km). This would give a seasonal range (over 90 days) of only 200 miles (320km) or so , and likely far less.

    • mongol 2 months ago

      Tourism?