The Patagonians Essay

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Traces of diverse ancient ethnolinguistic groups have been unearthed and are still being unearthed through myriad research and excavation activities. Most Palaeoindians  are taken by archaeologists to have originally  come from the South East of Asia according to their anatomical and morphological characteristics. However, the Palaeoindians are known to have been been inhabiting America as early as 10992 BC alongside the Patagonians and Fuegians.

Other groups such as the Pericu and the Guyacura are thought to have joined later. This group has been divided into three phases by archaeologists and palaeontologists (Mc Nicole, 1997 pp. 100). There is the early archaic which covers the period 8,492 BC- 5,492 BC, the intermediate or middle archaic, 5,492 BC 2,992 BC, and the late archaic, 2,992 BC- 792 BC. The inter disciplinary approach by the linguists, anthropologists, archaeologists and geneticists have drawn out four concentric waves of this groups migration (Clarke, 299 pp. 211).

            Perhaps, one of the most confusing issue in the inquiry of this ethnolinguistic group is the fact that no apparent reason has been found to explain why the the most known human migration in the world (in particular, the America ) was according to the Australo- Asian standards, delayed. The earliest pre- homo sapien migration into Asia from Africa is thought to have commenced within the time bracket of 120,000- 100,000 years ago. Archaeologists suggest the Mount Toba volcanic eruption which took place 73,000 years ago to have disturbed the relatively warm climate belt, and thus, interfering with the migration process (Menezes, 1989 pp. 78). During the Pleistocene ice age, the migratory path was still concomitant with that of the the adjacent oceans, varying depths notwithstanding.

The migrants therefore followed long and wide coastlines to the east which always supported human life due to accessibility to the sea. These coastlines maintained these philanthropic prospects even in areas where they were narrowed by deserts. This groups most used exit point was the southern exit which was very narrow. Known as the Bab el of Mandab, the route connected the Red Sea to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (Hobbes, 109 pp. 100).

This above fact leads many archaeologists, anthropologists and palaeontologists to posit that these migrant group, while exiting Africa had the knowledge of boat making with them. Having reached the far side of India, boats were highly expedient for the migrants to cross the Asian mainland to Papua Newguinea via the Indonesian Island World. Back then, Papua Newguinea was included in the Asian mainland. Besides, for over a billion years, Australia had no connection whatsoever with the Asian mainland. Furthermore, archaeological evidence shows that the first immigrants made it to Australia approximately 55,000 years ago (Sanders, 2004 pp. 211).

            Theory has it that the pre- Clovis Palaeoindians like the Fuegians were fishermen who from the West coast of America moved south, but left no traces or artifacts of their activities and culture .Fish remains (bones and scales) dissipate quickly. This group therefore needed no ice free corridor unlike their Alaskan pre- Clovis counterparts. It is further divulged by this theory that by the Palaeoindians trudged the American West coast at the same instance with their human counterparts who by then were crossing the open sea of Australia (Malhi and Philips, 166 pp. 45).

            There are several routes the migrant groups could have taken to reach the Americas. These routes are only considered to have been viable or feasible on the ground that they were available to the hard and resilient Pleistocene traveler and the early Holocene traveler. In this case, the routes primordial time usage is only considered potential if it predated 30,000 years from the present. Howbeit, no one can be so sure about which routes were used, by who, or by when. The routes used could be one or more than one. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Chilean  Monte Verde campers entered America by one of these routes or by using a multiple of them.

            The Baring Straight route which is also known by archaeologists as the Blue route, or the Beringia was before 10,000 years from now a stormy icy water way whose use was only relegated to the immensely brave boat crew to navigate. Usually, the climate would wax exceedingly cold while the sea level plummeted. This made it possible for those with well grounded knowledge on the arctic survival to cross on foot since the Straight would change into a dry land. This route was the busiest and most intensely used for myriads of ten thousand years. In comparison to its counterparts, the Bering Straight was not so deep but like the rest of the migratory routes, it was susceptible to climatic fluctuations.

            There was also a combination of the Bering Straight Route and the Pacific Coastal Routes, with this combination being referred to as the Blue and Black. Archaeologists,palaeontologists suggest that the Eskimo (also referred to as the Inuit spoke languages that were related to the Aleut, and therefore could have been the third wave of or phase of arrival into the America (the first wave and the second wave were fulfilled by the arrival into America, the Palaeomerinds and the Amerinds) (Raudzens, 2001 pp. 99)

Geneticist posit that the two groups separated while in Serbia just before reaching America, 10,000 years ago. The geneticists continue that the Eskimo who occupied the Aleut Islands about 6500 years ago represented the users of the Pacific Coastal Route while the Inuit, the users of the Baring Straight Route. The Inuit crossed Alaska after a little while. Both routes are likely to have been used by the Palaeoindians, since they were already existing at the time of their supposed incursion into the America (Wylie, 39 pp. 77).

            Theorists on the pristine time migrants into America have it that the ice shelf and the coast makes it possible for one to take a boat trip on, and that the Pacific Coastal Route was the most feasible route for the Pleistocene traveler. To back this proposition with facts, they cite the plentifulness of fish which did not only provide the migrant with victuals, but also spared the migrant the need to carry burdensome provision (since the water way he was traveling on, naturally provided fish) In addition to this, the water way was basically fresh water.

To show the possibility of boat sailing this water way, these palaeontologists and anthropologist cite the historical fact that the Fuegians, the Kwaseqar, and the Yamana passed this route stark naked. Of most recent cases, the natives of this areas have been (except until lately) going out naked, for protracted sessions of boat trips and fishing sprees even during stormy weather. During the Pleistocene, the route could have served as a second recourse. The sea currents and the direction of the wind posed no problem to the migrants since they had paddling knowledge. Moreover, at the coast, shelter was plenty with many islands and myriad icebergs (Greene and Pole, 2003 pp. 30)

            The Pacific Crossing Route which is known as the Yellow has been suggested as another possible route. However, critics have countered that this route seemed very unlikely, due to the long distance and the fact that the route demands seasoned and sophisticated navigational skills which was very anachronistic with the Pleistocene ice age. However, even critics leave out space for the possibility that the route could have served as an unlikely but fortuitous purpose since it had very limited capacity to support survival (in the case of drowning, one could only escape death by being swept ashore).

In addition to these demerits, the route was endowed with very tiny specs of landmasses. Some of these include the famous Easter Islands, the Juan Fernandez Islands and the Pitcairn. Of these, none has shown to have hosted inhabitants during the Pleistocene. The Easter Islands appears to have been reached by the earliest immigrants, the Melanesians at around 400 AD. Although the Papua Newguinea and the Asian peninsula seem to have been occupied by modern man as early as 40,000- 50,000 years before now, yet the South Sea Islands do not seem to have been occupied even 4000 years ago.

However, the theorists maintain that the Pacific Trading Route could still have been viable to the early American immigrants due to the fact that it is possible that the Pleistocene ice age wind system and the monsoon patterns of which very little is known about, could have been more friendly to the sailors either fortuitously, or conventionally. Moreover, the travelers could have been much less preponderant and sparsely distributed. While it is a fact that this could only portend scattered activities, it is also true that this could also mean less distributed evidence of human activities or no evidence at all. As far as evidence is concerned, the cave paintings in Patagonia also intimate that humans could have traversed and / or settled the area (University of California, 09 pp. 90).

            Conversely, the Palaeoindians could have taken the Atlantic Crossing Route which is also known as the Orange. During the Pleistocene age, it is held that the route coalesced huge gigantic fronts of glaciers and a polar front that were exceedingly strong. These stretched into the deep far south of the Atlantic compared to the tiny Greenland glaciers and the present day polar fronts. 10,000 years ago, traveling west wards along this route could have been very perilous since it hosts no huge chances of survival. This is because the sea surface currents and the conventional wind were pitted against travelers sailing westwards.

However, anthropology reveals that some migrants appeared to have reached  America by going against all odds.  This is due to the fact that anthropologists have come across stone tools technology that related strikingly to both the pre- historic Europe, Asia and America. Another evidence is the presence of the haplogroup X among the European and the Amerindian populations, some 1500 years ago. In addition to this, the Vikings about 830 AD demonstrated this feat as being possible by sailing to America, using their then elaborated sailing skills and technology. Archaeologists also unearthed a temporary commercial station for the vikings dating back to approximately 1200 AD., in  Newfoundland, Lanse aux Meadows.

Leif Erikson, one of the original and official discoverers of America, knowing that there was land westwards, believed beyond doubt in earlier explorers and traders having been involved with the region and having come back to tell tales. Leif also knew that these exploits could not have predated 500 AD. Moreover, although there is no evidence, it is highly probable that Greek, Roman and Celtic consignments managed to have been sailed into America. In this route, strong winds across the Northern Atlantic prevailed against vessels sailing westwards, but should it have been the far south, the wind would have been favorable.

            It is also possible that the Palaeoindians could have taken the African Equatorial Route, also known as the Brown. This route connects Africa and the Atlantic. There is serious scantiness of evidence that should point to this route as having been used, but others posit that it is because no intensive research has been carried out yet. Along this route, prevailing winds that blow from the North to the South of the equator seemed to have been able to act in the favor of the vessels sailing westwards.

However, the vast doldrums in important ares to the North of the Equator and the unpredictable surface currents near the Sargasso sea could have posed a deadly threat to the putative sailor.  Evidence of the use of the route for migratory purposes include the Luzia, a Lappa Veermelha people group who are seen to be  having African marks or qualities. Although this group does not bear any resemblance with the Amerindians, yet it proves the viability of the route for migratory purpose. It is nevertheless unlikely that the Palaeoindians could have used this route since it is very unlikely that they could have migrated directly from Africa to the Americas (Bellwood, Renfrew and Mc Donald Institute of Archaeological Research, 201 pp. 69).

            However, it must be taken to account, the fact that Bering Straight is the most probable route to have been used by the Palaeoindians to get into the America due to the fact that it was the most used routes by migrants who were going to America.

            In the bid to answer the question on who the Palaeoindians are related to, it is important to take into consideration, the fact that lack of human remains or artifacts predating 10,000 years has delayed this process. It was held by some that this was proof that there were no people in the America predating the arrival of the Palaeoamerindians. Some on the other hand thought that the the Palaeoindians were so far numerically few so that they could not be retrieved- unless coincidentally.

Other palaeontologists and anthropologists have pointed at burial practices that extirpated the traces of the dead (for instance, burying the dead together with some or all of his belongings, a case which was common in Egypt, in Africa and also among the Andamanese in the ancient America. Alternatively, other historians see in this, proof of the a notion that the Amerindians or the Palaeoindians arrived in the Americas not earlier than 10,000 years ago. Even new discoveries and archaeological excavations have not been able to solve the problem comprehensively since they have not simply stretched back beyond 12,000 years. Therefore, neither of these explanations and counter explanations have been authenticated or  proved to be faulty.

            Geneticists on the other hand have tried to solve this problem by using genetics. Genetics being the study of inheritance, mainly entails observational and technical analysis of similarities and differences between or among two or more individuals or groups of people. The lesser the variation between the groups there are, the shorter the time in which they have been separated; the more the variations, the longer the time that has passed in separation between the two groups. It has been ascertained through this principle that since the present world ( new world) and the old world groups separated, 20,000- 40,000 years have at least elapsed.

This concept has challenged the linguists, the palaeontologists, the archaeologists and the anthropologist to rejuvenate their efforts, taking on this new model of approach. In addition to this, it has been discovered that there are numerous Palaeoamerican discoveries lying in the museum shelves unnoticed and coalescing dust. This is believed to be true in different museums around the globe also. For instance, the hypothetical or proposed migratory routes from the Tiera del Fuego to the Alaska have been shown as having been bordered by most prominent archaeological findings and excavations towards their far ends. This definitely shows that there is very little that is known about the first inhabitants of America

. Therefore, the evidence may be there but the technical knowhow that is needed for proper interpretation is lacking. Of a more recent case, geneticists have been employing the use of craniometry (the analysis of the skull structure, by looking at the similarities and variations so as to be able to tell when different groups of people separated). Light seemed to come at the end of the tunnel when correlations were found between diverse prehistoric American groups and other groups in the parts of the South east Asian Pacific and the Pacific Rim groups.

This pointed to the prospects or high potential of these three groups having pristine time relations, but the problem that barred this breakthrough was the fact that it was not possible to ascertain the age of the skulls. This has made it harder to determine the facts about the origins and the traces of the Palaeoamericans (Schwartzenberger, 2005 pp. 45).

            In the same wavelength, the two chief occupants of Baia, Mexico and California, the Pericu and the Guyacura had craniometric analysis carried out on their skull remains, in respect to the Palaeoindians. The two parties differed noticeably with the more far distant Yumans who inhabited the north. The extinction of these groups is known to have been facilitated by the groups succumbing to the Jesuit movements appeals to neglect the hunting and gathering mode of living.

Materials from the caves and the middens from the coastal shells however reveal the fact that these groups carried out secondary and primary burials together with mortuary practices that were very identical to those of the late pre- Hispanic culture. On tests being carried out on the Pericu by craniometric analysis, it was found that the Pericu were unlike the rest of the pre historic times populations, and therefore not related to the Amerindians and the Palaeoindians. On the contrary, the Pericu had resemblance with the the groups in the South East of Asia, the Pacific Rim and in Australia. Therefore, craniometric analysis disclosed clearly that the Pericu represented another isolated pocket of Palaeoamerican group and the Palaeoindians.

            Others have taken these facts to state that if they contain any serious level of lucidity, then the current Amerindians could be prone to suspicion of having committed the mistake they always blame the whites for (the whites came to America and almost exterminated the Amerindians so as to access their land), and this being the extermination of the original, primordial and legitimate owners of the Americas. These point at the politically conscious Amerinds especially in the United States who ensure that there are impromptu burials, preferably devoid of any scientific analysis of any ancient human artifacts as proof.

They divulge further that the Amerindians employ this technique  as a cloak for covering their past inhuman deeds since this could oust their moral piety. In order to bolster the accusation further, these historians pose the massive cases of human immolations by the Amerindian priests, the Aztecs under the supervision of the blood thirsty self proclaimed Christian conquistadors as an act that demonstrates that no party in the Americas can claim to be the grand crown holder when it comes to morals.

            There is another school of thought that has in the bid to trace the origin and affiliates of the Palaeoindians, tried to first of all find out the original homeland of the fossil remains. This school took the East Asian mongoloid dental complex which was known to be comprising two patterns: the Sundadonty and the Sinadonty. Sundadonty posses less specific morphology and has also a longer ancestry compared to its counterpart, Sinadonty. Sinadonty is normally regarded as the offspring of Sundadonty.

Multivariate studies studies prove that both the modern and the ancient Indians have have the same dental remains, but that this is not the case with the other continents dental complexes. The Sinodonty patterns belonging to the Palaeoindians give the clue to the fact that the ancestral homeland of the Palaeoindians is the north Asia.

            However, although this sounds that easy, Palaeontologists have come up to challenge this theory, saying that under given circumstances, the dentition of the Sinadonty and that of the Sundadonty may seem identical. Furthermore, they posit that both the dental and the cranial trait can not be adequately used in analyzing the origin of the Palaeoindians, given the fact that they have no degree of gradability in some instances such as in the Kennewick calculations.

This means that the features can only be taken on the present and/ or versus absent basis. On the other hand, they are presented as percentages in the comparative samples. These palaeontologists posit that different varieties in values will cause different different conclusions on the matter and is therefore both discriminatory and unscientific. In addition to these arguments and counter arguments have arisen on the matter with the opponents arguing that the Sundadonty patterned man was a Caucasoid. However, both the proponents and the opponents to this approach are carrying out massive researches to come up with a more concise conclusion about the Sundadont man.

            The analysis of the DNA haplotypes has also proved very helpful in the attempt to solve the dispute concerning the origin of the Palaeoindians. This is because the haplotypes have been found to be very accurate. For instance, haplotypes ABCD occur in the present populations of Taiwan, Singapore, Tibet, Mongolia and also in the central part of China. Of a much recent case, the same haplotypes have been found among the Buryat (of the southern sphere of Siberia) and the Tura population. Over 52% of these populations had these haplotypes. On the other hand, the haplotype X is found to exist in North America, in particular, the aboriginal groups such as the Nuu- Chah Nulth, Sioux, the Yakima and  the Ojibwa.

However, this haplotype has not been  found to be situated in the east Asian population. Similarly, haplotype X has not been found to be related to the other variants among the European populations in the aboriginal America (Horton, 1975 pp. 123). However, the same haplotype X was seriously known to have marked the the prehistoric North American population. This makes it probable that the Palaeoindians could either have come from the North America or could have had a common ancestry with the Ojibwa, the Nuu- Chah Nulth, the Sioux and the Yakima.

If they are not related, palaeontologists posit, then some replacement might have occurred, mostly through intermarriage. The most common haplotypes in the world of native America is the haplotype Y which is also known as haplotype 31. It is present in 90% of all males that have already been tested in the Amerinds, Athapaskan, and the Amerinds language speakers. This also shows contact between the Palaeoindians and the above groups at one point in time, which was followed by a separation (David, Barker and Mc Niven, 366 pp. 169).

            The type of life led by the Palaeoindians seem to have been hunting. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that this group made flint tools. Archaeologists unearthed evidence that included the fragments of the stone tools that are known as the flint. Next to these tools were also found remains of the bisons. Further laboratory tests on the bones indicated that the bisons must have lived thousands of years ago. These findings were found in Mexico in 1926. Much more convincing points were scored by the unearthing of a painting in the caves which portrayed the Palaeoindian men pointing their sharp pointed flint tools at a bison (Devereux, 2002 pp. 567).

Later on, with much intensified researches, more tools were found. Falling within this rubric included the different forms of scrappers, great and numerous numbers of knives, and spokeshaves. It is believed that these tools pointed to the fact that the the Palaeoindians hunted, gathered and slaughtered their animals, made hides from these animals with these tools, shaped weapon shafts (this reveals the existence of  military might and also makes it very possible that the accusation that the Palaeoindians exterminated the original inhabitants of America can be true).

            Archaeologists have also failed to make much out of the red stained rubbing stones and still grapple with a lot of possibilities this could portend, such as tools for initiation, religious sacrifice, or even hunting. Apart from this, other unearthed items that were associated with the Palaeoindian group include the haematite ground cores,sculptured bone discs and beads. Some Anthropologists have explained the existence of the beads as being directly related to aesthetic, beauty and rank (power ) in the society.

However, others posit that the ornaments must have been intimating some form of burial practices where the dead were buried with these bead ornaments together with some of their belongings. The  latest attempt at these explanations posit that the bead ornaments were used for burial but only on special cases (Davis, 207 pp. 66). By This, they meant that burial with these bead ornaments was only carried out on those who were of a certain rank.

            Other historical re constructors and palaeontologists have dismissed these attempts to explain the artifacts on the ground of context. This group argues that for instance the beads should not be explained alone but in relation to the place in which they were found and the other artifacts that were found in proximity to them. This has meant that the theory of burial has been disapproved since there is no way the community could be burying their dead next to or within animal slaughtering points. In addition to this, there is no artifact of human remains  such as bones and skulls within this proximity that can intimate the carrying out of burial practices in the area.

            All the above discoveries that were unearthed in Mexico were further added upon by the successive excavation in 1934, in Folsom area. Apart from additional bison bones, mammoth bones were found, leaving archaeologists with a clear fact that the chief diet of the Palaeoindians was the bison and the mammoth. Although these later discoveries assured archaeologists, palaeontologists and anthropologist that the Palaeoindians were big game hunters, yet unfortunately it did not reveal how the food was prepared (Martin and McIntyre, 1994 pp.102 ).

            Neither the original excavations nor the successive ones have revealed the social stratification and specialization in terms of gender. This is because the excavations do not disclose the role of women in the Palaeoindian society. It is only hoped that with the revolutionization of knowledge and science, new techniques will come in, to usher in new findings.


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