Oldest human art now from Tibet?

This article reports on hand prints and footprints found in Tibet, made by children, as art. Either modern humans were far from Africa that long ago or another branch – Denisovian, or Neanderthal – also created art.


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Ancient technology

The article below describes in some detail the revealing of an ancient technology used to trap fish using wooden stakes, woven nets, and the tides. A very very simple concept – construct fish traps on the shore such that fish enter the traps at high tide and then are trapped in shallow pools when the tide goes out. People take the fish they need and let the rest go. The stakes and systems examined here seem to be 1300 years old, but the concept is so simple, using natural materials, it’s hard not to think humans did the same thing tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of years ago. Of course, throughout most of human history the sea level was lower than today, because of the ice advances and retreats, meaning any evidence of most traps has been buried deep in the water since.

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The genetic plot thickens

When the Kennewick Man was discovered in Washington State a great argument ensued. Native tribes demanded that the bones remain with them, as an honored ancestor of 9,000 years ago. Others – non-Natives – argued the Kennewick Man carried “Western” traits (whatever the heck that means) and might have origins from Europe. A battle ensued. Along the way, of course, DNA analysis and genetic testing has evolved rapidly, such that today there are complete genomes of ancient peoples available from both the Old and New World. Recently, as the article below describes in fascinating detail, Kennewick Man has been confirmed as a true Native American ancestor, and his remains returned. It is still the strong belief, supported by evidence, that Native American peoples came from Eurasia, mainly Siberia, some 15,000 to 24,000 years ago. We have already forgotten that just two decades ago the STRONG belief was that nobody was in the Americas until the “Clovis” people appeared 12,000 years ago. As every year passes, dramatic rethinking is being forced by new finds:

  • Ancient people reached the Americas at least 20,000 years ago, and maybe much earlier;
  • Ancient peoples understood maritime seafaring and wandered widely, but during a time when sea levels were much lower such that all their sites are now covered;
  • Ancient patterns of trade and resource exchange were complex and widespread, often covering thousands of miles;
  • All during human development the climate has changed, some times rapidly, in enormous swings, equally as dramatic then as the current concerns about global warming have people panicking today;
  • There is now a begrudging acceptance that humans living in the time of the great animals were, for thousands of years, NOT the top predator, but barely able to linger in out of the way protected sites.

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