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ATLANTIS & the Atlantic Ocean

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Author Topic: ATLANTIS & the Atlantic Ocean  (Read 22104 times)
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« Reply #195 on: December 27, 2008, 09:30:46 pm »

Researchers have observed, again by studying contemporary preliterate people, that bands become inefficient when they grow large. Inevitably, as a group expands, people break away and form new bands. As the number of PaleoIndians mounted near the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee Rivers, new groups likely separated and headed for other territories. It was during this time of expansion, sometime in the Early PaleoIndian period between 11,500 and 11,000 years ago, that the first people passed through land now occupied by Fort Benning and left the two distinctive Clovis spear points.
What they were doing, where they came from, and where they were going can only be speculated. Perhaps they were trailing big game or searching for a new home or for rock outcrops where they could extract materials for tools. In all probability, they camped on spots with a good view of the wide Chattahoochee River.

Just as with many Clovis spear point discoveries in the Southeast, there was no other evidence-no other tools, no campfire charcoal, no sign of housing-found with the artifacts on Fort Benning. This doesn't mean that Early PaleoIndians didn't burn fires or build shelters. Signs could have been destroyed in the acidic soils or buried under centuries of river sediment. Future excavations may yet reveal such evidence. It is also possible that scientists don't yet recognize all the tools PaleoIndians used.

Whatever drew PaleoIndians to the region, one of their most likely activities was hunting. PaleoIndians in the Southeast ate a variety of foods. They probably gathered nuts and leafy plants, dug up roots, and also hunted small game such as deer and rabbit. There is little doubt, however, that they also tracked large animals, such as the giant sloth-a slow-moving mammal standing up to 18 feet tall-the grizzly bear, and the elephant-like mastodons and mammoths.

Ideas about how PaleoIndians hunted such massive animals comes, in part, from research about African elephants. Other information derives from PaleoIndian sites in the western United States where dry conditions help preserve bone better than in the Southeast. Scientists have found PaleoIndian spear points lodged between mammoth rib bones and embedded in ribs of prehistoric bison, proof of the hunting prowess of early people. PaleoIndian spear points have also been found near mammoth skeletons in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Mastodon bones and fluted points have also been located together in Missouri.

Even in the Southeast, where environmental decomposition complicates discoveries, some limited evidence of PaleoIndian interaction with large Ice Age species exists. Archeologists exploring underwater sites in Florida have recovered a prehistoric bison skull with an embedded spear point fragment and a prehistoric horse skeleton and mammoth bones with cut marks apparently made by humans.

While other signs of hunting are slim, scientists have little doubt that PaleoIndians were pursuing large Ice Age creatures in the South. Scuba divers near St. Simon's Island, Georgia recently surfaced with remains of a giant sloth. The sloth in life stood 14 feet tall and 22 feet long and weighed perhaps six tons. Slow-moving animals that looked somewhat like bears, sloths were vegetarians. They stood on hind legs and reached high into trees, using 12-inch claws to snare tree limbs and pull them within reach.

Another recent find was a fossilized, Ice-Age elephant bone on a beach at Edisto Island, South Carolina. Someone thousands of years ago apparently carved grooves in the bone with a knife. Large prehistoric animals also roamed the area around Fort Benning. Just south of the post in Stewart County, Georgia a mastodon tooth was recovered. Scientists speculate that the mammoth, the mightiest of Ice Age animals, also roamed in the area, though in lesser numbers than the mastodon.

Mammoths stood up to 12 feet tall and weighed thousands of pounds, dwarfing the PaleoIndian hunters. Their tough hides and shaggy hair insulated the creatures from frigid weather. Long, sharp, semicircular tusks, along with massive size and surprising speed, provided protection from enemies. Such formidable defenses meant the mammoths faced no serious predators except for humans.

To hunt the mammoth, the PaleoIndians had to keep careful watch on their intended prey by often lurking downwind at watering holes. The hunters targeted animals that strayed from the herd and those that appeared weakest-the sick, the old, and the young. Even so, attacking a mammoth required courage, intense concentration, and cooperation. Hunters had to rely on surprise by sneaking undetected within a few feet of the animal. When they rose up to attack, they had to be close enough to throw or jab their spears with sufficient force to pierce the mammoth's tough hide. Then they had to scramble out of the way or be crushed because the wounded creature might thrash about or charge with horrifying speed. The noise and confusion of trumpeting mammoths and thundering hooves must have been deafening and terrifying. All the effort and danger proved worthwhile if the hunt was successful because the PaleoIndians were rewarded not only with ample meat, but also with raw materials for housing, clothing, and tools.

« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 09:31:40 pm by dhill757 » Report Spam   Logged
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