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12,000 - 14,000 Epic Carving On Fossil Bone Found In Vero Beach, Florida

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Author Topic: 12,000 - 14,000 Epic Carving On Fossil Bone Found In Vero Beach, Florida  (Read 534 times)
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« on: June 05, 2009, 09:47:01 am »



Around the country and abroad, Purdy sought out experts in Upper Paleolithic art, Late Pleistocene geology, paleontology and Paleoamerican archeology. She asked them to examine photographs and an electron microscope picture of the bone and carved image. None so far has voiced a reason to doubt the object’s authenticity, although tests and examinations continue.

One test, a rare earth element analysis, is expected to be concluded this week to determine where in Florida’s geological strata or layers the bone was originally located. This powerful new method utilizes the process of fossilization itself.

When bones become fossilized, calcium is slowly replaced by minerals including rare earth elements like scandium and cerium. Bone takes up these rare earth elements, or REEs, in direct proportion to the amount present in the particular strata of earth where the bone was originally located.

This gives the bone a unique REE signature that confirms the earth layer where a bone originally lay and gives an idea of its age. Scientists can then compare the results to those of others fossil bones found in similar settings in Vero Beach.

The discovery of the etching brings a vivid clarity to the idea that early humans lived in our county among the extinct animals of Florida’s Pleistocene epoch.

The Pleistocene spanned from 1.8 million to about 10,000 years ago. Many types of trees, mosses, insects, mollusks, flowering plants, birds, and mammals survive today from the last years of that era.

The Pleistocene was also characterized by large land mammals. Mammoths and their cousins the mastodons, as well as bison, llamas, saber-toothed cats, giant ground sloths, and other large animals, roamed the then-drier landscapes of Florida.

Native horses and camels galloped across Florida grasslands that resembled today’s African savannahs. They disappeared at the end of the last Ice Age with the advent of a wetter climate. Shorelines retreated to what they are today as water held in ice returned to the seas.

No one knows when the first people arrived in Florida, or how many waves of such people may have lived here as climate and geography went through tremendous changes.

The first inhabitants of North America were small groups of nomadic huntergatherers; few signs of their existence have been found. Most linguists and physical anthropologists believe these people originally came primarily from Siberia. Moving eastward across the wide Bering land bridge known as Beringia, they may have arrived in North America as much as 30,000 years ago or even before.

The earliest people’s remains and artifacts are rare amid the more abundant evidence of those who lived much later. In Florida, rapid commercial development has sometimes led to disruption or even destruction of fossil sites. When professionals are called in, sometimes they must work in haste as projects want to push forward.

Despite that, a wealth of spearheads, knives, blades, scrapers and other tools made of stone, as well as tools made of ivory or the bones of extinct animals have been found throughout the United States and from Florida. Yet, nothing like the carved mammoth image has ever been found. Such evidence of artistic representation is known from the caves of Europe and the steppes of Asia, but not North America.

This is hardly the first time an important fossil find has occurred here. Amateur fossil hunters other than James Kennedy have found the bones of large Pleistocene mammals at various locations around the county.

The unique characteristics of Florida’s geology account for this improbable sounding reality. The peninsula is formed entirely of sedimentary rock lying upon a foundation of thick limestone. The limestone was laid down when the state was covered by shallow seas between 65 and 20 million years ago.

There are no dinosaur fossils in Florida, but plentiful mammals are often discovered in old streambeds and sinkholes. Fresh water was more scarce during the Pleistocene than today, and animals and people flocked to sources of the precious liquid. These circumstances mean that mammal fossils are not generally encased in rock or found deep below the surface as they can be elsewhere.
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