Random Tusks

Tusk Exclusive: Vance Holliday informal critique of the Younger Dryas Boundary theory

Vance Holliday and others in this email exchange have kindly allowed me to post their chatter to the Tusk.

I will clean it up later. But for now – here you go…..

On 9/24/2010 2:38 PM, Vance Holliday wrote:


All I asked was why is it that when us skeptics can’t reproduce

data or confirm hypothesis for The Impact Team we are accused of slipshod

science or incompetence, yet The Impact team seems to always find what

they are looking for???  Has anyone on The Impact Team critically looked

at their own data? Questioned their hypothesis? Isn’t that was science

is about?

And are we really expected to believe that Vance Haynes can’t

find the Black Mat???

I guess I could just as easily say to you “Fortunately science

is not based on opinions but instead on measurements. Dozens of scientists

bringing unique skills to the subject have provided an enormous amount of

experimental data providing no support for the idea of an impact at the

onset of the YDB. A few, highly biased scientists threw together some

slipshod experiments to support their hypothesis.”

I must confess to growing very weary of unsubstantiated

accusations of incompetence, slipshod science, and bias toward everyone

who doesn’t buy or who presents data contrary to the YD Impact

Hypothesis. All of the people who tested the hypothesis and came up

wanting or those who tried to reproduce the data are just trying to figure

out what is going on. I know many of them. All are highly respected in

their various fields. None had any biases or agendas that I am aware of.

What is your basis for calling them “highly biased”? On what basis do

you decide that their experiments are “slipshod”?  Because their data

don’t confirm yours???

Like most of the skeptics (I am guessing), I don’t actually care

whether there was an impact or not. I just want to know one way or another

because a lot of my work deals with the late Pleistocene/early Holocene.

But good science requires that new ideas be questioned and tested.

Apparently we are all supposed to uncritically buy everything we are told

by The Impact Team.

You repeatedly asked me to explain that long list of apparent

contradictions. I don’t have to. When proposing a new hypothesis,

especially an “outrageous hypothesis,” the burden of proof is on your

team to explain inconsistencies. So far it seems that most of you have

decided to simply accuse all skeptics of not knowing what we are doing

rather questioning your own work.

But I’ll address a couple of your questions that I know something about.

How else do you explain how Haynes found enormous concentrations

of iridium in the metallic fraction that he reported peaked at the YDB,

higher concentrations than we reported, yet he dismissed as somehow


That is easy. I’ll let Vance answer using his own words from his

Reply in PNAS. You should read it, too (or is he also under suspicion?).

We consider our iridium analytical results of 64 ppb and 31 ppb to not be

anomalous because they are less than the 72 ppb for magnetics from the

modern stream bed.

So, is Vance’s Ir data from the stratigraphic section “good science”

while his data from the modern arroyo channel is “slipshod”???

See: Reply to Firestone et al.: No confirmation of impact at the lower

Younger Dryas boundary at Murray Springs, AZ PNAS 2010 107 (26) E106;

published ahead of print June 8, 2010,

How do you explain why according to Stafford’s and Waters’

radiocarbon dating the Clovis people simultaneously disappeared in both

North and South America at the onset of the YD?

Three answers. First, Clovis people didn’t do that. Five sites

(Mu Spgs, Sheridan Cave, Mill Iron, Lehner, Jake Bluff) out of their

“top 25″ (20%) from their Table 1 are less than 12.9k  Second, there was

no Clovis occupation of South America. Third, their dating is not the last

word on the age range of Clovis.  It is their estimate based on their

selection criteria of available bone. It is good work but a lot of us

think the age range is longer and that they excluded some very good dates

from some very good sites.

See: Comment on “Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the

Peopling of the Americas” Gary Haynes, David G. Anderson, C. Reid Ferring,

Stuart J. Fiedel, Donald K. Grayson, C. Vance Haynes, Jr., Vance T.

Holliday, Bruce B. Huckell, Marcel Kornfeld, David J. Meltzer, Julie

Morrow, Todd Surovell, Nicole M. Waguespack, Peter Wigand, and Robert M.

Yohe, II 20 July 2007 317: 320 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1141960] (in

Technical Comments)

Why are the enormous deep holes in the Great Lakes that radiate

perpendicular to the mid Continent rift not possible evidence of the

missing craters?

First, you should ask a structural geologist about this.

Otherwise, in reference to the “holes,” I saw that you suggest that

“deep holes” beneath four of the Great Lakes could represent impact

craters (in  Journal of Siberian Federal University: Engineering &

Technologies Firestone et al. 2010). You dismiss the possibility these

holes were the result of glacial erosion, citing the latest edition of

Dawson’s Acadian Geology, a book published more than a century ago

(Dawson 1891)!  Evidently, you believe subsequent generations of glacial

and Quaternary geologists working in the Great Lakes failed to notice the

holes’ extraterrestrial origin. Yet, if these holes were caused by an

impact 12,900 years ago (and you provide no evidence the holes are that

old), it is curious that the impacts produced elongated craters at

different orientations, yet each one parallel to local ice flow in the

up-ice end of its lake basin. Well, at least the latest edition of Dawson,

1891, was used!

The interesting thing is that all of the detractors have set

themselves up for infamy in the history of science as the truth comes out.

Really??? Is that how science works?  The losing side of a

scientific debate ends up in “infamy”?  Wow. I wish I was told that in

graduate school. I would have gone into the aluminum siding business.

I’d like to present my own questions and comments to you, based

on quotes directly from some of your papers. Over the past year or two, as

I have gone back to the Firestone, West, and Warwick-Smith book Cosmic

Catastrophe and the 2007 Firestone et al paper in PNAS (the only two

comprehensive statements on the YD Impact hypothesis; neither of which was

peer-reviewed). I’ve come across what are best described as

“interesting” comments or assertions:


When I first came across The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes: Flood,

Fire, and Famine in the History of Civilization I casually flipped through

it and kept coming across comments that I knew to be misstatements if not

grossly in error. Quote clearly, “facts” were fitted into preconceived

ideas. For example, my own research on playas was completely misstated and

what was purported to be my conclusions was essentially the opposite of

what I said! They state (P 216) that because I had a suite of radiocarbon

dates from “the underlying formation” (i.e., from below the fill in

the playa basins, which they mistakenly refer to as “salty salinas”),

then these depressions must have formed at about the same time as the

Carolina Bays (according to their discussion elsewhere, at about 12.9ka)

and they must have been formed by the impact Event. The problem with this

interpretation (as well as interpretations of the Bays – see below) is

that my dates were from the playa fills, which is very clear throughout

the paper, and therefore the depressions must be older than 12.9k. How

could something so clear and straightforward be so stunningly


The dating of the Carolina Bays was largely ignored or misstated

(p. 127). One minute on the internet turned up three GSA abstracts with

OSL dates clearly showing that the sand rims around some Bays date to

between 15,000 and 40,000 years BP  and betw 70,000 and 80,000 years BP.

Some were rims active “during multiple phases over  the past 100,000

years” (Ivester et al, 2004, GSA Abstracts).

But also on p. 127 of The Book, the following statement is

presented: “All of the evidence fits our theory that the rims and bays

formed all at the same instant [i.e., by an “extraterrestrial event”

at around 12.9k]. In support of that, Ivester and coworkers (2003) dated

two bay rims to 11,300 and 12,630 years ago using OSL… We used the same

technique to date two levels of…Bay rim sand… the [OSL) Dating

Laboratory at the University of Washington reported that the ‘highest

age (11,400+/-6100 years) is close to the age of Clovis…’”

This passage contains so much misleading and misunderstood

information that it is hard to know how to start sorting it out.

Luminescence dating produces ages in calendar years, so OSL dates of

11,300 an 12,630 are too young for the “Event” at 12.9k. The mean of

the date determined by the Impact Team at UW is far too young for the

“Event” but moreover, absolutely meaningless given that the standard

deviation is over 50% of the mean age!  But the grossest distortion is the

reference to the work of Ivester et al. In that paper they clearly state

that they are looking at multiple rims formed around some Bays. “Four

concentric rims along the margin of one Bay… selected for dating have

ages of 35,660+ or -2600; 25,210+ or -1900; 11,160+ or -900; and 2,150+ or

-300 years ago…The trend of younger sand rims toward the bay center

indicates that the bay has shrunk in area over the last 36,000 years… An

additional date of 20,390+ or -1600 years documents eolian reworking of

sediment associated with an adjacent bay to the southwest. Another new

luminescence date from the Carolina bay rim bordering Arabia Bay in

southern Georgia shows the rim was active 12,630+ or -1000 years ago.

These dates indicate bay rims were periodically active well after the

maximum advance of the Wisconsin ice sheet.”  A rather remarkable

twisting of words. The dates cited by Ivester et al clearly do not pertain

to the initial formation of any Bay.

The Paleoindian archaeological record in the southeastern U.S. is

described as “well dated” (p. 113). Further (also on p. 113), Al

Goodyear is quoted as saying “…I’m noticing a big drop in the

incidence of spear points dating from right after that time” (13,000

years ago).

This was a surprise because that is flatly not the case. There is

almost no good stratigraphic or radiocarbon record for Clovis and its

variants in the Southeast. Look at any paper or book on the topic. The

artifact style Goodyear was referring to (Redstone) has no numerical age

control at all! Al thinks that it is post-Clovis but it is not dated (Al

told me that last year!).

On to the Blackwater Draw site (Clovis site) in New Mexico. A

visit to the site includes the following description (p. 73):

“18 inches” above the “Event” zone is a ledge “jammed with

spears, tools, and bone.”

I’ve spent a lot of time at the Clovis site, much of it involving

stratigraphic work. There is no  such “ledge.”

And this assertion (also on p. 73): “Eight radiocarbon dates

indicated that no humans had visited Blackwater Draw for more than 1000


There is simply no evidence for this whatsoever. What dates? From

where??? The considerable work at the site by my colleague C.V. Haynes,

and many others, apparently was ignored.

After simply paging through the book and seeing all this

misrepresentation of scientific data and scientific fact, and wholesale

distortion of the work of others, my skepticism began to emerge!

But there’s more! The Firestone et al paper in PNAS, 2007,

contains equally distorted statements.

p.16017:  “Ten Clovis and equivalent-age sites were selected because of

their long-established archeological and paleontological significance,

and, hence, most are well documented and dated by previous researchers.”

In fact, very few of these sites could be considered to have

“long-established archeological and paleontological significance.”

The Clovis site and Murray Springs are arguably the only two.

Morley has no archaeological or paleontological significance

Topper, neither the archaeology nor the geology of the Clovis level has

been published; little has

been published on any aspect of the site.

Daisey Cave is an important archaeological site, but as indicated in the

SI, was not occupied

before 11.5ka

Gainey is probably an important site, but is poorly published.

Chobot is very poorly published

Lake Hind has minimal archaeological significance, no paleontological

significance, and is poorly


P. 16019: “The YDB at the 10 Clovis- and equivalent-age sites has been

well dated to 12.9 ka. “

This is a key point because the hypothesis fundamentally rests on

a demonstration that the layers in question  with the purported impact

markers are all of exactly the same age, or at least as close to

“exactly” as modern numerical dating methods (chiefly radiocarbon) can

get.  But in fact few of the layers are “well dated to 12.9 ka.” (This

is clearly indicated in the SI to the PNAS paper). The North American

sites are:

Murray Springs, AZ

Blackwater Draw, NM     No dates directly linked to sampled section

Daisey Cave, CA

Wally’s Beach, Alberta          “None of the Paleoindian points

recovered was in situ and therefore it is not possible to directly link

the points with the [dated] faunal remains” (Kooyman et al. 2001, 687).

Gainey, MI                        No Black Mat, no dates, no obvious

indication of a 12.9ka level

Topper, SC                        No BM and no dates

Chobbot, Alberta                 No dates

Lake Hind, Manitoba

Morley, Alberta                  No dates

15 Carolina Bays                 No dates

Several of these sites are “dated” by presence of Clovis artifacts,

but that provides no precise indication of the 12.9ka level because the

Clovis occupation was at least several centuries. So using the archaeology

as an age indicator, given the necessity for precise dating, is circular


Five of the nine sites (over 50%) have no numerical age control whatsoever

or no direct numerical age control on the YDB layers; no age control of

any kind is reported for the 15 Carolina Bays (0%).

p. 16017: “Each of the 10 Clovis-age sites displays a YDB layer (average

thickness of 3 cm).”

This is impossible to verify because sampling intervals and

stratigraphic descriptions have never been provided. The comment that the

average thickness of the “YDB layer” is 3 cm is significant in light

of subsequent critiques of sampling by others.

p. 16017:  “We further suggest that the catastrophic effects of this ET

event and associated biomass burning led to abrupt YD cooling, contributed

to the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction, promoted human cultural

changes, and led to immediate decline in some post-Clovis human


The extinction issue is very complicated and in fact no recently

published data shows a synchronous extinction. At the recent AMQUA

meetings, Russ Graham and Tom Stafford (who has also co-authored with some

of the Impact proponents) presented a paper with the latest radiocarbon

dates showing that most fauna was gone by 12.9k and that some mammoth

survived after 12.9. And there is also the work of Gill (2010, Science)

showing that mammoth and other herbivores in the Midwest were on the

decline long before 12.9k (and that work followed other work in the

Northeast showing the same thing).

Moreover, the reference to post-Clovis human population decline is

based on a two-page paper on Redstone artifacts which, as indicated above,

are presumed to be post-Clovis in age (Goodyear, 2006). As noted above,

Redstone is not dated at all.

p. 16018:  “Charcoal displays peaks in the YDB at eight of nine

Clovis-age sites and is present in 15 of 15 Bays, reaching peaks in four

Bays with paleosols.”

And from the Supplemental Information:  “The Bays have poorly

stratified, sandy, elevated rims (up to 7 m) that often are higher to the

southeast. All of the Bay rims examined were found to have, throughout

their entire 1.5- to 5-m sandy rims, a typical assemblage of YDB markers

(magnetic grains, magnetic microspherules, Ir, charcoal, soot, glass-like

carbon, nanodiamonds, carbon spherules, and fullerenes with 3 He).”

The sandy Bay rims are described as “poorly stratified” and

yet some have “buried paleosols.” Which is it? And all Bay rims

sampled have YDB markers throughout, including, presumably, the buried

soils? What does that mean? The Bay rims can’t be used as evidence if

they contain no discrete impact marker layer. The comment suggests that

YDB markers can be found outside of discrete contexts, negating their


p. 16019: “At Murray Springs, Haynes… first reported the presence of

glass-like or ‘vitreous’ carbon in the black mat. In addition, he

chemically analyzed the black mat layer, concluding that it most likely

resulted from the decomposition of charred wood and/or a prolonged algal

bloom, both of which could result from event-related processes (e.g.,

climate change and biomass burning). Some black mats have no algal

component, only charcoal.”

Haynes clearly describes the black mat as an algal layer (and this

is so stated in the SI to the 2007 PNAS paper). How does an algal bloom

result from “event-related processes”?  Algal blooms occur all the

time on the Earth’s surface and almost all in the absence of any

extraterrestrial event.

p. 16020: “if multiple 2-km objects struck the 2-km-thick Laurentide Ice

Sheet at <30°, they may have left negligible traces after deglaciation…

[perhaps]  limited to enigmatic depressions or disturbances in the

Canadian Shield (e.g., under the Great Lakes or Hudson Bay)”

An obvious flaw with that speculation is that by 12,900 years ago

only the Lake Superior basin was still under glacial ice, a fact

well-known and very well documented for decades!

16021: “For humans, major adaptive shifts are evident at 12.9 ka, along

with an inferred population decline, as subsistence strategies changed

because of dramatic  ecological change and the extinction, reduction, and

displacement of key prey species.”

I and other Paleoindian specialists are very familiar with the

North American literature so this was news to us. But sometimes you

don’t see what you are not looking for, so several of us delved in to

the Paleoindian literature so see if these claims have any merit

(discussed below). As noted above, this notion was initially based on

Paleoindian artifact data from the Southeast U.S. This was a surprise

because there is almost no good stratigraphic or radiocarbon record for

Paleoindian archaeology in that region. Much of our work has been on the

Great Plains, which has the best dated regional stratigraphic record of

Paleoindian occupation in North America, so we decided to test the

hypothesis with data from the Great Plains. We see no evidence of any sort

of occupation hiatus at 12.9ka. The end of the Clovis point style tells us

nothing about an impact, and in any case the style persists after 12.9ka.

Arguments that stratified sites with a post-Clovis occupation hiatus

misstate the archaeological and geological records. At sites with multiple

Paleoindian occupations, “sterile” layers between occupation zones are

the norm, whether they separate Clovis from Folsom zones, Folsom from

other Folsom occupations, or any combination of occupations you care to

mention. Moreover, out of >150 Paleoindian sites we looked at in the

literature, over two-thirds are single occupation sites. So whether they

are Clovis, Folsom or late Paleoindian features, there is no occupation

above. Absence of a post-Clovis occupation is not a mysterious

“hiatus,” it is the norm at most Paleoindian sites.

Another general question about the data from impact markers in the

PNAS paper: Why the multiple peaks among the various indicators? E.g.,

double carbon spherule and double charcoal peaks at Chobot; the magnetic

grain and spherule peak higher than the main carbon spherule peak at

Chobot; two Iridium peaks and one carbon spherue peak mathing neither IR

peak at Lake Hind; and a variety of spikes that don’t match up at

Topper. How exactly did that happen? A single “event” should sprinkle

its traces across the continent at the same time (the proponents make this

point over and over). Yet they rarely occur together in the sites. I know

of no sedimentological or weathering process that could so discretely

vertically sort the various indicators.


So, please explain to me again;  who is producing slipshod


Vance Holliday

Vance T. Holliday   http://www.argonaut.arizona.edu/

School of Anthropology & Department of Geosciences

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

At 11:20 AM 9/15/2010, rbfirestone wrote:


Thanks for your opinion.  Fortunately science is not based on opinions but

instead on measurements.  Dozens of scientists bringing unique skills to

the subject have provided an enormous amount of experimental data

supporting an impact at the onset of the YDB.  A few, highly biased

scientists threw together some slipshod experiments that still basically

supported the earlier work but yet were interpreted as proof that nothing

happened.  How else do you explain how Haynes found enormous

concentrations of iridium in the metallic fraction that he reported peaked

at the YDB, higher concentrations than we reported, yet he dismissed as

somehow unrelated?  How do you explain that when Kurbatov et al found a

massive peak of nanodiamonds at the YDB in Greenland ice it doesn’t count

yet when Daulton et al found nothing in Scott’s samples it is somehow

meaningful?  How do you explain why Pinter is allowed to make outrageous

claims that the magnetic spherules are normal cosmic dust when nobody ever

finds these spherules elsewhere in sediment, the generally accepted influx

of cosmic dust is too low to account for a significant concentration in

sediment, and the composition of the YDB metallic spherules is not the

same as cosmic dust?   How do you explain why, according to Haynes, there

are no fossils of extinct mammoths and megafauna within or above the black

mat and it is as if all were gone in an instant?  How do you explain why

according to Stafford’s and Waters’ radiocarbon dating the Clovis people

simultaneously disappeared in both North and South America at the onset of

the YD?  How do you explain why Bill Napier’s comet impact theories, which

can be buttressed by strong evidence of a major increase in recent

impacts, can be wrong while Mark Boslough’s suggestion that large impacts,

including presumably the K-T, never happen could be correct?  Why are the

enormous deep holes in the Great Lakes that radiate perpendicular to the

midContinent rift not possible evidence of the missing craters?  Why are

Pete Schultz’s expermental evidence that high velocity impacts into ice

don’t necessarily produce craters wrong and Boslough’s theories right?

How do you explain the evidence of high-temperature burning in Greenland

ice, highest in over 100,000 years, and the high concentrations of soot in

the YDB layer not seen since the K-T?  The absence of evidence in the

detractors of the YD impact papers is not evidence of absence, especially

when there is a wealth of positive evidence from all kinds of places.  The

interesting thing is that all of the detractors have set themselves up for

infamy in the history of science as the truth comes out.  More data is

about to emerge from sites around the world.


Rick Firestone

PS.  I do agree with the bottled water sentiments.  Our conspicuous

consumption of Earth’s resources needs to stop.

“The money Americans spend on bottled water could pay for bringing fresh

water to all the people in the world who need it.”   —  Lester Brown,

Earth Policy Institute

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On 9/15/2010 10:30 AM, Vance Holliday wrote:

Gentlemen:  Several weeks ago Mark Boslough forwarded comments on the

“YDB” and Vance Haynes sampling at Murray Springs. Whoo boy… Poor old

Vance Haynes, stumbling and bumbling around a site he worked on for over

40 years and he couldn’t find the Black Mat! But when Allen West came

out they went right to the section/samples Allen needed. Good thing he got

Vance straightened out!!

I guess the older we get the less we know about our sites. In my case

I’ve been working on the archaeology and geology at Lubbock Lake in

Texas since the 70s. When I sampled for the YDB I submitted identical

blind splits to both Todd Surovell and to Doug and Jim Kennett. When

results came back from Kennett’s lab that were at odds with what they

expected, the immediate response was that I mislabeled the bag and/or

missampled the section and/or didn’t understand the stratigraphy. Poor,

poor, pitiful me… Well obviously someone with no experience at the site

needs to straighten me out.

I am so glad that The Impact Team regularly and routinely finds exactly

what it wants to find when it samples, and never makes mistakes.

Apparently the rest of us routinely and regularly get it wrong in the

field and in the lab. How exactly does that work???

Vance Holliday

Professor of Anthropology & Geosciences

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

From: “Boslough, Mark B” <[email protected]>

Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 14:54:39 -0600

Subject: Firestone responds

Y’all might be interested in Firestone’s reaction to the latest.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

From: Richard Firestone [ mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:56 PM

To: Hermann Burchard

Subject: Re: CORRECTION: was Re: Fw: Re: Impact hypothesis loses its



Haynes didn’t know exactly where the YD impact layer is since it is mm’s

thick and not exactly at the base of the black mat due to turbation of the

horizon after the event.  Haynes did however see even higher levels of Ir

than we reported in the magnetic fraction which confirmed out work.

Daulton et al isolated microcharcoal aggragates at Murray Springs,

whatever those are, and not the carbon spherules that contain the

nanodiamonds.  It is not clear where they got the Arlington samples since

they communicated with nobody associated with the original paper and just

went fishing for data.  Examining only two specimens of whatever they

found for nanodiamonds was insufficient because only 1 in 10 of carbon

spherules were expected to contain them.  Kennett’s  nanodiamond analysis

from many sites including those reported by Daulton and Kurbatov’s results

from Greenland are unambiguous proof of their presence in the YD impact

layer.  Daulton’s negative result proves nothing except that they couldn’t

find their way to the YD impact layer.  I’ve attached a copy of the

Kurbatov paper.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 10:49 AM, Hermann Burchard

< [email protected] > wrote:


attached please find PDF copy of the Daulton-Pinter-Scott paper from

PNAS on nanodiamonds.  There is the footnote mentioned by Rick Firestone:

“This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.”

About peer-review, there is the note under the title:

“Edited by Mark H. Thiemens, University of California at San

Diego, La Jolla, CA, and approved July 27, 2010 (received for review

March 24, 2010)”

Also, his comment regarding difficulties with obtaining correct samples

from the site at Murray Springs, AZ is interesting.  The authors state

they relied on Haynes et al for dating their samples “from the base of

black mat sediment layer at the same locality and stratum.”


On Tue, 31 Aug 2010, Leroy Ellenberger wrote:

CORRECTION: Contrary to my previous email, Firestone informs me that

Daulton’s PNAS paper was peer reviewed.  I apologize for this error.


“The money Americans spend on bottled water could pay for bringing fresh

water to all the people in the world who need it.”

Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

“The money Americans spend on bottled water could pay for bringing fresh water to all the people in the world who need it.”

Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

Vance T. Holliday   http://www.argonaut.arizona.edu/

School of Anthropology & Department of Geosciences

University of Arizona

Office in Anthropology:

P.O. Box 210030  (U.S. Mail)

1009 E. South Campus Drive (Overnight delivery)

Tucson AZ  85721-0030

office    520-621-4734

dept      520-621-2585

fax       520-621-2088


I’ll take something positive from what you said.  It is fine to be skeptical as long as you leave open the possibility that we are right, which you did.

Haynes showed convincingly that no megafauna fossils exist within or above the black mat.  He argues that this was due to a sudden, catastrophic event.  It is difficult to know what other contributing events may have occurred during the short period of Clovis occupation before the YD.

Stafford and Waters showed that Clovis-age occupation ended nearly simultaneously in North and South America 12,900 years ago.  That says nothing about who or what disappeared.  The people may well have survived beyond this point but it is clear that they stopped hunting megafauna then.  There is certainly a problem with the lack of data, data selection, and radiocarbon dating methods.  Many may not realize that Stafford and Waters used their own radiocarbon calibration methods, not INTCAL which would have given different results.  My opinion is that nobody can do radiocarbon dating to better than 100-200 years, 13 kyr ago, due to the many uncertainties in the radiocarbon record for different locations and experimental problems.

Rick Firestone

“The money Americans spend on bottled water could pay for bringing fresh water to all the people in the world who need it.”
Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute


Vance T. Holliday   http://www.argonaut.arizona.edu/
School of Anthropology & Department of Geosciences
University of Arizona

Office in Anthropology:
P.O. Box 210030  (U.S. Mail)
1009 E. South Campus Drive (Overnight delivery)
Tucson AZ  85721-0030
office  520-621-4734
dept    520-621-2585
fax     520-621-2088

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