Neanderthals, the End Times

9 Aug 2012

What wiped out the Neanderthals continues to fascinate anthropologists and others but unfortunately they do not wish to embrace the idea of catastrophism - in any shape or form. At ... it seems a layer of crypto-tephra, described as a fine volcanic glass that is erupted out of volcanoes, has been found at around 40,000 years ago, carpeting a massive area of central and eastern Europe. It is thought to have come from an Italian volcano - the Camparian Ignimbrite. The eruption, previous researchers have said, and the ensuing climatic downturn, aided in the extinction of the Neanderthals. The latest research is published in PNAS by some 40 scientists, including Chris Stringer and Mark Lewis of the Natural History Museum in Kensington. Needless to say, catastrophism was ruled out - suppressed, one might say. The crypto-tephra lies above the point where modern human 'stone tools' began to replace Neanderthal 'stone tools' and must therefore have been laid down after the arrival of modern humans, the favoured tool for extinctifying the Neanderthals. Not in the English language you say - but neither is catastrophism at the beating heart of science. Notice, the study rests on the stone tool transition point - nothing to do with the actual layer of crypto-tephra (a strange way of describing glass). There is no definitve evidence to the contrary. Notice also the term ignimbrite, assumed to be volcanic in origin for want of a better uniformitarian explanation. It should also be noted that 40,000 years ago is the boundary point or limit of reliable C14 methodology - or the point at which C14 becomes unusable as a result of an extensive plateau (or injection of the stuff). Does this imply something big happened between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago? I don't know but I wonder why the 40 scientists are so confident in their explanation.

Meanwhile, at ... we learn that ecologists and environmentalists of the consensus persuasion have got it all wrong - once again. The Mount St Helens eruptions destroyed vast tracts of forest in the western Cascades but it seems, contrary to the popular paradigm, rare species actually prefer the newer woodland growth than the older more ancient woodland. Hence, destruction of ancient woodland is not necessarily as destructive as assumed by the consensus as new growth provides perfect conditions for some species to thrive. Replanting swathes of closely spaced forest after logging operations has been part of environmentalist demands, the prevailing paradigm. Such planting can be detrimental to wildlife in general as even elk, deer and bighorn sheep prefer to feed off young juicy shoots in preference to older more established shrubs and trees. Timber harvests, according to the non-consensus brand of environmentalism, can actually be geared to mimic natural disturbance - including landscape fires (= clear felling regimes). The idea is to recreate the habitat most preferred by most of the wildlife rather than getting  trees back in the ground as quickly as possible. In Britain various ecologist and environmentalist research has also changed opinion on the idea of a vast pristine forest that covered most of the country. It is now thought that natural means, such as landscape fires, created breaks and clearings in the primeval forest and deer and wild cattle kept new growth at bay by browsing - feeding on the young shoots of new tree and shrub plant growth.