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Fossils and Things

13 September 2014

At http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/exceptionally-well-… … concerns insect fossils found in rocks in the Rhone Valley, in limestone outcrops. A new species has been found, a water treader – the kind of aquatic bug you might find in a garden pond. Now, limestone is consider to have an origin in shallow sea locations such as lagoons and the Rhone Valley limestone has lots of fish and marine shells and even plants that are assumed to have been washed into the tropical sea. However, the discovery of land based insects is a novelty – found in what are sediments. Were they washed into the sea like the plants – possibly even clinging to plants.

Lagoons are a favourite geological topographical feature and you'll find plenty of lagoons popping up in the literature, even in Britain. It is a convenient way to account for a mixture of marine and land life forms – as in the Rhone Valley limestones.

At http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/toothless-dinosaurs… … a dinosaur the size of a labrador retriever has been found in Alberta (at Horseshoe Canyon near Drumheller). The problem si that it had not teeth – so how did it eat? It seems like it had what is described as a proto-beak and ate plants (as in a water bird).

At http://westerndigs.org/first-columbian-mammoth-with-hair-discovered-on-c… … this is a wonderful web site on archaeology in N America. We are told an artichoke farmer ploughing one of his fields unearthed fossils of bison, camel, mastodon – and a columbian mammoth that had tufts of hair still intact. How does that happen? Was it deposited rapidly and deep enough to preserve the tufts of hair. In addition, how did so many animals end up in ancient grave?

Archaeologists, apparently, are not looking for evidence of a catastrophe. They are looking for evidence of a human killing spree – a site where animals were butchered (but why were they buried)? Human projectiles are so far absent from the site – but that does not lessen the quest. Lots of animal bones are yet to be dug out – there are so many of them the archaeologists and palaeontologists were overwhelmed and stopped digging.

Elsewhere, in Idaho, at another site, there is lots of evidence of human points and projectiles – go to http://westerndigs.org/13500-year-old-tool-making-site-uncovered-in-idah… … and at a different point in time. The site is packed with stone points found in a layer of soil with charcoal that has been dated between 13700 and 13500 years ago. This period is defined as a warm phase of climate, the Alleroed – which immediately precedes the Younger Dryas cooling event. Rabbits appear to have been on the menu – can't beat a nice rabbit stew. The post continues by saying that people of the Western Stemmed Points tradition must have been living in the NW region before Clovis people – long designated as Clovis First. In this instance, the Western Stemmed Tradition was contemporary Clovis (principally found in SE N America. The Western Stemmed Tradition people must have entered the Americas by the coastal route – how did Clovis get there? The stone tools in Idaho reflect either a movement of people from the NW or is evidence of trade with that region as some of the rock has an origin in Montana and Oregon.

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