Mapping Clovis Man vs Mammoths – Just Asking

Mirrored from Feet2TheFire blog.

By Steve Garcia

I’ve been reading a paper, Wagespack and Surovell 2003, as a starting point to see what Surovell’s other papers are about.  His paper attempting to shoot down the Younger Dryas Impact hypothesis was pretty bad science; since he was incapable of following test protocols. So when I got a line on some of his other papers, I decided to see what kind of work he normally does.

In this paper I am seeing that he makes an awful lot of assumptions, ones he thinks are reasonable.  But his selection of data is dumbfounding.  He seems to just make shit up too; such as a table on what the average density of mammals large and small over the whole of the USA.  With the vast array of ecosystems slash environments in the USA, it is unfathomable that anyone would make up ONE table and give ONE average density and think it could or would apply to the entire country.  One of the oddest things about it is that it includes both Asian elephants and African elephants – but does NOT include mammoths – the subject of his paper.

To cut to the chase, let’s show some maps…

PIDBA Figure 01

I LOVE this map! Except for a few regions (which may be a long term sampling problem) you might match this up quite well with maps of population density in North America in modern times. Does this mean, I wonder, if Paleo-Indians were as bright as we are in terms of livable land? Also, note the quite dense artifact density in the Southeastern and Appalachian regions.  (source:


Note here, in particular, the lack of mammoths and mastodons in the SE USA and Tennessee valley and southern Mississippi valley. Basically next to no mastodons and mammoths. (source:

Clovis sites used in Waguespack & Surovell 2003

And here, Surovell’s/Waguespack’s map, discussing the hunting preferences of Clovis Man, which purportedly is discussing how Clovis Man might have hunted other game than mammoths and mastodons. Note that where the most PEOPLE (artifacts) are found, Surovell and Waguespack don’t show ANY sites studied. They ONLY show them in the regions where mammoth bones and mastodon bones have been found.

Okay, so those captions should give some idea of where I am going.  S&W 2003 biases their entire paper by using data ONLY from locations INSIDE the mammoth-mastodon areas.  Now if the real purpose of the paper were to offer that Clovis Man actually hunted OTHER than mastodons and mammoths, one would think the authors would pay SPECIAL attention to the areas where it seems mastodons and mammoths simply didn’t go – the areas in which hunters COULD NOT hunt mastodons and mammoths, simply because there WERE NONE.

If Clovis Man was a predominantly or solely mastodon and mammoth hunter, WHY would they locate so much in areas where mastodons and mammoths didn’t exist?

It doesn’t matter WHAT they found in areas where mastodons and mammoths DID exist, if the question is “What else might they have hunted?”  The clear answer would SURELY be in the regions lacking mastodons and mammoths.

Is it just me, or does everyone smell cherry picking?

Yet W&S simply IGNORE that region.

They make sure that they ONLY look in mastodon and mammoth regions to find out wheat else Clovis Man was eating.  One would think it is only necessary to look at what was in the Tennessee River Valley and the lower Mississippi Valley, and the Great Smokies and Blue Ridge.

My one visit to the Smokies/Blue Ridge area happened to be in August of 1997, when everything of north was all brown and dried up from lack of rain and too much sun.  Even lower down, around Charlotte, everything was brown and dried up.  Not so, the Blue Ridge.  I honestly thought it was the greenest place I’d ever seen.  My traveling companion, my boss, told me that it was the original home of the Cherokee Indians.  I could see why they would choose it – they weren’t stupid.  Neither, I suspect, were the Clovis people who lived there.  If heaven has any prettier places, then heaven is worth seeing.

In climate change/global warming articles and most papers, it is humorous how, even when it isn’t appropriate, in the last paragraph or so, there is some bow to the “CO2-is-evil” mantra.  Shall we put this cherry picking by W&S down to obsequiousness on their part, a bow to the OTHER mantra?  That “Clovis Man-was-Evil”?

* * * *

And now, to add insult to injury. . .

It is WELL KNOWN that all searches for Clovis points in Siberia have turned up nothing.  The standard line that Clovis Man was THE first people to come to the Americas – called “Clovis First” – was busted in 1997 with the long overdue acceptance of the Monte Verde site in Chile, which predated by about 1,000 years the opening or the :ice free corridor” in the eastern Canadian Rockies.

A VERY IMPORTANT POINT:  The vast majority of mammoths were not in North America.  Where WERE they?  In Siberia!  and where is the evidence IN SIBERIA that humans were killing off the mammoths THERE?

If you answer “none” you win the golden ring.

Look at the maps above and see how FEW flaked points have EVER been found in the NW of North America.  String that together with Siberia and we have a VERY long trail of. . . well, pretty much NOTHING.  The Hansel and Gretel trail that SHOULD point back to Siberia – DARN!  It isn’t there!

So, in Siberia – where the Clovis people were supposed to have come from  -there are no Clovis points or anything LIKE them, AND in Siberia there is no evidence of humans wiping out mammoths.  No evidence. No evidence.  But for close to SEVENTY years, that was what was not only taught and repeated, but defended almost at the point of a gun.

Now, where do we REALLY see Clovis points?  (Trust me, people, they do NOT want you noticing this…)

In the FAR CORNERS of North America, that’s where.  The farthest regions from the corner where the Asians came from.

One of two things is suggested as most likely here:

1.  The men that came from Asia (and the DNA does say that they DID), did NOT bring Clovis points with them.  (this would suggest that the Clovis points met up with them in the Eastern USA.  In other words, there would be no connection at ALL between the Clovis points and the people as they crossed Beringia.

2.  The mammoth hunters came OUT OF THE EAST – evidently AFTER encountering the bifacial fluted points now called Clovis points.

It all remains to be see.

But the “Clovis came over Beringia” idea is based on PREMATURE conclusions,  so common in paleontology and archaeology.  Out west they had a FEW evidences of Clovis points in widely dispersed locations, and the first ones were found out West, and they had already decided that the first Americans had come over the land bridge, so they simply mooshed the two ideas together, without even ONCE saying that the idea was tentative.  So since they found them out west first, of COURSE they came from somewhere out west, right?  VOILA!  Clovis Man came over the land bridge and started killing mammoths for all they were worth.

It was a simple random – and VERY misleading – chance occurrence that that first Clovis point was found near Clovis, NM, instead of in, say, Kentucky.  If that point had been found in the East somewhere, the bulk of the 20th century would not have been wasted on that stupid, STUPID premature conclusion.

Published in: Uncategorized on May 10, 2014 at 9:33 pm  Comments (8)