That all changed in when a team of high-profile archaeologists visited a site in southern Chile called Monte Verde. There Tom Dillehay of Vanderbilt University claimed to have discovered evidence of human occupation dating to more than 14, years ago—a thousand years before the Clovis hunters appeared in North America. Like all pre-Clovis claims, this one was controversial, and Dillehay was even accused of planting artifacts and fabricating data.
But after reviewing the evidence, the expert team concluded it was solid, and the story of the peopling of the Americas was thrown wide open.
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How did people get all the way to Chile before the ice sheets in Canada retreated enough to allow an overland passage? Did they come during an earlier period of the Ice Age, when this inland corridor was ice free? Or did they come down the Pacific coast by boat, the same way humans got to Australia some 50, years ago?
Suddenly the field was awash in new questions and invigorated by a fresh quest for answers. In the 18 years since the Monte Verde bombshell dropped, none of these questions have been resolved.
But the original question—Was Clovis first? One location in particular, the Debra L. Friedkin site in central Texas, might even be the earliest place of demonstrable human habitation in the Western Hemisphere. The Friedkin site lies in a small valley in the hill country about an hour north of Austin, where a tiny perennial stream now called Buttermilk Creek, along with some shade trees and a seam of chert, a type of rock useful for toolmaking, made the area an attractive place for people to live for thousands of years.
It was long thought that the earliest Americans were primarily big-game hunters, following mammoths and mastodons across the continent, but this valley was an ideal place for hunter-gatherers. People here would have eaten nuts and roots, crawdads and turtles, and they would have hunted animals such as deer and turkeys and squirrels. But if Waters is right that people were settled here, in the middle of the continent, as early as 15, years ago, when did the first arrivals cross into the New World from Asia?
Time will tell if that represents the initial occupation of the Americas or if there was something earlier. Either way, the newest archaeological evidence comports with an increasingly important line of evidence in our understanding of the peopling of the Americas. In recent years geneticists have compared the DNA of modern Native Americans with that of other populations around the world and concluded that the ancestors of Native Americans were Asians who separated from other Asian populations and remained isolated for about 10, years, based on mutation rates in human DNA.
During that time they developed unique genetic signatures that only Native Americans currently possess. So how and when did the earliest inhabitants of the New World get here? The Channel Islands off the southern California coast are rugged and wild, home to a national park, a national marine sanctuary, and a training post for U.
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Navy SEALs. The archipelago also harbors thousands of archaeological sites, most of them still undisturbed. At the time, the bones were judged to be 10, years old, but 40 years later researchers using improved dating techniques fixed the age at 13, years—among the oldest human remains ever discovered in the Americas. Thirteen thousand years ago the northern Channel Islands—then fused into a single island—were separated from the mainland by five miles of open water.
Clearly Arlington Springs man and his fellow islanders had boats capable of offshore travel. Jon Erlandson of the University of Oregon has been excavating sites on these islands for three decades. Erlandson says that the Channel Island inhabitants might have descended from people who traveled what he calls a kelp highway—a relatively continuous kelp-bed ecosystem flush with fish and marine mammals—from Asia to the Americas, perhaps with a long stopover in Beringia.
So I think you can make a logical argument that they may have continued northward, following the Pacific Rim to the Americas. But imagination is no substitute for hard evidence, and as yet there is none. Sea levels are to feet higher than at the end of the last glacial maximum, which means that ancient coastal sites could lie under hundreds of feet of water and miles from the current shoreline.
Perhaps ironically, the best evidence for a coastal migration might be found inland, as people traveling along the coast would likely have explored rivers and inlets along the way. DNA tests have identified the Paisley Caves coprolites as human, and Jenkins speculates that the people who left them might have made their way inland from the Pacific by way of the Columbia or Klamath Rivers. The celebrity spoke out in favor of lending a helping hand to those affected the most by the economic situation and again gave benefit performances.
He continued to star in films and indulged in his passion for airplanes.
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In August of a small plane carrying Rogers and a pilot friend, on their way to survey air routes from the United States to the Soviet Union, crashed over Point Barrow, Alaska, killing the entertainer. Rogers was fifty-five. His death was an occasion of national mourning. Newspapers and radio commentators praised him, a memorial was dedicated near his Oklahoma birthplace, and several volumes of his speeches, essays, broadcasts, and sayings appeared in print.
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Will Rogers is remembered as one of the best-loved celebrities of his era and one of the twentieth century's best-known humorists. Forty years after his death, collections of his essays and quips were still appearing in bookstores. Alworth, E. Will Rogers. Boston: Twayne, Brown, William R. Imagemaker: Will Rogers and the American Dream. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, Keating, Francis Anthony. Will Rogers: An American Legend. New York: Harcourt, Rogers, Will.
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The Autobiography of Will Rogers. Edited by Donald Day. Yagoda, Ben.
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The cowboy philosopher Three years later the first two collections of Rogers's humor appeared— The Cowboy Philosopher on the Peace Conference and The Cowboy Philosopher on Prohibition, both published in The cowboy in Europe Rogers next moved onto the international stage of political humor. For More Information Alworth, E. User Contributions: 1. You may want to double check the date that you have listed for Will Rogers birth. The research that I did unanimously listed his birthday as November 4, He referred to the date as having been born on election day.
If you didn't get that right what makes you think I'm going to believe the rest is true? Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: Name:. E-mail: Show my email publicly. Type the code shown:. Public Comment: characters. Send comment. Other articles you might like:. Follow City-Data. Tweets by LechMazur.