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Controversies In Archaeology - Essay Example

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Instructor Date Controversies in Archaeology Natural vs. human causes Towards the end of the Pleistocene period, some of the world’s largest mammals disappeared in North America either they ceased to exist anywhere in the world or they completely disappeared…
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Controversies In Archaeology
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Download file to see previous pages At the end of Pleistocene period, these animals had completely disappeared or extinct. In Asia and Europe, a similar pattern of extinction of Pleistocene mammal took place where lions, bear, and woolly rhino disappeared (Fagan 47). The central question that archeologist and paleontologists ask is what caused the extinction of these large mammals in such a short time span? Some archaeologists, scientists, and paleontologists have proposed that the demise of these mammals can be attributed to the climatic changes while others such as Paul Martin have attributed it to the human cause or hunting overkill. Martin’s explanation of the disappearance of the largest mammals towards the end of Pleistocene period has not received endorsement from North American Pleistocene archaeological and paleontological records. It has been a controversial topic in archaeology since the 1860s with some archaeologists arguing that human hunters were the ones responsible for the extinction of the Pleistocene mammals. Currently, the issue of human hunters being blamed for the disappearance of the world’s biggest creatures has been disputed with scholars from North America, Western Europe, and Australia arguing that mammal extinction during the Pleistocene period cannot be blamed on the overkill (Meltzer and Grayson 586). The theory of overkill has been disputed because of lack of sufficient evidence. Paleontologists and archaeologists argue that the overkill theory was entirely based on beliefs or faith rather than on science and concrete evidence from animal’s remains. Archaeologists such as Paul Martin has attributed the extinction of the world’s largest mammals to human causes as he asserts that their extinctions were because of impact of human hunting in North America. Further, Martin argues that the climatic changes during the interglacial periods did not lead to the demise of the large mammals such as Mammoth at the end of the Pleistocene period because these animals were well adapted to different environments and therefore, they could not succumb to the changes in climate. The appearance of the Clovis hunters in North America 11,000 years ago corresponds to the disappearance of some of the extinct species such as woolly rhinos. The fluted points have been discovered in relation with the bones of the extinct species of these animals such as the bison, horse, mammoth, and camel. These discoveries suggest that the Paleo-Indian and Clovis hunters with quick and effortless access to animals ignorant of the dangerous predators such as lions and bears rapidly eradicated the entire species of large animals they faced (Price and Feinan 152). Martin’s argues that the Clovis group of hunters hunted these Animals, which led to their extinction. Archaeological evidence from these sites and other North American plains contained the remains of mammoth, which made Martin assert that the Clovis hunters hunted these animals. This reasonable observation was then translated into generalization that the Clovis people were big game hunters even there was no (and still there is no) evidence for such specialization. Due to this rationale, some North America archaeologists have attributed the North American Pleistocene extinction in part to human causes. In order to justify his arguments, Martin used Island extinction to prove that human colonization led to the disappeara ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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