Thursday, January 29, 2009

First Americans Paper in PNAS

PNAS published a review paper on the peopling of the Americas authored by Tom Dillehay.
I have to say it strikes me as kind of an odd paper to appear in a journal like PNAS. Its title is 'Probing Deeper into First American Studies' and yet it really doesn't report anything new and as a review paper goes the synthesis of existing data is just sort of... so so. Also interesting is that even though it explicitly addresses different ideas about how the New World was colonized, it does not cite a paper written on this very topic that was published in this very journal within the last year. Is that odd? I think so. Especially since its a novel and interdisciplinary approach to understanding migrations and that is exactly what Dillehay says we need more of...
Here's a quote from the paper:

"Places of origin, dates of entry, routes of dispersion, and types of early cultural lifestyles lie at the heart of the debate over the initial peopling of the Americas. Fresh thinking about these and other issues has occurred because of the recent demise of the Clovis-first paradigm to explain the initial peopling of the Americas (2, 6, 7, 8) and because of new and more flexible interdisciplinary research directions."

I have to admit I'm also a bit tired of the Monte Verde crowd claiming that the 'Clovis-first paradigm' has been defeated because of sites like, well... Monte Verde, which is much more problematic than we're aloud to acknowledge. If you do question it, prepare to be berated by Dillehay and his friends. (Also, 'paradigm' ? really? clearly Clovis-first is nothing like an actual paradigm as defined by Thomas Kuhn. Just a pet peeve...)

Just the same, this will continue to be a hot topic in archaeology and hopefully the issues raised in this short reivew will be resolved with new data and research in the future.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Water bears: just because everyone should know about these

This doesn't come from an obscure source or anything like. Just NPR's Science Friday, but here's a very cool video they posted on their website. Enjoy it.
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