[meteorite-list] Re: More Work on the Crackpot Theory

From: Paul <bristolia_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon Oct 31 11:55:35 2005
Message-ID: <20051031165527.86520.qmail_at_web36203.mail.mud.yahoo.com>

It is true that there is a lot of interesting stuff on the
Internet. However, if a person goes back to the primary
literature, they often find that some of this material, as
interesting as it might be, is based a odd collection of
misinformation, urban legends, and outright fiction.
Where documented facts are cited, too often they have
been very badly garbled by the author of the web page
citing them or they have been edited as to specifically
omit the evidence that conflicts with whatever pet theory
is being discussed. Thus, a person has to carefully to
evaluate what is being said on any one particular web

In one example, Sterling K. Webb wrote:

"However, radiocarbon dates from frozen
mammoth carcasses cluster in two groups: one
around 30,000 to 35,000 years ago and another
about 11,000 to 13,000 years ago. Fairly
coincidental. The more recent ones are New
World mammoths; the older group are
Siberian mammoths."

One problem with this is that there exists a substantial amount
of evidence, which refutes any connection between these mammoth
mummies and a single catastrophic event. Unfortunately, various
web authors automatically presume that these mummified mammoths
are clear evidence of a catastrophe without understanding that
their formation is perfectly explainable by conventional processes.

Another problem is that the clustering of mummified mammoths
about 30,000 to 35,000 years ago and 11,000 to 13,000 years
ago is non-existent as can be seen in the dates listed "Woolly
Mammoths Remains: Catastrophic Origins?" By Sue Bishop at:


Looking at it, it is quite clear that the dates on mummified
mammoths are spread over a range of radiocarbon dates starting
from greater than 50,000 BP to 32,000 - 34,000 BP. Of these
dates, the only mammoth, which lies in this so-called 30,000 to
35,000 BP "cluster", is a clump of mammoth hair from Alaska.
The other mummified mammoths in the older group predate
this older "cluster". There is also a mummified bison that
dates to 31,000 BP. However, two data points fail to constitute
a "cluster".

There is a group of dates consisting of mummified
mammoths, which fall in the 11,000 to 13,000 BP range.
If a person includes a mummified mammoth from Fairbanks
and one from Yuribe, Siberia, a person can argue that the
cluster actually ranges from 9,700 to 15,400 BP. If dates from
a mummified musk ox is included the range can be extended to
17,000 BP. Such a range would it make it impossible for the
mummified mammoths and other mammals to have been
associated with Firestone's catastrophe since there is a
mammoth mummy,which fromed 2,400 years before this
event is alleged to have happened and they continued to form
long after it was over. In fact, an 8,000 year-old mummified
reindeer is known from the permafrost of the Fairbanks region.
This extends the period during which mummified mammals
were formed into the Holocene Stage and well past the time of
Firestone's proposed catastrophe.

Two recently found Siberian mammoth mummies, the Jarkov
Mammoth and the Fishhook Mammoth both fall well outside
of either the 30,000 to 35,000 BP cluster and the 11,000 to
13,000 BP cluster. They are the Fishhook Mammoth, which
dated at 20,620 BP and the Jarkov Mammoth, which dated at
20,380 BP. Neither of these dates lend any support to the
existence of either cluster. They do show that the formation
of mammoth mummies occurred at times outside of either
alleged "cluster" and there is a lack of any relationship of the
mammoth mummies to any known radiocarbon anomalies.

Sterling K. Webb also wrote:

"The extinction at 11,000 to 13,000 years
ago is not called a mass extinction, but it
involved the loss of more than 200 species,
mostly megafauna (large mammals -- 75%
were heavier than 44 kilos). Because of that,
it is widely suspected that Man The Hunter
was the extincting agent!"

This claim is an old misstatement of the facts, which has been
endlessly recycled on various catastrophist web sites despite
having been long known to be quite false. It is true that more
than many genera of mostly megafauna have become extinct
during the Pleistocene. However, it is quiet false to say that
all of them became extinct between 11,000 to 13,000 BP.
It is now well established that the extinction of these genera
occurred at very different times during different extinction
events on different continents as documented in a number of
published papers including:

Anthony D. Barnosky, Paul L. Koch, Robert S. Feranec,
Scott L. Wing, and Alan B. Shabel, 2004, Science.. vol. 306,
no. 5693, pp. 70-75 , 1 October 2004.

By carefully analyzing available radiocarbon and other dates,
they found that four genera of megafauna became extinct in
Europe between 20,000 to 50,000 years and four more became
extinct between 10,000 and 14,000 years ago. It was after 10,000
years ago that mammoth and Irish Elk became extinct in Siberia.
Also, mammoths became extinct on St. Paul Island in the Bering
Sea after 10,000 BP (Guthrie 2004). In Australia, six of these
genera became extinct more than 80,000 years ago, six genera
became extinct between 40,000 to 51,000 years ago, and one
genera became extinct between 28,000 and 40,000 years ago.
Roberts et al (2001) showed that the last extinction event in
Australia occurred around 46,000 BP, which fits none of the
C14 calibration anomalies. It is clear form the available data
that megafauna extinctions were occurring at very different
places at very different times, which argues against a single,
or even two, global cosmic catastrophes having produced
the extinction events, which occurred at various times during
the Pleistocene.

The most striking of these extinction events is North America
between 10,000 and 12,000 BP when 15 genera of megafauna
became. However, detailed research lead by Dr. Thomas Stafford
has demonstrated that this terminal Pleistocene extinction event
actually consisted that were **two**, not **one**, distinct
periods of megafauna extinction. Stafford et al. (2005) stated

"Direct radiocarbon dates on extinct New
World megafauna are evidence that the
extinction occurred as two distinct events.
Non-proboscidean megafauna species went
extinct ca. 11,400-11,300 RC yr. BP,
whereas Mammuthus and Mammut
survived until ca. 10,900 RC yr. BP."

(Note: Another similar discussion of the complexities of
Pleistocene extinctions can be found in Elias (1999).

Looking at both Stafford et al. (2005) and Elias (1999), a
person has to wonder how a supernova can first wipe out the
non-proboscidean megafauna species and then 400 years later,
wipe out the the last of the mammoths and mastodons and
leave remnant populations of mammoths on Wrangle Island
in Siberia and St. Paul Island in Alaska.

In case of American horses, Guthrie (2003) showed that there
was a rapid decline in body size prior to becoming extinct about
12,500 BP in Alaska. Thus, not only did horses become extinct
in Alaska long before Firestone's proposed catastrophe but were
also being subject to some sort of environmental stress, which
Guthrie (2003) rejected as being human hunting, thousands of
years before it. Given the multiple and diachronous nature of
Pleistocene extinctions, cosmic catastrophes simply do not fit
the facts despite being wonderful and poetic Deus ex Machina
that many people use to explain them.


Guthrie, R. D., 2003. Rapid body size decline in Alaskan
Pleistocene horses before extinction. Nature. vol 426, pp
169-171. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature02098.

Guthrie, R. d., 2004). Radiocarbon evidence of mid-Holocene
mammoths stranded on an Alaskan Bering Sea island. Nature.
vol.429,pp. 746-749.

Elias, S. A., 1999, Quaternary Paleobiology Update Debate
continues over the cause of Pleistocene megafauna extinction"
in the The Quaternary Time: Newsletter of the American
Quaternary Association. vol. 29 no. 1, (May 1999) at:

Roberts, R. G., Flannery, T. F., Ayliffe, L. K., Yoshida, H.,
Olley, J. M., Prideaux, G. P., Laslett, G. M., Baynes, A.,
Smith, M. A., Jones, R., and Smith, B.L., 2001, New Ages for
the Last Australian Megafauna: Continent-Wide Extinction
About 46,000 Years Ago. Science. vol. 292, no. 5523,
pp. 1888-1892.

Stafford, T. W., Jr., Graham, R., Lundelius, E., Semken, H.,
McDonald, G., and Southon, J., 2004, 14C-Chronostratigraphy
of Late Pleistocene Megafauna Extinctions in Relation to Human
Presence in the New World. Clovis in the Southwest: Technology
Time and Space October 26-29, 2005, Columbia Metropolitan
Convention Center, Columbia, South Carolina.

Also, the claim that conventional scientists, as a rule, regard
humans as the sole cause of these Pleistocene extinctions is
simply not true. In fact, there now exists a wide divergence of
opinion and a lack of any real consensus as to what, if any role,
humans played in any the several extinction events, which
occurred during the Pleistocene Epoch. Good examples of this
are Gutherie (2003), Stafford et al. (2005), and Barnosky et
al. (2004) cited above.

As far as Firestone's claim that the Carolina Bays were produced
by his hypothesized terminal Pleistocene catastrophe, a person
should read through "An Evaluation of the Geological Evidence
Presented By ''Gateway to Atlantis'' for Terminal Pleistocene
Catastrophe" at;


Best Regards,


Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005
Received on Mon 31 Oct 2005 11:55:27 AM PST

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