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Re: Extinction Distinctions



 >The Quarternary extinctions are a bit out of the scope of this list
 but
 >they have been brought up by others in a couple of contexts.My gripe
 is
 > with the "prehistoric overkill" hypothesis. ...
 > Problem: the dates for human habitation are consistently being
 pushed
 > back _well_ beyond 11,000 b.p. for North and South America, ...
 > The same is true for Australia where human contact is now
 >placed at 40,000 BP One might make the case for a major cultural
 change
 > that led to the over hunting of megafauna, but that requires some
 special
 > pleading.

Not for North America, at least.  A major cultural change is
*known* to have taken place then - the appearance of the Clovis
Culture.  That is, if there were pre-Clovis peoples, the Clovis
Culture represents major cultural shift, one that spread across
North America.

There are also know mass kill sites from the Clovis and immediate
post-Clovis period.
 >
 > That people hunted megafauna is not in doubt. Overkill is a
 projection of
 > the man-the-hunter stereotype into the past. The past is a place,
 and the
 > overkill hypothesis makes a place where it is "natural" for humans
 to
 > drive species into extinction. This projection into prehistory
 serves as
 > a justification for the contemporary human mediated extinctions.

Huh?  Hardly.  Just because we have doen the wrong thing before,
this hardly *justifies* doing it again!

[By the way, there *is* at least one fairly solid case for
aboriginal peoples driving something to extinction - the
Moas on New Zealand, by the Maori]

swf@elsegundoca.ncr.com         sarima@netcom.com

The peace of God be with you.