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Stalagmite reveals carbon footprint of early Native Americans

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posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 01:41 PM
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A new study led by Ohio University scientists suggests that early Native Americans left a bigger carbon footprint than previously thought, providing more evidence that humans impacted global climate long before the modern industrial era.

Chemical analysis of a stalagmite found in the mountainous Buckeye Creek basin of West Virginia suggests that native people contributed a significant level of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere through land use practices. The early Native Americans burned trees to actively manage the forests to yield the nuts and fruit that were a large part of their diets.

"They had achieved a pretty sophisticated level of living that I don't think people have fully appreciated," said Gregory Springer, an associate professor of geological sciences at Ohio University and lead author of the study, which was published a recent issue of the journal The Holocene. "They were very advanced, and they knew how to get the most out of the forests and landscapes they lived in. This was all across North America, not just a few locations."

Initially, Springer and research collaborators from University of Texas at Arlington and University of Minnesota were studying historic drought cycles in North America using carbon isotopes in stalagmites. To their surprise, the carbon record contained evidence of a major change in the local ecosystem beginning at 100 B.C. This intrigued the team because an archeological excavation in a nearby cave had yielded evidence of a Native American community there 2,000 years ago.


www.physorg.com...


This stalagmite, found in a West Virginia cave, showed a major change in the carbon record at about 100 B.C. (Courtesy Gregory Springer, Ohio University.)


Great find, they are finding more and more right in our own backyard, not all ancient archeology is in Egypt and Africa or the European Continent.




posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by Aquarius1
 



Great find, they are finding more and more right in our own backyard, not all ancient archeology is in Egypt and Africa or the European Continent.


Sometimes it's a dirty, icky business looking into the past. Studies of fossilised human turd...coprolites, have revealed the diets of Americans going back 8000 years. They show how infested with parasites we once where...full of worms. They also show evidence that we ate medicinal plants to alleviate the symptoms.

This is an example of why science is so valuable in uncoveriing our past. The migration of people into America can be loosely tracked by the parasites we brought with us...


The distributions of hookworm, whipworm and threadworm in the prehistoric Americas are best explained by Montenegro’s coastal migration model [47]. He used archaeological hookworm findings, climate data and paleoclimate modeling to test whether peoples migrating from areas compatible to hookworm in Asia across Beringia and into North America could have crossed the distance fast enough to provide an explanation for hookworm in the prehistoric Americas [47]. A model was proposed where, before European contact, all inhabitants of the Americas, except for the Arctic and Subarctic, descended from migrants into the continents by a terrestrial interior route across the Bering Land Bridge at approximately 13 000 years BP
Parasites as probes for prehistoric human migrations?

Yeah I know. It's not got a lot to do with your article, but I love this kind of science and it kinda relates to what life was like around that time. Stomach complaints and agriculture...and people think life was perfect in the past?



posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 02:13 PM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


No problem Kandinsky, love this kind of information also, after all isn't it all related.



posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 02:26 PM
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Cool find!


Seems like we always manipulated the environment around us, it's nothing new. what is new is the scale and "speed" of the changes we inflict these days compared to earlier eras.

Kandinsky, you forgot the ~40 year life spans, the multitude of diseases, the high infant death rates, wound infections, to name a few! Clearly, the past was no cakewalk



posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 02:30 PM
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reply to post by Maegnas
 


Welcome to ATS Maegnas, looking forward to your contribution here, from your post I can see that you are well informed.



posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 03:30 PM
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Thanks!!


I try to read as much as I can, cross reference what I can and form any opinion with enough data available. I do react a bit strongly when faced with outrageous or overstretched "theories" but that is not too often (thank God!)



posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 04:24 PM
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So, this couldn't have been something simple like forest fires? This just sounds like horse ****. More global warming crap.

I swear, archeology is one of the dumbest fields out there. They jump to so many conclusions it's ridiculous and the funny part is they don't have to prove any of it. Archeology seems to be a field that closely parallels politics - rewards those able to fabricate the best stories.



posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 05:36 PM
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reply to post by metro
 


I swear, archeology is one of the dumbest fields out there. They jump to so many conclusions it's ridiculous and the funny part is they don't have to prove any of it. Archeology seems to be a field that closely parallels politics - rewards those able to fabricate the best stories.


Read the paper I linked and come back with a response that isn't as dumb and ill-informed as this one. The bit of writing that's blue is my link, if you hover the cursor (pointy arrow symbol) over the blue bit and click the left button it opens the link. If you have any problems doing this you can u2u me...damn this is gonna be tough...sigh

At the bottom of this post are some words in boxes. One of them is 'send message.' Press your left button and...

I give up



posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 05:42 PM
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reply to post by metro
 


What you are reffering to is "pop archeology", the kinda stuff they use to make history channel shows and allows professors from hinkydink colleges to get small grants. It seems the wilder the claim the better the writeup it gets.
As you know that isn't real archeology, the kind where you make a hypothesis and then have to back it up by providing information from other fields that correlates with your data.
Real science still exists, I don't know why you think this article has anything to do with global warming. It is a fact that native americans regularly used fire to manipulate the landscape to produce more game and to keep the forest understory clear.



posted on Apr, 17 2010 @ 05:42 PM
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reply to post by metro
 


yet another double post! twice in one day. sigh

[edit on 17-4-2010 by Asktheanimals]



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