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A Native American Cover Up? The Late Pleistocene Extinctions

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posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 02:23 AM
This theory relates to the mass extinctions that happened in America to the large mammals shortly after humans arrived. Many Native American tribes often have various beliefs about this time included in their lore and religion yet do not ever mention or teach that their ancestors possibly had any effect on this disasterous event. Is it denial or disbelief or simply a cover-up?

Approximately 11,000 years ago a variety of animals went extinct across North America. These were mostly mammals larger than approximately 44 kg (about 100 pounds). Some of the animals that went extinct are well known (like saber-toothed cats, mammoths, and mastodons). Others were less well known animals (like the short-faced skunk and the giant beaver). Some animals went extinct in North America but survived elsewhere, for example, horses and tapirs.

Many scientists think that these people caused the extinction in North America at the end of the Pleistocene. Researchers who support this view generally favor one of two explanations. The first is that human over-hunting directly caused the extinction. The second is that over-hunting eliminated a "keystone species" (usually the mammoths or mastodon) and this led to environmental collapse and a more general extinction.

Of course other factors may have contributed though are not as likely such as climate change or disease however a large portion of the scientific community involved in this research have pointed to archeology involving the Clovis people as evidence that hunting was probably the cause of this.

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 02:36 AM
reply to post by kro32

I would go with the disease theory personally. Something like animal aids or the like. Remember what small pox did to the Native Americans?

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 02:40 AM
reply to post by billy197300

Well if you look at the species that died off and the ones that lived there is not a distinction big enough for the disease theory to be certain. If it was disease alot of the surviving animals should have died off also but they didn't which leads me to think that it was hunting to extinction a vital link in the chain.

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 02:48 AM
reply to post by kro32

You're right. People do like to kill things.

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 03:07 AM
If i am right, the mound builder people existed at that time, and they may have had a laarge population (itwould seem so anyways...)
Their needs may have put a strain on things and eventually brought a few key species to sub survival levels, whereupon they may have petered out themselves too.......
More likely scenarios are probably a dime a dozen. but is there not evidence of egyptian visitors ort colonisation along the ohio river? or whatever river Cairo is on.....
Ther mounds of the mound building peoples contain very egyptian like artifacts as well......
Perhaps there was a thriving set of civilisations expanding into the animals habitat?

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 03:25 AM
Has anyone ever noticed, that the story of smallpox ravaging the poor nature loving natives is told again and again regardless of what happens to actually be the case? That those peace loving naturalist natives gave europeans a disease as well which has killed more people now than the US population. Still killing 157,000 a speaking of course about syphilis. While smallpox killed about 1,000,000 in the new world.

On topic, mans aggressive hunting practices have often contributed to extinction, or near extinction. and, given the tools of the time, the methodss of hunting were often not exactly balanced. its much easier to drive a pack of buffalo off a cliff than to try to run one through with a pointy stick. there have been quite a few mass graves, found conveniently at the base of cliffs, a man hunting to keep himself and his family alive will use whatever tools he has available. And gravity is always available. I know it isn't politically correct to point the finger at the indigenous (by relative comparison) people, but examples of humans driving animals to extinction is commonplace in every part of the world, without regard to technological capacity or "civilization"
edit on 30-8-2011 by theXammux because: missing explanation

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 04:13 AM
Seing as though evolution is such a magical wonder(it can turn an ape into a man remember
), I'd go with them all evolving into aliens and leaving the planet.

/end sarcasm
edit on 30-8-2011 by Haxsaw because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 04:19 AM
perhaps the diease idea would make sense. If there were a zombie apocalypse in north american history, what evidence of it would we see today? We generally don't test skeletons for rare viruses that may temporarily revive human tissue granting incredible rage, and speed, and general loss of proper dining ettiquette. I'm just saying, zombies would explain a lot here

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 04:30 AM
reply to post by stirling

You're not right. The mound-builders existed in the 11th and 13th centuries.

Hunting tactics of paleolithic peoples were pretty messy; it's hard to kill an animal with a rock on a stick, much easier to drive them into traps. This results in a lot of waste, and if we're talking about creatures with low breeding rates (such as mammoths and probably giant sloths), then populations are naturally going to nosedive. With htem go the big predators (which humans probably also killed as a matter of course)

Smaller, more prolific creatures in the Americas - such as the horse - were victims of environmental limitations paired with extensive hunting. North America only has so much decent horse habitat, and most of it overlapped with some of hte areas of densest human population. As the lakes in the west started drying up, this put a lot of pressure ion the population of these animals, and they collapsed.

Eurasia had a buffer - it's enormous, and large expanses of it are very inhospitable to humans. So the horse that became extinct in the Americas managed to hold on in the Eurasian steppes (though even there it went into decline) and the mammoths which were trapped in warm savannah climes of North America were quickly wiped out, while their elephant counterparts in Asia and Africa managed to evolve more or less together with humans and adapted to their presence.

Of course the introduction of humans to the ecosystem resulted in mass extinctions. it happened in Australia, all the world's islands, and the European peninsula as well (though most of Europe's fauna also existed in the rest of Eurasia as well, preventing total extinction of things like the horse, wisent, ibex, aurochs, saiga, mammoth, etc). it's what happens when you introduce a new predator anywhere.

My fellow indians getting butthurt over it are just silly, to be honest.

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 04:56 AM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 07:59 AM
I have long held a similar theory as being very likely. It is entirely possible that early humans in North America hunted certain species to extinction, some likely "key" species that without which certain environments could not be maintained. We do know that the hunting techniques used were often very wasteful (such as running a herd over a cliff). It gave a great supply of meat for one winter but many animals died and were simply not used.
If large herbivore numbers were drastically reduced then large predators such as saber tooth tigers would find little prey left and possibly began encountering humans who would kill them out of fear.
We know this was the fate of giant cave bears in Europe so it's entirely possible that a similar event occurred in North America.
Then again, human populations may have displaced many animals pushing them in to unfamiliar habitats where they could not sustain their populations.
Since this is largely a theoretical argument I don't think there is any conspiracy or cover up of any kind going on.
Native America folklore has probably done what other cultures have done - taken events and changed the story to fit their needs.
It's something we all do. However the truth is out there, buried, and if we can find enough evidence perhaps one day this argument will become fact. Until then it's still fun to speculate.

ETA star and flag
edit on 30-8-2011 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 09:21 AM
oh please, talk to the (red) hand.

Anyways, I am Native American, and I have heard that our people contributed to over hunting buffalo. While most Native American tribes do as much as they can to not waste any part of a hunted animal, I am sure our people contributed to the over hunting of other animals. Then again, disease and disasters are also possible. I wasn't there.

However, cover up? I think not. S&F I want to keep up with this thread, well written.
edit on 8/30/2011 by NerdGoddess because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 09:28 AM
As vast as North America is could it be possible that there was a large enough population at that time to have this kind of effect?

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 09:34 AM
Any chance that the receding glaciers and a warming planet had anything to do with those ancient extinctions?

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 09:42 AM
A perfect storm of events I think took place.

Man arrives from Asia. A disease of some sort begins ravaging across species lines (not a big proponant of this myself.). Climate is fluctuating from both cooler to warmer. A meteor strike somewhere in northern North America, as well. It would take these events happening in sequence over a span of say a hundred years or so, and *poof* the megafauna are going to have major problems surviving.

Any one or two of these would put the megafauna under enourmous pressure, muchless all of these...

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 09:53 AM
Hunting, climate change and Hyperdisease are all theories which are being bandied about.

Hunting, imo, not so much. Climate change and all that entails, I'd say an equal contributer to Hyperdisease.

posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 10:01 AM
reply to post by seagull

I'd certainly go along with it being more than just one event. Though I believe the 'clovis comet' theory is currently back out of favour.

What is certain is that throughout known history, the extinction of native large animals has coincided with the arrival of humans.

In the case of the end Pleistocene extinctions, I believe that climate change initially reduced the range and numbers of some species and the arrival of humans pushed them that little bit further and over the edge.

It is worth that some other species increased in range and numbers - and these are the ones which for the most part survive today (though we did our best to finish the bison off once and for all in the 19th century)

As to why none of this is recorded in native American tales? Well, it was all a long time ago. How many European tales are there about lions and cave bears?

posted on Aug, 31 2011 @ 01:09 PM
reply to post by masqua

Oh, it probably had some effect. But there are two niggling bits.

1) Most of these critters had survived previous interglacial periods just fine
2) Most of them continued to persist in Eurasia

We already know from prior "experimentation" that introducing a new species to an ecosystem that developed without it is disastrous for that ecosystem; Whether it's tree snakes going to Fiji, humans to Madagascar, or rabbits to Australia, the results are a total upheaval of that ecosystem as the new guy settles in.

Pair that with a rapidly-changing climate, and you're going to see some extinctions, for sure. Humans ended up being the final "nudge" to populations already under pressure.

posted on Aug, 31 2011 @ 07:51 PM
reply to post by TheWalkingFox

Are you suggesting that humans were not present on the North American continent before the last ice age?

Radiocarbon tests of carbonized plant remains where artifacts were unearthed last May along the Savannah River in Allendale County by University of South Carolina archaeologist Dr. Albert Goodyear indicate that the sediments containing these artifacts are at least 50,000 years old, meaning that humans inhabited North American long before the last ice age.


The findings are significant because they suggest that humans inhabited North America well before the last ice age more than 20,000 years ago, a potentially explosive revelation in American archaeology.

Then, during the ice age, they would have been pushed south by the ice, perhaps finding new unsettled territory or coming up against an already existing population. Very little is known about how long people existed in South America.

edit on 31/8/11 by masqua because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 31 2011 @ 11:30 PM
reply to post by masqua

I won't deny the possibility. The evidence seems a little sketchy thus far, but I'd frankly be excited to hear of good finds.

Another theory is the one proposed by Luann Becker, that a comet did it. However the evidence there is sketchy as well, and to my knowledge, hasn't been verified by others.

So going by what we DO know about the situation - that a culture of big-game hunters was in North America roundabouts 14,000 BCE, and lots of large animals went extinct in that timeframe - and comparing it with other historical extinction events (Australia and madagascar, especially), pointing hte finger at humans hardly seems unreasonable.

Even if the big hunters weren't the first people there, it's entirely possible that their predecessors caused their own suite of extinctions, and the later guys took out a different suite.

Point is, you can't put a highly-adaptable predator into a new ecosystem and not expect things to get shaken up.

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