The Torreya (Torreya taxifolia) is Missing its Megafaunal Disperser

Originally posted on GeorgiaBeforePeople:

The torreya (Torreya taxifolia), also known as the stinking cedar because its crushed needles give off a strong resin odor, is a relic species thought to have been more widespread during warm climatic phases of the Pleistocene.  It likely diverged from an ancestor that was even more widespread during the Miocene when warm moist forests occurred all across North America and Asia.  T. taxifolia  is an extremely rare species confined to just the east side of the Apalachicola and Flint Rivers, while a closely related sister species (T. californica) is native to California where it is found in several disjunct populations. 

Pleistocene Ice Ages fostered the spread of arid grassland environments that were unsuitable for torreyas.  Under these conditions the torreya retreated to moist refugia on steep ravines of the Apalachicola and Flint Rivers. Connie Barlow, author of the below referenced book, thinks the torreya …

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Sante Fe Archaeological Society

In the great state of New Mexico and looking for something to do this year?  Check out the lecture schedule in Santa Fe!

September 9   Tim Maxwell (Director Emeritus, Museum of New Mexico, Office of Archaeological Studies) Chasing Beauty: The Turquoise of the Casas Grandes Region of Northern Mexico

October 14   Scott Fitzpatrick (University of Oregon/AIA national speaker) How Oceanographic Effects Influenced the Prehistoric Colonization of Islands: a Pacific Caribbean Comparison.

November 11   Richard I. Ford (Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus Anthropology and Botany, University of Michigan) Religion on the Rocks: Petroglyphs In Northern New Mexico

January 13   John Pohl (University of California/AIA national speaker) Bringing the Pre-Columbian World to Life: The Scholar’s Role in Entertainment Media

February 10   Anastasia Steffen (Valles Caldera National Preserve) Fire and the Archaic Landscapes of the Valles Caldera

March 10   John Bailey (Rio Grande del Norte National Monument) What is the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument?

April 14    George Crawford (Blackwater Draw) The Clovis Site, Landscape, Environment, and Preservation on the Southern High Plains

Fall 2014 Brown Bag (September 20) – The Folsom Site, led by David Eck, State Land Office archaeologist.

Spring 2015 Trip (April 24-27) – Fort Stanton; Lincoln; and more to be determined.

Spring Brown Bag (May 9 tentative) – Los Luceros, Alcade, NM

The Santa Fe Archaeological Society (founded 1900) is a chapter of the American Archaeological Institute.

Talks are held at the Pecos Trail Café, 2239 Old Pecos Trail.

Kennewick, New Data?

kennewick

The mysterious Kennewick Man, who died 9,000 years ago in the Columbia River Valley, was a seal hunter who rambled far and wide with a projectile point lodged in his hip, five broken ribs that never healed properly, two small dents in his skull and a bum shoulder from the repetitive stress of throwing spears.

He came from somewhere far away, far up the Pacific Northwest coast, possibly Alaska or the Aleutian Islands. He might even have come to North America all the way from Asia.

READ THE REST HERE.

Archaeology and the Press: Part 1- Why does the news get it so, so, so, wrong?

Originally posted on Doug's Archaeology:

Press and Archaeology

Bad “news” articles are everywhere, but sometimes it seems like they are especially bad in archaeology. Bad articles can range from something as simple as the misspelling of a name to articles about how archaeologists recently discovered dinosaur bones in which the “archaeologists” interviewed is actually an “expert” on UFO sightings. Even the best news sources can get it wrong, here is a line from the Guardian,

The recent archeological finds of a pliosaur skull in Dorset” (for any non-archaeology readers, archaeologists don’t really deal with dinosaurs)

This post is going to be a part of a series on the Press and Archaeology. I have been writing a BAJR guide on the topic on and off for several years now and with some recent events I thought it would be good to dust it off and blog about it.

Do your job dammit!

Your first reaction to a bad…

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Real-Life Paleo Diet Included Spiral-Tusked Elephant Ancestor

Originally posted on Ancientfoods:

There’s a new mega-mammal on the menu of America’s first hunters.

On a ranch in northwestern Sonora, Mexico, archaeologists have discovered 13,400-year-old weapons mingled with bones from an extinct elephant relative called the gomphothere. The animal was smaller than mastodons and mammoths, but most had four sharp tusks for defense.

The new evidence puts the gomphothere in North America at the same time as a prehistoric group of paleo-Indians known as the Clovis culture, whose beautifully crafted projectile points helped bring down giant Ice Age mammals, including mammoths. This is the first time gomphothere fossils have been discovered with Clovis artifacts.

“The Clovis stereotypically went out and hunted mammoth, and now there’s another elephant on the menu,” said Vance Holliday, a co-author on the new study, published today (July 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The archeological site, named “El Fin del Mundo” (the End of…

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Why are there so few Archaeologists in such a large country? America’s Archaeology Employment Problems

Originally posted on Doug's Archaeology:

When I posted that it is estimated that there were only 11,000 archaeologists working in the USA, pre-crash, several people made the comment that it seems like so few for such a big country.

“….it is pretty astounding to think that there are only 11k archaeologists pre-crash in that huuuuuge country.” - Rachel on BAJR facebook group.

The UK had roughly 7,000 archaeologists in that same time frame (pre-crash) with only a population of roughly 64 million people (2014) covering 242,900 sq. km. (land). America by comparison has 318 million people (2014) and covers 9,826,675 sq. km. (land) (sources: populations here and size here).

Why?

The reason is simple, laws. In the UK heritage protection laws cover almost everywhere, now even marine as well. Effectively, the UK government owns everything six inches below the ground ( a simplification but it works). In Scotland, it owns all lost objects, except…

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Chilling Out With “Mammoths: Ice Age Giants”

Originally posted on What's In John's Freezer?:

Mammoths and I go way back, not quite to the Ice Age but at least to the late 1970s with my family’s visits to the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum, and Milwaukee Public Museum, to name two prominent places that inspired me. And one of my favourite science books had a colourful mammoth painting on the cover (I’m trying to find and post it here; stay tuned), an image that has stayed with me as awesomely evocative.

Stomach-Churning Rating: 3/10. But there’s a butt below, but that’s too late for you now. And there’s poo and other scatological (attempts at) humour. Otherwise, bones and a baby mammothsicle.

Fast forward to the 2000’s and I’m studying mammoths, along with their other kin amongst the Proboscidea (elephants and relatives). I even bumped into a frozen mammoth in Sapporo, Japan, nine years ago–

Yep. That's what it looks like. Nope, not the front end. That orifice is not the mouth. This is the XXXXX mammoth. Yep. That’s what it looks like. Nope, not the front…

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