Clovis first???

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enthusiasts out there!
Knapper42
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Joined: 17 Aug 2005, 04:57

16 Nov 2006, 23:08 #201

Got to agree with you Tom. Below is a pic of a small Clovis point given to me by my Grandfather over 30 years ago. The point is 2-3/16" long and 3/4" wide. I just can't see it being part of a thrusting spear. It hasn't been out of that little glass frame since it was given to me and it's hard to get a good close up because of the glare caused by the glass.

Jack
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eskimoboy
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Joined: 14 May 2005, 08:19

16 Nov 2006, 23:41 #202

Jack, That is a very cool photo. What type of stone is was that point made from?
Lee, on the re-loading thing- now this is how I envision it- with a hand thrusted spear you'd have to be very close to the prey. If it was a case of the cliche mammoth stuck in the mud scenario one could jab into the mammoth and pull back his spear shaft, minus the foreshaft and point and quickly fit another ontu the end and stab jab again. Now with an atlatl thrown from say 40 yards away it would seem to me to defeat the purpose to have to run up close to retrieve the shaft to re-load it with another point.
Like a guy told me " that stuff about the mammoth in the mud is b.s. as what would they do jump on it's back and cut out the tenderloins? You can't butcher an animal that size that is bogged down in a swamp"
Maybe in the snow....
As for those pygmies killing a mammoth with a machete, that is totally radical I don't doubt your word on that one but just want to see the video!
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Jaqaliah
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Joined: 13 Oct 2006, 11:18

17 Nov 2006, 00:10 #203

Ok, I've foundered long enough. This is totally a different issue, but because I like following this thing.

I am occasionally getting links to this thread and this thread only that work. All other paleo links that send me messages (cuz I am watching them) come with working links. This one is sending TONS of blank pages with maybe one working link in 2 or three days. (I'm having to hunt the thread - how Paleo can this get! ) Does anyone have a clue why only this thread?

Jaq

And great pictures guys.
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eskimoboy
Registered User
Joined: 14 May 2005, 08:19

17 Nov 2006, 01:33 #204

Jaq, All the links have worked for me except maybe once or twice - I believe I mentioned it when it happened. I didn't read any yet today though-
Has anyone else experienced the same thing with this discussion?
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PaleoAleo
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Joined: 14 Apr 2003, 21:09

17 Nov 2006, 01:36 #205

Jaq, we must have angered the EZboard gods! They move in mysterious ways, mostly without rhyme or reason.

About the detachable foreshafts:

I suggest that the primary purpose of detachable foreshafts has little to do with a reloadable atlatl dart (or throwing or thrusting spear). Instead, I think the forshafted darts were for repair purposes - repair logistics.

Lets ee if I can explain myself...First, a little bit about atlatl darts (you guys probably already know this stuff, but I can only think it through out loud if I include all my thoughs).

Atlatl darts are tempermental creatures. Like arrows matched to a bow, darts must be matched (within reason) to the person throwing them, and to the atlatl itself. Atlatl darts must flex to varying degrees, depending upon the amount of power applied and the general force imparted make the thing move toward a target. The flexibility or "spine" of the dart shaft is therefore an important feature in an atlatl dart.

Darts may be rather finely tuned to the individual using them. Just as a 60lb. longbow requires stiffer arrows than a 30lb. longbow, an atlatl dart thrown by a person with 100lbs of force would require a stiffer dart than a dart thrown with only 50 lbs of force (just picking numbers out of the air).

Photo of dart flex, for fun:



The flexibility or spine of things like arrows and atlatl darts can be adjusted in just a couple of ways. I'll only talk about two ways of spine adjustment 1) length of the shaft, and 2) weight/mass of the point.

Adjusting Spine by Alterning the Length of the Dart Shaft:

All else being equal, a longer shaft will be more flexible than a shorter shaft. When testing a dart's flexibility (aka spine), I take a straight shaft and push it straight down on a bathroom scale, and I take note of the poundage imparted at the moment they begin to flex. I find that darts function best for me if they flex between 5lbs - 7lbs on the bathroom scale test.

When scaling my dart shafts, I will start with an extra long shaft and test on the bathroom scale. If it is spined too light, shortening the shaft will begin to increase the spine. By shortening the shaft, you can dial them in to the specific spine that works best for you.

Obviously, if the dart shaft is too stiff (even at the extra long length), you can only adjust it by making increasing the length somehow (you could also make it weaker and more flexible by scraping or sanding off wood, but for simplicity's sake, let's forget about that for now).

Let's just say that if the dart's way too stif, we'd be wise to discard it and select more appropriate material. Wiser yet to select more appropriate material to begin with. It doesn't take long to develop expertise in picking out near perfect shaft material from the outset.

Adjusting Spine by Altering the Point Weight/Mass:

Assuming that the shaft is just a little too stiff, you can easily adjust the dynamic spine of the shaft by adding more weight/mass to the point end. This can be accomplished easily and effectively by using a foreshaft of denser hardwood, into which your stone or bone point would be set.

If your dart is too flexible, you could either shorten the dart shaft, or lessen the point weight/mass. With a foreshaft, you might simply use a different foreshaft and point assembly, or shorten the foreshaft, etc.

Paleohunter #1:

Now imagine you are a paleolithic hunter off on a caribou hunt. Your atlatl darts are one solid shaft - with no foreshaft assembly. Your stone point is lashed securely into the business end of your darts. You throw and miss your target. The point shatters on a rock...or worse yet, the point is forced back into the dart shaft and splits the wood. It's not too bad, you can make a repair, but this repair will be costly in two main ways: 1) It will take time to make the repair...down time from your hunt. Although this in itself is the least of the worries provided you still have extra darts. If not, you might be in a more serious predicament. 2) You're very likely or nearly certain to have to shorten your dart shaft in order to create a new hafting area, and this is going to mess with the spine of your dart and the integrity of your system.

Clearly, if your dart was ideally spined to being with, shortening it will make it less than ideal. At best, you might get a way with shortening your dart several times before it became way too stiff and therefore inaccurate.

Again, any time repairing darts in the field takes away time from the hunt. You can only carry a limited number of darts with you. Back in your main camp or village, you have lots of time for repairs and for making new equipment. But out on the hunt you must be focused on killing, not on arts and crafts.


Paleohunter #2

You've got several dart shafts with you (an equal number as Paleohunter #1) and a bag of pre-prepared foreshaft and point assemblies. All are relatively interchangeable with any of the dart shafts you carry. Maybe you even thought ahead and made a few forshaft/point assemblys which were more massive than the others (you tuck these away in a special pouch in case the situation arises where they will come in handy).

Your first throw is a bad one, and your dart strikes a rock rather than the caribou. The point shatters, the foreshaft is split, but your dart shaft survives intact. You ditch the broken foreshaft and point assembly, and you rearm the dart with a backup foreshaft from your pouch. You still have several darts in backup. While you've lost a point and a foreshaft, your mainshaft is just fine and dandy, and you haven't wasted time repairing darts. You don't have to contend with nibbling away at the lenth of the mainshaft of your darts (and thus the integrity of your finely tuned system) either.

Your 2nd throw is even worse than the first. It smashes into another rock so hard that the point is a gonner, the foreshaft is split like a toothpick, and even the mainshaft is damaged. You have extra darts handy so you don't worry too much for now. You hold onto the broken dart shaft. That evening around the campfire, you repair the broken mainshaft by removing the 3" of splintered end. You use a stone or bone drill bit (cone shaped to make a nice socket for a new foreshaft) between your feet and you spin the newly repaired shaft on the stone/bone drill bit, and drill a new socket. It only takes a minute or so. You take one of the more massive foreshaft/point assemblies, and attach it to the now shortened dart. The extra mass on the new foreshaft assembly makes up for the increase in spine of the shortened shaft, and your dart flies just as good as before.

Your next throw is just perfect. It drills into the vitals of a caribou and the caribou runs wildly before falling dead on the ground. Your dart shaft is broken in 3 pieces as the animal falls - completely useless ever-after. While butchering the animal later, you're careful to retrieve your forshaft and point assembly from the carcass. It's a bit slimy and it's a nice color red, but you figure correctly that it will work just fine (and if your superstitious, you might consider it even has extra hunting magic!).

Holy cow...I just scrolled up and realized that I got a bit carried away. I hope my point didn't get lost in all these words.

Does this make sense to you guys?

Tom
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Lee Olsen
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Joined: 21 Oct 2006, 07:11

17 Nov 2006, 15:54 #206

Quote:
If it was a case of the cliche mammoth stuck in the mud scenario
Is there any real evidence that it was typical for mammoths to get stuck in mud? I know there is evidence, in one case at least, that Clovis hunters only partially butchered an animal, but I don't remember if there was any evidence of mud at the site.

So what if the animal simply runs off leaving the dart laying on the ground after falling out? Darts are relatively heavy compared to arrows, making it harder to carry a quiver full of darts around, yet quivers full of foreshafts have been found. Darts are more labor intensive to make and more meaningful to retrieve. We already know reloading is the principle behind marine harpoons, the same idea should work in principle on land also I would think.
Quote:
just want to see the video!
I'm pretty certain this is the one:
BaMiki BaNdula: Children of the Forest
In the rain forests of Zaire, in the heart of Africa, live the Mbuti Pygmies. The Pygmy way of life has always been extraordinarily difficult to capture on film, though many have tried. NOVA presents a rare portrait of an elusive people, made by an independent filmmaker who lived with the Pygmies and won their trust.
Original broadcast date: 02/15/78

Or you can read a book:
www.amazon.com/Forest-Peo...0671640992
Colin Turnbull
"The Pygmies today still kill elephants single-handed, armed only with a short-handled spear."
They have many different ways of killing elephants. This is supposedly how they do it with a machete. One man covers himself with elephant dung to kill his scent and hides in a bush alongside a trail. When the last elephant in the herd goes by he cuts the achilles tendon in the hind leg and stays perfectly still until they move off. Then its just a matter of tracking until the elephant keels over. The short spear method is the same except spear is shoved into the bladder, once again it is just a matter of time until the animal falls over.
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Jaqaliah
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Joined: 13 Oct 2006, 11:18

17 Nov 2006, 22:26 #207

I like the idea on the Atlatl. Makes sense to me. It also occurs to me that once something becomes traditional it is absolutely hell getting a committee to overturn the tradition - let alone a council of one's elders. Compound this with elders who may have had relatively shorter life expectancies and were therefor in their prime when one was arguing their current tried and true method could be improved or was wrong and change seems very unlikely to me. (This is not meant to be set in stone, only an effect on probability not possibility and eventuality).

So, let's say we did have a strong maritime tradition going back into those depths of the sea where we can no longer walk. Let's say we were using grass, reed, or other soft materials to make boats and fished with harpoon like tools. How long after abandoning the sea would such a tool "need" to change in the shaft and in what ways?

The last too posts give me an illusion of a tradition of harpoon style technology remaining integral to the making of weapon shafts long after the reason for it may ahve been forgotten.

Jaq
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eskimoboy
Registered User
Joined: 14 May 2005, 08:19

18 Nov 2006, 02:40 #208

Man, you guys are coming up with some real good stuff
Lee, about mammoths in the mud- I don't think I ever came across anything that backs that up but it seems to be a reacuring theme.
Tom, how does a detective approach this clovis hafting/atlatl/spear thing looking at it as a crime scene? I mean would you first establish what you know as fact? I would be interested to hear, not asking for an essay or anything! It seems to me that there is so much speculation and somehow I think it would be great to see a compilation of what is positively known however scant.
Dont' get me wrong I love the speculation as much as anything, a good mystery is hard to beat.
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PaleoAleo
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Joined: 14 Apr 2003, 21:09

19 Nov 2006, 01:52 #209

The problem is that different people arrive at different interpretations of what the facts mean. This is what happens in a court of law. Both sides attempt to get certain facts into evidence (or to keep them from getting into evidence), and then at the end, they argue to the judge or jury what those facts mean. Many times, the same set of facts bring a reasonable person to conclude that there are multiple possibilities as to what occurred. The facts are often strung together like beads on a string (the string being the some combination of deductive reasoning, extrapolation from related facts, or conjecture).

From my perspective, that's what makes contemplation of the Clovis mysteries so much fun. To my thinking, conjecture is a necessary part of the process because we will never know all of the facts.

It's like a jig-saw puzzle where you only have a small percentage of the pieces. You can fill in the blanks here and there via deductive reasoning, and you can always be on the look-out for more pieces. Sometimes some of the facts prove the existence of other facts that can't even be seen. Like cosmologists know that there are hidden planets out there because they can see the effect of their gravity on the planets they can see. Or the way you can tell that a rock is just under the surface by the way the water moves above it.

A clovis example of this might be the scratch marks in the hafting area (the flutes) on the Fenn Cache obsidian Clovis point, which suggest use of some sort of mastic/glue for binding, even though the glue is long gone.

As far as the use of atlatls versus hand thrown or thrusting spears by Clovis, there isn't sufficient evidence one way or another at this point in time. Personally, I'd be surprised if atlatls weren't in use - but it's just gut feeling, guess work, and maybe some wishful thinking on my part. Although for fun, I'll go on record here predicting that at some point in time, someone will find evidence of the use of atlatls by Clovis.

As far as my thoughts on forshafted darts... as Lee points out, we know they were used, because we've found lots of forshafts for darts and a number of complete darts (at least one of which was a 3 part dart - tailshaft, mainshaft, and foreshaft.

So the fact is that forshafted atlatl darts were used in at least some places. The conjecture would be the question: "why use foreshafts?" The ideas I expressed above (not exclusively my own mind you) seem to best answer that question, based on my experience with making, using and reparing atlatl darts.

Bob Berg (Thunderbird atlatl) hunts with atlatl darts, and is a big proponent of using solid shaft darts with no foreshaft. He says that he gets better penetration with solid shafting, and argues that the necessary binding on a foreshaft assembly hinders penetration (an argument with which I agree).

From his experience, Bob feels that a hunter could carry a number of darts sufficient to avoid concern over breaking some (again, the most likely part to be damaged is the point and hafting assembly and front end of the shaft). Bob argues that early man would have had tons of shaft material available, so he wouldn't have concerned himself with repairing darts. He would just have collected and processed new shafts (I disagree in part with this, given the situation of hunters away from their main camp who may not have had the time or luxury of either carrying too many back-up shafts, or the time to cut, dry, and process new replacement shafts while out on a seasonal hunt).

Bob also argues that superior darts can be made by splitting them out of straight logs, and planing them to round or almost round shapes (basically making 6 or 7' long dowels). Although Bob primarily uses modern tools to make his functional and beatiful ash darts, he has done this with primitive tools, and has proven that it would have been possible to do so in a stone age setting.

Bob's position and thoughts make good sense in many ways. But I believe that there are some holes in some aspects of his thinking on this. First, while I believe it would have been possible for paleohunters to split and make dowels from logs, I seriously doubt this was the common practice (I have no evidence to support my position in this regard - just a gut feeling).

Second, and most importantly, we know that foreshafts were used on atlatl darts. So if we agree with Bob (as we should) that a foreshaft assembly impedes penetration, we have to ask ourselves why these ancient hunters would use them. Why would they use a system that impeded penetration of prey animals? There must have been some good reason for them to do so.

Using deductive reasoning, some personal experience, and a fair bit of conjecture, I propose 2 main reasons that paleohunters used forshafts on atlatl darts (and later on arrows): 1) The issue of repair and maintaining system dynamics and integrity (as detailed above). 2) The likely fact that just like today, they were using fairly light weight wood (cut from shoots and saplings - like Willow, Cane, and other such materials) that had good aerodymanic properties, but didn't hold up as well to impacts as dense hardwood or bone does.

Sorry I always ramble on and on. I truly don't intend to when I start one of these posts. I'm sure there's a better/faster way to express my cloudy thoughts. Maybe I'll get better over time.

Tom
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eskimoboy
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Joined: 14 May 2005, 08:19

19 Nov 2006, 03:21 #210

Wow, I thought you did a bang up job on that post myself
It is great to see people like Bob Berg with his atlatl and Larry Kinsella with his axes and bannerstones. They have an insight into those things that I do not.
I wonder just how much difference is in penetration solid vs foreshaft?
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Lee Olsen
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Joined: 21 Oct 2006, 07:11

19 Nov 2006, 06:41 #211

Quote:
Most if not all of the points found at kill sites were (in my opinion) well within reasonable sizes/weights for atlatl dart points.
I do not think just the size alone will be enough, because it generates another problem.

An internet search for the invention of the atlatl seems to favor Europe, but a few sources give NW Africa as the first evidence for its use. Europe has direct hard evidence because the hooks and bone bases are found, but Africa only has small points (indirect evidence) as a clue. Are these points enough evidence to say NW Africa had the atlatl before anywhere else?

lithiccastinglab.com/gall...spage1.htm

Im not convinced because the latest re-dating puts them at 40 kya-80kya. That is a long time to stretch out circumstantial evidence.
Quote:
Further, to my thinking, the benefits of the flute channels are best realized on a high velocity projectile rather than a thrusting weapon.
Ive been going through some of the old site photos of Clovis points like Naco, Lehner,
Blackwater to see if there is anything obvious in the break patterns.

I did find a trace of hard evidence, but first I think Frisons observation on the subject is interesting.

intl.pnas.org/cgi/content...5/24/14576
George Frison
....with replicas of Clovis points on thrusting spear and atlatl and dart delivery systems on dead and dying elephants in the recent culling of elephants in Zimbabwe. The results of the latter leave little doubt that Clovis points would have been lethal to both mammoths and/or mastodons.

He claims the points are lethal without committing himself here as to the method of delivery one way or another, just that either method will work. This is very much in keeping with ethnographic accounts of how Pygmies kill elephants, could be more than one method involved. Just the same, an atlatl is not an a priori requirement to kill an elephant.

But....
Frison page 139 shows a picture of what he believes is a foreshaft connector bone made of Mammoth rib from the Mill Iron site. I think he might be right. I have tried this system with a Cascade point and could puncture through a sheet of 3/4" plywood (sometimes). I will have to verify the thickness, there were half a dozen of us at a knapin taking turns throwing at this piece of plywood, it might have been only inch. The bone in Frisons photo is pretty chewed up, but it is a positive clue.

Bonnichsen, Robson, and Karen Turnmier, eds. Clovis: Origins & Adaptations. Peopling of the Americas Publication, Center for the Study of the First Americans, Department of Anthropology, Oregon State Univ. 1991.
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Lee Olsen
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Joined: 21 Oct 2006, 07:11

19 Nov 2006, 06:51 #212

I see the link to the link to Frison's PNAS paper does not work, I'll see if I can repair it tomorrow.

OK, seems to work now...hey, I'm a newbie, I feel I'm lucky just to be able to find my way back to this thread
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eskimoboy
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Joined: 14 May 2005, 08:19

19 Nov 2006, 19:04 #213

Here is a link I found on Texas pre-clovis and clovis
Also has links about Meadowcroft, Monte Verde, Topper, etc.
Lots of photos, didn't look at it much yet.
www.preclovis.com/
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eskimoboy
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Joined: 14 May 2005, 08:19

21 Nov 2006, 04:16 #214

Lerma points, have a old book here 'Ancient man in north america- H.M. Wormington- says a Imperial Mammoth was found with a laurel leaf shape point. Also a point that looks alot like a scottsbluff. I guess the Columbian mammoth is the one usually found in what is now the United States. Says these bipointed blades are found all the way up into Canada.
I am thinking that the Imperial Mammoth must of lived into the late paleo period where the other died off?
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Lee Olsen
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Joined: 21 Oct 2006, 07:11

21 Nov 2006, 06:16 #215

Quote:
I am thinking that the Imperial Mammoth must of lived into the late paleo period where the other died off?
www.yukonmuseums.ca/mammoth/abstra-d.htm
"Santa Isabel Iztapan has some lithic artifacts associated with mammoth remains; stratigraphy is uncertain and radiometric controls are lacking, and dates between 11,000 and 16,000 yrs BP have been allocated to the deposit."

www.unesco.org/culture/la...apter4.htm
"A date of 9,000 B. P. at Iztapan I seems too late for mammoths, although an associated shouldered point is considered to be like the Scottsbluff form, which dates about that time on the Great Plains."

Haynes (1987) mentioned the site in his 'Clovis Origin Update' paper, but says no direct dating had been done on the mammoth bone at that time.
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eskimoboy
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Joined: 14 May 2005, 08:19

22 Nov 2006, 00:15 #216

Quote:
Most of the evidence for early occupation has been recovered in the Basin of Mexico near Mexico City. At Tlapacoya, several blade-like flakes were found near a hearth dated 20,000 (Lorenzo and Mirambell l986c). Several mammoths have been excavated from ancient lake shores (Lorenzo and Mirambell l986a). Most of these sites have yielded only unifacial flake tools, but bifacial projectile points were found at two localities near Iztapan. The points are lanceolate and stemmed but not fluted. A date of 9,000 B. P. at Iztapan I seems too late for mammoths, although an associated shouldered point is considered to be like the Scottsbluff form, which dates about that time on the Great Plains.
Lee, from what I gathered from the two links is that this was at the end of the mammoth era- inland anyhow.
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Lee Olsen
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Joined: 21 Oct 2006, 07:11

22 Nov 2006, 02:11 #217

Here is a paper on the last of the giant sloths and implications for human involvement. Guaranteed to stir up the pot a bit

www.pnas.org/cgi/content/...2/33/11763
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eskimoboy
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Joined: 14 May 2005, 08:19

22 Nov 2006, 03:41 #218

3,000 kilograms - wouldn't that be a weight somewhere over 6,000 lbs? That's alot of sloth steak.
How fast did they reproduce I wonder? Sounds alot easier and safer than hunting mammoth and mastodon. I bet they could of been wiped out with fluted points.
Like the new t-shirt Marty sent me, a clovis point and it says " WMD- Weapons of Mastodon Destruction"
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eskimoboy
Registered User
Joined: 14 May 2005, 08:19

23 Nov 2006, 00:18 #219

anyhow the part about the sloths extinction from south to north possibly due to being hunted by paleo man - makes sense to me.
That site in Mexico, I think it is the only non-clovis comfirmed kill of mammoth without a fluted point.
Here is the link to Bruce Bradley's website in case someone hasn't seen it. Alot of stuff in there about alot of things.
www.primtech.net/index.html
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PaleoAleo
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Joined: 14 Apr 2003, 21:09

29 Nov 2006, 00:25 #220

I can't keep up with all the reading and learnin going on here! LOL. You guys are great! Thanks for all these links, etc. I'm really enjoying this discussion.

Tom
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