F Rosa Rubicondior: Creationism in Crisis - Humans Were Making Beads In North America 2,900 Years Before 'Creation Week' - And The Evidence Survived The Legendary Genocidal Flood!

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Creationism in Crisis - Humans Were Making Beads In North America 2,900 Years Before 'Creation Week' - And The Evidence Survived The Legendary Genocidal Flood!

UW Archaeology Professor Discovers Oldest Known Bead in the Americas

The problem with having counter-factual beliefs that are only believed because you want to feel more important than you're afraid you really are, is that you need a vast array of strategies for ignoring the vast amount of evidence that your beliefs are wrong. This is especially important if you live in a technological society where there is free access to that vast amount of evidence and news such as this discovery of what could be the oldest known bead from the western hemisphere, dated to 12,940 years ago.

It was recovered from a site in Wyoming, USA at an archaeological site known as the La Prele Mammoth site:
What information do you have on the La Prele Mammoth site in Wyoming, USA? The La Prele Mammoth site is located near Douglas, Wyoming, in the United States. It is significant for being one of the largest and most well-preserved mammoth kill sites in North America. The site was discovered in 1986 during the construction of Interstate 25, and subsequent excavations revealed the remains of at least 19 Columbian mammoths (Mammuthus columbi).

The mammoths at the La Prele site were likely killed by Paleo-Indian hunters around 11,000 to 13,000 years ago, during the late Pleistocene era. Evidence suggests that the mammoths were ambushed and killed by early human hunters, who then butchered the animals for meat, bone, and hide. The site provides valuable insights into the hunting strategies and subsistence practices of early human populations in North America.

Excavations at the La Prele Mammoth site have uncovered a wealth of archaeological artifacts, including stone tools, projectile points, and bone fragments. These artifacts have helped archaeologists piece together the story of human-mammoth interactions in the region during the late Pleistocene.

The La Prele Mammoth site is now recognized as an important archaeological and paleontological site, and efforts have been made to preserve and study its remains. It serves as a valuable research site for scientists studying the prehistoric ecology and human history of North America.
One of the strategies creationists have been taught is to dismiss anything which depends on radiometric dating, claiming, without evidence, that all radiometric dating methods are wrong because they are based on false assumptions and scientists pick the one that gives them the answer they want.

However, in this case, the bead's date was inferred from the average of 5 independent radiocarbon dates on done fragments from the site which gave the result of 12,940 BP ± 56 years.

The following may be too distressing for creationists to read:
Can you explain how radiocarbon dating is done and give me the formula for calculating the age of a specimen, please. Radiocarbon dating, also known as carbon dating, is a method used to determine the age of organic materials based on the decay of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 (14C). Here's how it works:
  1. Formation of Carbon-14: Carbon-14 is formed in the atmosphere when cosmic rays collide with nitrogen atoms, producing a radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14. This carbon-14 mixes with atmospheric oxygen to form carbon dioxide (CO2), which then enters the carbon cycle and becomes incorporated into living organisms through photosynthesis or consumption of other organisms.
  2. Decay of Carbon-14: Once an organism dies, it no longer takes in carbon-14. The carbon-14 in its remains begins to decay at a known rate. This decay is a spontaneous process that occurs at a constant rate, known as the half-life. The half-life of carbon-14 is approximately 5,730 years, meaning that after this time, half of the original carbon-14 in a sample will have decayed into nitrogen-14.
  3. Measuring Carbon-14 Levels: By measuring the remaining amount of carbon-14 in a sample and comparing it to the initial amount of carbon-14 when the organism was alive (which is estimated based on the current atmospheric levels of carbon-14), scientists can determine how much time has passed since the organism died.
The formula used to calculate the age of a specimen using radiocarbon dating is:

\[ t = \frac{ln(N_0/N)}{k} \] Where:
  • \( t \) = age of the specimen (in years)
  • \( N_0 \) = initial quantity of carbon-14 in the sample
  • \( N \) = quantity of carbon-14 remaining in the sample
  • \( k \) = decay constant for carbon-14 \(ln(2)/T \), where \( T \) is the half-life of carbon-14, approximately 5,730 years)
  • \( ln \) = natural logarithm
It's important to note that radiocarbon dating is most accurate for samples less than 50,000 years old, as beyond this point, the amount of carbon-14 remaining is too small to reliably measure. Additionally, calibration curves are often used to correct for fluctuations in atmospheric carbon-14 levels over time, improving the accuracy of radiocarbon dates.
Creationists should also avoid reading this article by A. J. T. Jull, a research scientist at the NSF Arizona AMS Facility and Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, Ariz, because it provides technical details of radiocarbon dating, including how and why the samples are decontaminated prior to analysis. (Creationists traditionally claim the samples were contaminated, again with no evidence to back up the claim).

So, that ancient bead:

The team that discovered it was led by University of Wyoming archaeology Professor Todd Surovell and they have published their findings, open access in the journal Scientific Reports. Their work is also explained in a University of Wyoming news release:

University of Wyoming archaeology Professor Todd Surovell and his team of collaborators have discovered a tube-shaped bead made of bone that is about 12,940 years old.

The bead, found at the La Prele Mammoth site in Converse County, is the oldest known bead in the Americas.

Surovell’s research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports; the paper is titled “Use of hare bone for the manufacture of a Clovis bead.” Members of the research team included people from UW, the Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist, the University of Manchester, Weber State University and Chico State University.

The La Prele Mammoth site preserves the remains of a killed or scavenged sub-adult Columbian mammoth and an associated camp occupied during the time the animal was butchered.

To determine the origin of the bone bead, the team extracted collagen for zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry, also known as ZooMS, which allowed the group to gain insights about the chemical composition of the bone.

The researchers concluded that the bead was made from either a metapodial (the bones that link the phalanges of the digits to the more proximal bones of the limb) or a proximal phalanx (a bone found in the fingers and toes of humans and other vertebrates) of a hare.

This finding represents the first secure evidence for the use of hares during the Clovis period, which refers to a prehistoric era in North America, particularly prominent about 12,000 years ago. It’s named after the Clovis archaeological site in New Mexico, where distinctive stone tools were discovered.

An aerial view of the La Prele Mammoth site in Converse County.

Photo: Todd Surovell.
The bead is about 7 millimeters in length, and its internal diameter averages 1.6 millimeters. The research team considered the possibility that the bead could have been the result of carnivore consumption and digestion and not created by humans; however, carnivores were not common on this site, and the artifact was recovered 1 meter from a dense scatter of other cultural materials.

Additionally, the grooves on the outside of the bead are consistent with creation by humans, either with stones or their teeth. Beads like this one were likely used to decorate their bodies or clothing.

Surovell, who also directs UW’s Frison Institute, is an archaeologist with specialization in Paleoindian period, the earliest period of American archaeology. He has worked primarily in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains but also has field experience in Eurasia. He is interested in factors that structure the archaeological record from decision-making to site formation.
The technical details of the discovery are given in the open access paper in Scientific Reports:

A tubular bone bead dating to ~ 12,940 BP was recovered from a hearth-centered activity area at the La Prele Mammoth site in Converse County, Wyoming, USA. This is the oldest known bead from the Western Hemisphere. To determine the taxonomic origin of the bead, we extracted collagen for zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry (ZooMS). We also used micro-CT scanning for morphological analysis to determine likely skeletal elements used for its production. We conclude that the bead was made from a metapodial or proximal phalanx of a hare (Lepus sp.). This find represents the first secure evidence for the use of hares during the Clovis period. While the use of hare bone for the manufacture of beads was a common practice in western North America during the Holocene, its origins can now be traced back to at least the terminal Pleistocene.

The production and use of personal ornaments, most commonly beads, are important indicators of increasing human cultural and social complexity in the Paleolithic, appearing first in the Middle Stone Age of Africa and later in the Early Upper Paleolithic of Eurasia1,2,3,4,5,6. Although beads are not as well documented from early archaeological contexts in the Americas, several examples have been reported from Paleoindian localities indicating that the first migrants to the Western Hemisphere made and used personal ornamentation, whether to decorate their bodies and/or clothing7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15.

Relatively few beads have been recovered from secure Early Paleoindian contexts. For example, a poorly dated caliche bead was recovered from Pleistocene sediments in a core at the Mockingbird Gap site in New Mexico7, and four hematite beads were found by an avocational archaeologist within what is likely a Clovis age burial in Colorado9. Bone beads are known but from slightly later Younger Dryas-aged contexts at the Lindenmeier13, Powars II8, and Hell Gap14 sites. In this paper, we report the material used for the manufacture of a ~ 12,940 year old tubular bone bead from the La Prele Mammoth site in Converse County, Wyoming, USA. We suggest that this bead is among the oldest, if not the oldest, known ornament from the Americas with one possible exception16.

For taxonomic identification of the animal from which bone was derived, we turned to zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry (ZooMS). ZooMS takes advantage of differences in the primary structure of the collagen protein to identify the familiar, generic, or specific origin of archaeological bone fragments17,18. After collagen is digested using the enzyme trypsin, the masses of the resulting peptides are measured using matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). This process generates a protein mass fingerprint that can be compared to fingerprints of known taxa. When collagen is well preserved, the ZooMS method can be used to identify highly fragmented faunal assemblages for which traditional morphological identification is challenging19,20,21,22. ZooMS can also identify taxa used to produce bone tools23,24,25,26,27. For this reason, it is an ideal method for identifying the taxonomic origins of the bead from La Prele.

The La Prele Mammoth site is an Early Paleoindian site in Converse County, Wyoming along La Prele Creek near its confluence with the North Platte River (Supplementary Fig. 1)28,29. Test excavations by Frison in 1987 revealed the association of chipped stone artifacts with the partial remains of a subadult Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), and later excavations identified a nearby camp area preserving multiple hearth-centered activity areas. The occupation surface was buried by low energy overbank deposits, and based on the average of five radiocarbon dates on bone, the occupation occurred at 12,941 ± 56 cal yr BP30. The bead was recovered from Block B, a hearth-centered activity area approximately 11 m south southeast and upstream of the mammoth. This part of the site contained a zone of hematite- or red ochre-stained sediment that was truncated by erosion on its eastern edge. The remaining portion of the red ochre stain spanned 3.2 m2 with a hearth on its southern edge. The ochre has been geochemically sourced to the vicinity of the Powars II site, a well-documented location of Paleoindian hematite quarrying, 85 km to the southeast8,31,32,33. From Block B, over 1,000 pieces of chipped stone have been recovered including seven flake tools. Several fragments of eyed bone needles were also recovered. This area produced a faunal assemblage consisting mostly of butchered and burned remains of Bison antiquus. Distance-decay and ring and sector analyses suggest that the hearth sat within a structure approximately 3.3 m in diameter34. We recovered the bead from screened (1/16 in. mesh) sediments within the ochre stain from a 50 × 50 cm excavation quadrant approximately 1 m northwest of the hearth’s center (Fig. 1).
  Figure 1
Plan map of a portion of the La Prele Mammoth site showing the location of the bone bead (yellow diamond) in excavation Block B. Chipped stone shown as total counts randomized within 50 × 50 cm excavation quads.
The bead is small, approximately 7 mm in length. Its internal diameter averages 1.6 mm, and it has a mean external diameter of 2.9 mm. Two deep parallel grooves with U-shaped cross-sections occur on the face of the bead aligned perpendicular to its long axis (Fig. 2; Supplementary Fig. 2; Supplementary Video 1). An oblique groove of similar size and morphology occurs closer to the other end of the bead and on a different rotational face. Whether these incisions are byproducts of manufacture, skinning, wear, or possibly decorations is not known, but similar grooves occur on Paleolithic and Archaic tubular bone beads35,36. Both ends of the bead are highly smoothed and polished. Although the bead is lightly coated in red ochre, the presence of ochre on its surface might be incidental as it was recovered from sediments that were stained by powdered hematite.
  Figure 2
La Prele bone bead showing polished ends (upper) and side view with incisions (lower).
We considered the possibility that the bead is not of human manufacture but instead the product of carnivore consumption and digestion, as bone tubes of small mammals are sometimes found in carnivore scat, and they can show characteristics exhibited by the bead37,38. Digestive pitting on long bone shaft fragments and polishing on fracture surfaces can occur on bone fragments passed by coyotes (Canis latrans)37,38 and grooves on the bead surface are similar in size and shape to ‘scores’ produced by carnivore gnawing39. We find the carnivore hypothesis unlikely for five reasons. First, we have examined thousands of small mammal bones from the site40, and this bone tube fragment is unique with respect to polishing and surface modification. Had carnivores been common on the site, they would have surely left behind more than one piece of bone in their scats. Second, as discussed below, the artifact was manufactured from a skeletal element of low nutritional value that is often left unmodified by carnivores in the first place, suggesting that it would be a rare item even in an assemblage produced by carnivores37,38. Third, the context from which it was recovered, 1 m from a hearth feature in a dense scatter of cultural materials, strongly supports the hypothesis that humans made this artifact. It would require a remarkable series of events for the only carnivore-passed bone tube recovered from the site to be found in this location. Fourth, carnivore modification of faunal remains at La Prele is generally rare to non-existent, suggesting they were not present or at least kept away from the primary human living spaces at the site. Lastly, the grooves on the surface of the bead have U-shaped cross sections which can be produced by humans or carnivores41,42. While this does not eliminate the possibility that the grooves were created by gnawing, the grooves are fully consistent with creation by humans, either with stone tools or their own teeth. The collective evidence gives us confidence that the artifact is a human-modified bone bead.
  Figure 4
Micro-CT scans showing transverse (a–d) and longitudinal (e–h) cross sections of the La Prele bead (d,h) and a modern snowshoe hare proximal phalanx (a,e), metacarpal (b,f), and metatarsal (c,g). Yellow lines on longitudinal cross sections indicate the location of the transverse cross section for each specimen.

Just a few points for creationists to try to explain away here:
  1. The existence of people killing mammoths and making beads for decoration, 1,940 years or so before 'Creation Week'.
  2. Why this evidence of the killing and butchering of mammoths in North America was not destroyed in the legendary global, genocidal flood, as it surely would have been, or at least would have been covered in the predictable global layer of silt that such a flood would have produced, and yet we have the evidence of fires and hearths complete with charred animal remains.
  3. The fact that the deposits the bead was associated with had been independently dated, not by the team, but by another research group who took five independent measurements which converged on the single date.
  4. The complete absence of mammoths or their African and Asian relatives, elephants, in the Bible.
But, as usual, we won't get an explanation because the way this evidence will be dealt with by creationists is by dismissing it all and pretending it isn't there.

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