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Comment Re:One very quick thought ... (Score 1) 233

Useful points (sorry!) on knapping etc.

I was just trying to find some usabel bathymetry data for the San Diego area, and while I'm not exactly sure, at about the time of this site (accepting the dating ; I don't see any major holes in it), it was 10 to 20km in from the coast. More strictly, from the 100m isobath, as an estimate of the sealevel at 130kyr. (No, I haven't even looked for an isostatic curve for the area. Though posing the question does suggest where to start looking.)

Comment Re:AI killing industry (Score 1) 121

A combination of art and science will eventually be able to produce completely convincing audio forgeries

"completely convincing" against what level of sceptical and detailed investigation?

(I'll admit that in contravention of my normal habits, I haven't RTFA, or even tried to find the origina source. But since I've got two hearing aids in as I type, and have never in my life understood why people waste thier time with music, I doubt there'd be any point in listening to any sounds in the report. I often can hardly recognise what I'm saying, let alone anyone else.)

The world of tricking politicians and press offices with Photoshopped images has been going on for ... about 3 days fewer than Photoshop has existed. And the same practises happened in decades and centuries before then - not excluding my crude darkroom efforts for the rag mag (you remember - dark room full of trays of chemicals. NOT the software!) or Holbein and the infamous Mare of Flanders. And just as long, more skilled operatives have been detecting the fakes and exposing them. Having had to do some photo-interpretation for mapping, I've had to pay a bit closer attention to photographs than most people, and I know I'm not particularly skilled or experienced at it. I sometimes wonder how thick some of the people who get fooled by the worse forgeries can be.

So, these first - well, most-recent - efforts at voice synthesis are not particularly convincing. But they'll improve. And the people detecting the fakes will improve. It's what's called an "arms race".

Comment Re:Unlikely (Score 1) 233

Part of the criticism of the paper is that the excavation was time-pressured,

Which part of "salvage archaeology" do you misunderstand? Literally, the bulldozers are hovering over the site, wanting to get on with paying work.

impossible to reconstruct

Which part of "salvage archaeology" do you misunderstand? Literally, the bulldozers are hovering over the site, wanting to get on with paying work.

and also had to leave out a few things that would have helped answer some questions.

Which part of "salvage archaeology" do you misunderstand? Literally, the bulldozers are hovering over the site, wanting to get on with paying work.

You have a choice in salvage work. Either get the best results you can now, with the personnel and techniques you have, now, and keep the best records you can, now. Or you get nothing. Big. Fat.Zero.

(You might be able to extend "now" by court action, but while the landsharks are in the shark pool, you need to be nose-down bum-up in the trench because the suit could go either way.

Your other questions are covered in the paper. I don't need to answer them a second time. Get a copy and read it - neither is difficult, and Slashdot does like to claim an intellectually capable readership.

Comment Re:One very quick thought ... (Score 1) 233

No, I think it's more likely that the single man scenario could have happened a thousand times - once every century - and left less evidence than the first breeding pair did in the two centuries after their arrival.

More practically, since it is certain that humans had made it from Africa to at least Indonesia by the time under discussion (a journey necessitating the use of some sort of watercraft for several steps of the journey), then it is not a huge leap to put a population of humans on the Korean/ Kamchatkan coast, living a hunting/ gathering/ fishing lifestyle, and to have them lose boats to a storm from the west on a regular basis (not enough to threaten the populations survival, just part of the regular attrition of death in fishing communities ; my Best Man's home town lost three generations of one family in one boat only about 30 years ago). The few boatmen who survived the ride along the pre-Aleutian chain, past the coastal glaciers of pre-Canada and pre-Cascadia ... eventually might arrive at pre-California and choose to stop. "Here, we can repair, re-equip, collect stores, and figure out how the fuck to get back home." And leave no population behind, because they don't put their valuable women onto the dangerous boats until they're damned sure they know where they're going.

Up-thread some people mention the Vikings going across the North Atlantic, island hopping. They don't mention the well-attested history of pre-Viking voyages (e.g. the "St Brendan" legend) that probably indicate the distorted tails of the few storm-tossed fishermen who did finally make thir way back home ... to start a legend, and to give their descendants the idea that there might be something worth going over the horizon for. Generations later, Erik Thorvaldsson and Ingolfr Arnarson knew damned well there was land "out there" when they set off to settle Greenland and Iceland respectively.

I've never believed that the only population who settled in the Americas were the ones who followed the mid-Canadian ice-free corridor. Not when the coastal route was also available. Unfortunately, archaeological evidence for the coastal route is typically at an elevation of -50 to -100m, making it challenging to identify and dig sites. In that context, this is a very interesting report. Even if I do have doubts about the final numbers for the dating.

Comment One very quick thought ... (Score 2) 233

... because I have to go and do Real World stuff.

IF you accept the dating (see my posts up-thread - I'm by no means convinced by the dating, but need to read the other dozen pages of published material as well as the main paper), then this puts ONE or more H.sapiens (or close relative) in California 130kyr ago. That does not mean a breeding population. That could be one ship-wrecked (is "raft-wrecked" a word?) storm-tossed East Asian who arrived with a fish hook and is starting to re-build his tool kit. This could have happened thousands of times without a breeding population being established.

Off to the Real World.

Comment Re:This is why we can't have nice things (Score 2) 233

Cutting the meat off bone leaves distinctive "tool marks" - either of teeth/ claws or of the implements used by human(s) to "butcher" the carcass.

The bones did not show butchery marks (RTFP, read my link up-thread), so most likely were defleshed by non-humans before the humans "processed" the bones (for marrow, or tool-making material?). That could have been just a few days after the mammoth was killed.

Are you going to try to chase a pack of sabre-tooth tigers away from their kill?

Comment Re:Unlikely (Score 2) 233

More samples from the *same* source however will reduce the error margins

The site was destroyed in some construction project. Before 1995.

There will be no new samples from this site ever. The site does not exist any more. That is why the field is called "salvage" archaeology. Whatever you get (including records) is all there will ever be.

I have to read the paper's dozen pages of SI (supplementary information), tonight, and follow those references, but since I know of U-Th series dating going back decades, I suspect that the technique of looking at diffusion profiles of U and the Th products of those is the new bit here. The last U-Th paper I read closely was about 5 years ago, so I'm guessing that this technique has been developed in about the last 5 years, and then applied to the 20-year old salvaged samples and records. And now published.

Comment Re:Unlikely (Score 5, Insightful) 233

If you had read the paper (I know, this is a post truth world, so there is never any reason to return to original sources), you'd have read the bit where they say

Initial attempts to date the CM site using radiocarbon analysis at two independent laboratories failed, because the samples lacked sufficient collagen(13). Several attempts to date the site with optically stimulated luminescence indicated that samples were near or beyond the upper limits of dose saturation, and that the depositional age of the sediment is greater than 60â"70 thousand years (kyr) (Supplementary Information 7). Subsequently, multiple bone fragments (Extended Data Fig. 9eâ"g) were analysed by uranium-series disequilibrium methods (Methods and Supplementary Information 8). (Ref 13. Deméré, T. A., Cerutti, R. A. & Majors, C. P. State Route 54 Paleontological Mitigation Program: Final Report (San Diego Natural History Museum, 1995).

There is a heretical idea that people might like to WRITE THINGS down in a PAPER, which reasonable people (your question is perfectly reasonable) might want to know, BEFORE the question is asked. This idea has only been in common use for 350 years, so should be considered provisional, though it has actually proved useful in some cases.

You might care to look at the dates there too. They completed their attempts at carbon dating in 1995, but waited until now to publish this analysis, because without the dating, it isn't particularly interesting. The technique they eventually got a date from (uranium-thorium disequilibrium diffusion-adsorbtion dating) is new enough that I am going to have to, uh, read the fucking paper's dozen pages of Supplementary Information to form a worthwhile opinion on it's validity. Though it is, of course, the obvious point of uncertainty.

There was also some damned fine trowel-work in the original excavation. I take my handlens and knee-pads off to the archaeologist who did that salvage excavation and recording.

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