An Update on Vero Beach Man

I wrote about the Vero Beach mammoth engraving in February of 2012 (See: https://markgelbart.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/the-vero-beach-mammoth-engraving/).  A fossil collector found the bone of an unidentified species of megafauna engraved with the likeness of a mammoth.  This rare artifact was discovered at the Vero Beach fossil site in Florida.  This site was first excavated about 100 years ago.  Human remains were found in the same strata as the remains of extinct Pleistocene megafauna including sabertooth, mastodon, llama, tapir, etc.  The leading archaeologist of the day insisted humans didn’t colonize North America until after the Pleistocene megafauna became extinct.  He believed Indians buried dead members of their tribe, thus explaining why these particular human remains appeared to be in the same strata as the extinct mammals. Years later, overwhelming evidence showed that humans did overlap in time with North America’s extinct megafauna.  However, I had read that no scientist had been able to test the Vero Beach remains because they had been lost.  Either the Vero Beach remains were rediscovered or they were never lost because I came across a recent study in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology that did involve testing these specimens.

Paleoindians hunting.  An analysis of rare earth element concentrations confirms human fossils found at the Vero Beach Site were the same age as the megafauna fossils, solving a century old controversy.

The scientists who published this study (referenced below) analyzed the concentrations of rare earth elements to determine humans lived at Vero Beach at the same time as the extinct Pleistocene megafauna.  (Vero Beach was far inland then and not actually a beach.)  The concentration of rare earth elements in ground water varies over time.  Organisms drink this water and the amount of rare earth elements in their bone matches that of the environment at the time they lived.  The human remains had rare earth element concentrations in the same ratio as the Pleistocene mammals.  These levels are higher than are found in modern Floridian mammals.  This evidence resolves a century old scientific dispute, though few modern scientists doubted the Indian remains dated to the Pleistocene.

Reference:

Macfadden, Bruce; and Barbara Purdy, F. Church, and Thomas Stafford

“Humans were contemporaneous with Late Pleistocene Mammals in Florida: Evidence from Rare Earth Elemental Analysis”

Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32 (3) May 2012

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2 Responses to “An Update on Vero Beach Man”

  1. George Crawford Says:

    Reblogged this on BLACKWATER LOCALITY #1.

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