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DNA busts cave-pooper - 14,000 years later!

The recent consensus has been that the earliest humans in North America were the Clovis people, roughly 13,000 years ago. Newly discovered fecal fossils in Oregon indicate people were pooping here at least 1000 years earlier, though.

Consider, if you will: it is 10,000 B.C. You are Og the caveman, living near Eugene, Oregon. Of course, there is no "Eugene" yet - no freeways, no Starbucks, no anarchists, no hippies, in short none of the modern conveniences upon which we have come to rely. You're invited to a barbecue at the Oops' cave, and Beelze Butt has agreed to be your date. After a few rousing rounds of "Taunt the Saber-tooth Tiger," the females are impressed and the males winnowed down, and it is time to feast. Unfortunately Mrs. Oop is serving tainted mastodon, which hits your colon like a runaway freight train.

When ya gotta go, ya gotta go, and the group is laughing around the fire in a scene that could one day make a Geico commercial, so you sneak off into the recesses of the Oop's cave and let go. Naturally, you want to get out of there before the scent wafts out, so you rejoin the group, make your apologies, and drag Beelze by the hair back to your place.

You're in the clear, right? They'll never prove it was YOU who pooped in their cave . . . but the thing about crime is that, sooner or later, they all are solved. Enter archaeologists from the Universities of Oregon and Copenhagen, Denmark, who entered the cave, found the poop, and tested it for DNA. Dreadful bad luck there, Og!

John Noble Wilford reports for The New York Times:


Exploring Paisley Caves in the Cascade Range of Oregon, archaeologists have found a scattering of human coprolites, or fossil feces. The specimens preserved 14,000-year-old human protein and DNA, which the discoverers said was the strongest evidence yet of the earliest people living in North America.

Other archaeologists agreed that the findings established more firmly than before the presence of people on the continent at least 1,000 years before the well-known Clovis people, previously thought to be the first Americans. Recent research at sites in Florida and Wisconsin also appears to support the earlier arrivals, and a campsite in Chile indicates migration deep into South America by 14,600 years ago.


Read the whole article at the link above. Okay, there were actually fecal samples left from several different humans, so it isn't fair to put all the blame on Og. Maybe the Oops and others joined him. Maybe it was some sort of social occasion, a ritual of community. Maybe they all just sat around shooting the sh*t . . .


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Comments (13)

Wait until little Timmy doe... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Wait until little Timmy does a show & tell topic on anthropology.

Before there were outhouses... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Before there were outhouses there must have been outcaves. You can't have indoor plumbing until someone invents the door, but an outcave was nearly as good.

I enjoyed the story Jim cre... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

I enjoyed the story Jim created, it really gave a life to the circumstances that allowed for this discovery... but, speaking from personal experiences, sometimes the "outdoor experience" leaves much to be desired. There are occasions when some place warmer, or out of the weather, or even just quieter is the preference. Enjoying the view doesn't trump remaining dry in a torrential downpour.

Finally, it's also possible that if Og was hung like a baby carrot he may have suffered some anxiety over any "performance" in more public surroundings (and today his progeny likely close the bath room door even when they are home alone).

Just a thought, I guess we'll never really know. One thing is for sure, grunts coming from a cave don't always mean there is a bear in there.

Speaking of the "outdoor ex... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Speaking of the "outdoor experience", there are some who have lived there whole lives without every doing number two in nature. I've been camping with such and seen the socked expression on their face when yesterday's meal hits the ground rather than slips underwater. They had no idea their s**t stinks that bad.

Alexander Cummings' invention ranks right up there with the electric light. Yes, others invented flush toilets before Cummings, but his was the first to retain water in the bowl. Those who say that was only to prevent sewer gases from leaking into the house haven't had their own outdoor experience.

Are these covered by the En... (Below threshold)
Tregonsee:

Are these covered by the Endangered Feces Act?

No surprise that in Oregon ... (Below threshold)
epador:

No surprise that in Oregon they're finding crap older than anyone can believe and making a big deal about it.

"Of course, there is no "Eu... (Below threshold)
anon:

"Of course, there is no "Eugene" yet - no freeways, no Starbucks, no anarchists, no hippies, in short none of the modern conveniences upon which we have come to rely."

Wait, what?

Hippies and anarchists are modern conveniences?

Yes, they're convenient str... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Yes, they're convenient strawpeople for conservatives to bash liberals with.

How does one reconcile 14,000 year old poop with the fact that our planet is 10,000 years old?

Yes, they're conve... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Yes, they're convenient strawpeople for conservatives to bash liberals with.

No need to use strawpeople, there are more than enough YouTube video's of real liberals making false, racist, or just plan foolish statements.

How does one reconcile 14,000 year old poop with the fact that our planet is 10,000 years old?

There you go again, cutting down Obama for his 20 plus year association with Wright.

There you go, conflating im... (Below threshold)
matthew:

There you go, conflating immorality (Wright) with stupidity (Creationists). I think Obama's other detractors would be upset that you think Wright's merely mistaken, and not a very bad person, Mac.

There you go, conf... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
There you go, conflating immorality (Wright) with stupidity (Creationists).

When you're talking about Wright I don't think you can separate the attributes. Certainly it was stupid of Obama to expose himself to ridicule over his long time association with Wright.

I think Obama's other detractors would be upset that you think Wright's merely mistaken, and not a very bad person, Mac.

Wright is definitely mistaken in his rants about chickens coming home to roost for the U.S. Of course liberals think that part is accurate. Which is more stupid; not being able to correctly translate ancient Hebrew or not being able to correctly understand the history of WWII? Those who can't connect the attack on Pearl Harbor with the attack on Hiroshima shouldn't be calling those who misinterpret ancient Hebrew stupid.

Do you think he believes th... (Below threshold)
matthew:

Do you think he believes that? Or do you think he knows he's full of shit? I have to believe it's more of the latter, as he seems to me quite capable at extracting money from sheeple.

Do you think he be... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Do you think he believes that? Or do you think he knows he's full of shit?

Wright's just telling the sheeple what they want to hear. That's where Obama learned it and all he as to promise is "change" and the sheeple vote for him and send him millions to spread the "change" message. Then he invokes the name of Al Gore to pull in all the Global warming sheeple. Yes sir, if a corrupt UN committee (I know that's redundant) says it's so it must be so.




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