As one expects from USA Today this has far more fluff than substance. I’ll be doing a bit of digging on this one, but there’s no reason to subject you to my geekery, since this article isn’t the point of this post.

In a provocative and controversial claim, scientists say a scattering of bones and stones suggests ancestral humans reached the New World more than 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Most genetic and archaeological evidence shows humans first entered the Americas some 15,000 years ago.

Please note that Ms. J-School has completely ignored the evidence from Stonecroft, which is earlier than the “15,000 year” thing, meaning the Clovis culture.

But a study nearly 25 years in the making in this week’s Nature finds that the 130,000-year-old bones of a mastodon, an extinct relative of the mammoth, unearthed in California were split open with blows from rocks. Rocks discovered near the bones bear the hallmarks of use as hammers, the scientists report.

This is kind of a big deal. We know a fair amount concerning the critters that were walking, slithering, flying and swimming about back then, and unless you want to posit a clan/tribe of tool-using bears, there wasn’t anything but humans who could do this.

[200+ words in, and he finally comes to the point] This is just one example of why your response to a claim of “the science is settled” should be derisive laughter. Proper science is never settled.

PS: There was an article published yesterday (too lazy to look it back up) that suggests that in terms of physics, we don’t know as much about protons as we thought we did. And that bit of science was “settled” about a century ago.

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