February 24, 2006

PC SCIENCE:(via Raoul Ortega):

Kennewick Man yields more secrets (Sandi Doughton, 2/24/06, Seattle Times)

Kennewick Man is whispering across 9,000 years.

The story his bones tell has no clear beginning yet. But the end is coming into sharp focus, say scientists who have been studying the controversial skeleton for the past six months. [...]

Seattle archaeologist Jim Chatters, who was the first scientist to examine the bones in 1996, said being able to re-examine them in greater detail with more modern methods has changed some of his earlier impressions.

For example, spots on the temple and elbow that he originally concluded were evidence of an infection have been shown to be simple weathering, he said.

Several other questions about Kennewick Man are still awaiting lab results, including a new round of carbon-dating and isotopic studies to show what his diet was like.

But the most contentious issue of all probably won't be settled for some time.

The first measurements of the skull showed it didn't match existing Native American populations. And that led to suggestions that Kennewick Man's ancestors might not have originated in Northern Asia like those of most Native Americans, who are believed to have crossed from Asia to Alaska about 11,000 years ago.

Owsley and his colleagues have made an extensive set of new skull measurements. They now are comparing them to a database of more than 7,000 modern and prehistoric people from around the world.

"We have a lot more work to do," he said.

Anyone who wasn't born in the last 24 hours think these guys haven't determined that he's not a population match but are trying to avoid being politically incorrect?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 24, 2006 5:28 PM

Ainu it all along.

Posted by: ghostcat at February 24, 2006 5:47 PM

If the skull don't fit you must admit.

Posted by: Luciferous at February 24, 2006 5:50 PM

The "tests" will undoubtedly include a moistened finger to determine which way the winds are blowing. I believe this is called political science.

Posted by: jdkelly at February 24, 2006 6:00 PM

Yes, there's much endless debate and pointless chitchat that must be accomplished before these fellows declare the blindingly obvious.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 24, 2006 6:02 PM

clone the bugger then we won't have to guess.

Posted by: toe at February 24, 2006 6:10 PM

Weren't we told in a previous post that these remains were buried under tons of rock just so they couldn't be analyzed.

Posted by: erp at February 24, 2006 6:29 PM

That's one of the reasons I passed this along, to counter the mistaken idea that the forces of PC had managed to literally drop this one down the Memory Hole.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 24, 2006 6:43 PM

We experience a certain uneasiness when unhealthy concern over skull measurements is exhibited. This was a big part of 19th century race-science.

Does it make a difference where fossil remains originated? Truly I say to you, my decision whether or not to deed my house over to the Lenni Lenape is not contingent upon the results of this research.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 24, 2006 9:28 PM

I thought he was a white dude.

That's 1 reason the Indians didn't want him worked on, just in case he blew their claim.

Posted by: Sandy P at February 24, 2006 9:35 PM


Yes, but the claim to white guilt is staked on the Indians being a first people (never mind the Clovis).

Posted by: oj at February 24, 2006 9:40 PM

erp: some Clinton-era folks ordered the site where this skeleton was found to be buried, not the skeleton itself. They were seemingly worried that more might be found.

Posted by: PapayaSF at February 24, 2006 11:08 PM

Another jewel in Clinton's crown.

Posted by: erp at February 25, 2006 8:52 AM