Study reveals 10,000 years of genetic continuity in northwest North America is an interesting article, but I’d quibble with the regional description – because it overlaps with East Beringia.
We also know that we’re A Hundred Centuries Off – humans have been in this area for 24,000 years, not the 14,000 year number previously cited. That’s a massive gap between the oldest human fossil and the tiny snippet of human activity from 22,000 BC – some linear cut marks inside the jaw bone of a horse, made during the butchering process.
Time matters and so do names. Alaska? Less than sixty years old. Canada? A century and a half. United States? Less than two and a half centuries and given what I see on the news I wonder if we’re going to make that mark, or if internal pressures are going to cause us to fly to bits.
But cultures have been going extinct here from the minute our species first crossed from Asia. We know less about the Americans because five hundred years ago their network contacted the Europeans, and when two large networks collide one will come to dominate the other. Among writing systems that were here, we’ve only managed to decipher Mayan.
Europeans have left marks on the Americas that time will find difficult to erase, at least not without another planet wide glaciation, and that would take the right combination of plate tectonics and Earth orbit, perhaps one we’ll never reach again.
Examples include the Panama Canal, which isn’t a natural waterway, so it won’t fill with sediment. Bingham Canyon Mine‘s pit is three square miles and over half a mile deep, with no natural explanation. But whomever our successors might be, they will marvel over the Crazy Horse Memorial. I saw this in person nearly forty years ago and from this satellite image it seems they’ve made some progress.
What enduring mark(s) have I left on this planet?
Certainly not any of my writing; this is all electronic ephemera, nothing I’ve done in this century has been committed to print. A vast majority of our culture exists as ones and zeroes on magnetic media. As the size and speed of the internet grow, more and more of the central material lives in dynamic ram. Pull the plug, say with an electromagnetic pulse from a high altitude multi-megaton warhead, and it’s just gone.
Taking a few moments to think on it, the only thing that’s really going to outlast me are unnecessarily durable goods from our consumer society. How many plastic bags have I received and promptly discarded in my fifty years on this planet? Certainly one a day, till we all got hip to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch a few years ago. This concept of discarding first came up in a symbolic fashion in Societal Simulacra’s Rest Frame.
Maybe I should give up this blogging and teach myself flint knapping. I can start making Clovis points and tossing them into random caves in the area, putting my own spin on archeology here.