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Re: Australia - Fire From Humans Caused Extinctions

Subject: Re: Australia - Fire From Humans Caused Extinctions
From: "rmacfarl"
Date: 11 Jul 2005 21:28:24 -0700
Newsgroups: sci.anthropology.paleo

Su Solomon wrote:
> rmacfarl wrote:
...
> > But Miller argues that more accurately dated fossils are needed to support
> > this theory. "The Cuddie Springs dating remains very contentious," he says.
> > "Most agree that the extinction event occurred between 50,000 and 45,000
> > years ago."
>
> Miller does not give the cites to his claim that the Cuddie Springs
> dating is "very" contentious.
>
> Check out this
>
> http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/stories/s1381705.htm
>
> I find it interesting that the determination, by some people, to
> discredit the evidence from Cuddie Springs, borders on the pathological.

I can't let that go unchallenged. :-)

a) Since the quote from Miller was only in an interview in a Nature
article, it's a bit unfair to take him to task over not providing a
cite (maybe he did!)

b) The Science Show interview you referenced doesn't do much to give
the lie to the claim that "The Cuddie Springs dating remains very
contentious" because it specifically acknowledges the alternative
datings -  that was why Field was doing her work there, surely. (You
may believe that her work has put this issue conclusively to bed, and
you may be right, but I'll hazard a guess that not every professional
paleoanthropologist in Australia is yet convinced. :-)

c) There is too much tendency on both sides of the debate (hint hint)
for pathological or knee-jerk responses. For example, for Field to
suggest that because it was rats that the Maoris introduced to NZ that
killed the frogs & birds etc, that the New Zealand extinctions were
"not a blitzkrieg as such" is just plain silly semantic obfuscation.

N.B. the mere fact that I agree with you on Cuddie Springs / Australian
blitzkrieg is no good reason not to stir a ding-dong argument, now is
it? :-)

Ross Macfarlane


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