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No. 54: Nov-Dec 1987

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"Central, Brazil -- Archaeologists excavating a cave in Brazil's remote northeastern backlands say that they have found evidence that man has lived in the New World for at least 300,000 years.

"If confirmed, it would be the first proof of pre-Neanderthal man in the Americas and a severe blow to current theories that the first humans came here from Asia during the last Ice Age, only about 35,000 years ago.

"The scientists also report that they have discovered what may be the world's oldest astronomical observatory.


"The signs of man were found in a cave called Toca da Esperanca (Grotto of Hope), deep in the black limestone cliffs of the Serra Negra mountains, 1,100 miles northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

"The site caught the interest of the scientific community after archaeologist Maria Beltrao reported finding a stone implement and the cut bones of an extinct species of horse in the dig last year.

"The bones were so old that they could not be dated by carbon-14, which can measure about 40,000 years. The Weak Radiation Laboratory in France tested them by a more sensitive uraniumthorium method, and came back with a staggering date of 300,000 years.


"A cave called Grotto of the Cosmos at nearby Xique-Xique contained paintings of suns, stars and comets, and this is what archaeologists believe is the oldest astronomical observatory in the Americas.

"'There probably were at least two cultures here,' said (J.) Labeyrie. 'One, about 10,000 years ago, made the pain tings. Another, much older, was responsible for the artifacts.'

"In the grotto's dim light, a red comet 4.5 feet long stretches across the low ceiling, against a painted backdrop of stars. Red suns rise and set amid figures of lizards, a creature traditionally associated with the sun.


"Near the entrance of the cave is a notch where every year, precisely on the winter solstice (June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere), the sunlight enters and illuminates a red sun painted on the slanted ceiling."

(Muello, Peter; "Find Puts Man in America at Least 300,000 Years Ago," Dallas Times Herald, June 16, 1987.)

Reference. In our handbook Ancient Man you will find many additional archeological anomalies disputing current theories about the peopling of the New World. Further information here.

Site of pre-Neanderthal find

From Science Frontiers #54, NOV-DEC 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987