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No. 62: Mar-Apr 1989

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In the discussion of the genuineness of the Holly Oak pendant in SF#61, the possibility was raised that mammoths might have survived in North America until just a few centuries ago. Such survival is contrary to all mainstream thinking. Thus, when a datum comes along, even though it appears rather far-fetched, that testifies for the recent survival of mammoths, we must at least examine it.

The datum in question (and it really is questionable) comes from the The Na tional Tombstone Epitaph, hardly part of the scientific literature! The article develops the theme that Chinese explorers landed in North America several millennia ago. The basis for such speculation is an ancient Chinese work called the Shun-Hai Ching, which is reputed to be about 3500 years old. In it, the Chinese explorers mention encounters with several strange animals. One is easily recognized as the collared peccary, known only in the New World, thus establishing the reality of a transPacific contact. Now, here is the piece de resistance:

"Here we met a creature as tall as three men and so great that the earth trembled as he walked. He had a voice as loud as thunder. He was red like fire. From his mouth he spat spears of pearl, and he had but one long arm. He was wont to take up men in his hand and dash their brains out against rocks."

Could this creature be anything but a mammoth? Incidentally, the frozen Siberian mammoths are reported to be covered with reddish hair.

(Eckhardt, C.F.; "Prehistoric Explorers of the West?" National Tombstone Epitaph, p.17, October 1988. Cr. H.J. Hanson)

Comment. Ancient Chinese in America and the late survival of the mammoth - all in one article! This is rich grist for the anomaly mill. But can we believe any of it?

Reference. The possible late survival of the mammoth assessed in BMD10 in our catalog: Biological Anomalies: Mammals II. This volume is described here.

From Science Frontiers #62, MAR-APR 1989. 1989-2000 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