No. 40: Jul-Aug 1985
Just how old are those modern-looking human skeletons in those chunks of Guadeloupe limestone? (Opposing views were discussed in SFs #27 and 34.) The basic problem is the dating of the limestone in which the skeletons are embedded. If the limestone is truly of Miocene age (about 25 million years old), the presence of human skeletons represemts a major scientific anomaly, since modern man appeared on earth only about 5 million years ago. Most scientists say the limestone is only recently formed beach rock a few hundred years old, and that radiometric dating proves this. But doubters have pointed to 3-millionyear-old coral reefs apparently stratigraphically above the limestone. In a recent issue of Ex Nihilo, a few more cans of gasoline have been thrown on the fire:
(1) The radiometric date usually served up actually came from another island in the area. (2) Beach rock is not now forming at the site, rather the skeletons' limestone is being eroded. (3) The skeletons' limestone is harder than marble and not loosely consolidated beach rock. (4) True Miocene limestone does exist in the area. (5) Geologists have carefully described and mapped the rest of Guadeloupe but have omitted the skeletons' site -- presumably because of the anomalies involved.
(Tyler, David J., et al; Ex Nihilo, 7:41, no. 3, 1985.)
Comment. Keep tuned to this station and in the interim read Jacques Barzun's Science: The Glorious Entertainment.
|Fossilized human skeleton from Guadeloupe. The Paris specimen.|