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No. 83: Sep-Oct 1992

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Winning By A Hair

Archeologists have been very skeptical about the purported human artifacts and handprint found in the Orogrande Cave, New Mexico. The chief archeologist working at the site, R. MacNeish, has now found several hairs embedded in the cement-hard layers of the cave's floor. One of these hairs, less than an inch long, has definitely been labeled as human by Canadian forensic experts. Carbon-14 dating of a nearby piece of charcoal from the same layer has yielded a date of 19,180 BP -- considerably more ancient than the passionately defended 12,000-BP date for first arrivals in the New World. MacNeish is confident that his claims will now be accepted, joking, "It looks like I'm going to win this one by a hair." Other archeologists, however, are not laughing. Handprints and hairs are insufficient; they want human bones.

(Chandler, David L.; "Strand of Hair May Be Proof of Much Earlier Americans," Boston Globe, June 28, 1992. (Cr. R. Coltman)

From Science Frontiers #83, SEP-OCT 1992. � 1992-2000 William R. Corliss