Thursday, January 12, 2012
Weird Archaeology: Humans Living with Dinosaurs?
Newly discovered artifacts typically support or refine our historical knowledge. The Julsrud Collection of bizarre ceramic figurines, if proven authentic, would rewrite history. Judging the evidence on this, I'd say there's a 20% chance history needs an overhaul.
The Julsrud Collection
In 1945 Waldemar Julsrud, a German merchant, found a half buried clay figurine in Guanajuato Mexico. Julsrud, also an amateur archaeologist, couldn't connect this piece to any past Mexican civilization. He hired a local worker to dig around the area, paying him one peso for every additional figurine unearthed. Within several years, Julsrud's home was overflowing with 33,000 specimens ranging from instruments and pottery to giant monkeys and dinosaurs.
Julsrud published a booklet titled Enigmas del Pasado, alerting the world to his strange collection. In it, he described the anatomically correct details depicted on the dinosaurs, centuries before fossils had been officially discovered. He theorized this could be evidence man coexisted with dinosaurs.
Journalists from Fate Magazine and the LA Times traveled to Mexico to review the collection. Both journalists published articles stating they believed the art to be authentic, dating back to ancient times as opposed to being a recently perpetrated hoax. The LA Times challenged scientists to conduct serious inquiries into the matter.
After receiving national exposure, the science community almost reluctantly looked into the sensational story. Amerind, a non profit organization specializing in native American antiquities, sent archaeologist Charles DiPeso to Mexico to assess the situation. DiPeso visited the dig site and collection for just two days before broad brushing everything a hoax. He theorized all 33,000 artifacts had been fabricated and planted by locals within recent years.
DiPeso's conclusions drew scrutiny in some circles, including Charles Hapgood, a Professor of Anthropology from University of New Hampshire. He publicly questioned DiPeso's claim of individually analyzing all 33k artifacts within 4 hours.
Like DiPeso, Hapgood visited Julsrud in Mexico. Upon finishing his 6 week study, he declared the relects genuine. Hapgood published a paper refuting DiPeso 's main argument that the escavation sites were fabricated.
To further his point, Hapgood got permission to dig under the local Police Chief's house, built near the escavation site 25 years prior. With Mexican officials present, including Dr. Eduardo Noguera, Director of the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, more figures were discovered.
The Julsrud Collection has not been proven fake to this day, despite several unpublicized efforts. In fact, paleontologists discovered in 1993 certain saurapods (apatasaurus, diplodocus) had spinal crests. Until then, these beasts were thought to have smooth backs. Every picture, toy, movie reflected this misunderstanding, but the Julsrud dinosaurs were anatomically correct.
My take on this? The scientific community needs to seriously regard this anomaly until it can produce proof positive it is a hoax. Avoiding the topic without a smoking gun only fuels lingering suspicion, especially since validation of the little clay dinos would flush evolution down the crapper.