Vero Beach: An Update

Back in June of 2009 I wrote a post about a bone with a mammoth or mastodon etched on it (you can find a video on the find here). I don’t have anything new to report on that find, but there are some interesting developments concerning Vero Beach.

First, there is a web site devoted to Vero Beach located here. From the website:

There is a planned project to build a new $850,000 storm-water-treatment facility on the site. Before this project can receive a state permit, the Vero Beach City Engineer Bill Messersmith is required to look for archaeological remains and he is open to receiving help. What is needed is a professional scientific excavation that even Ales Hrdlicka could not question. It is to this end that the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee (OVIASC) has been formed. OVIASC will work with the City of Vero Beach, the Indian River County Historical Society, along with experts and scientists. We seek donations to help fund this excavation, to study the recovered artifacts and fossils, and to properly display them for the education of all.

Some archaeological investigation has been done and the results are reported in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. I don’t have access to the paper so I can’t comment further, but here is the abstract:

In the early 20th century, human skeletal remains were excavated from the Vero Beach site in southeastern Florida in direct stratigraphic association with extinct late Pleistocene mammals, including giant ground sloths, armadillos, carnivores, camels, tapirs, and horses. Despite the demonstrable stratigraphic context, prominent scientists during the early 20th century, such as the anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička, dismissed these human remains from the Vero Beach site as younger, intrusive burials. Although several other important late Pleistocene/early Holocene sites have been found elsewhere in North America with human and extinct faunal association, the Vero Beach site remains significant because of the quality of preservation of the human skeletal remains, and its geographic location in the southeast. More recent attempts to provide age control at Vero, e.g., using direct 14C dating of associated fossil bones, have so far been unsuccessful, including in this study, almost certainly resulting from diagenesis. Here we establish the relative ages of the fossils from Vero Beach by comparing the relative uptake of REEs (rare earth elements) during fossilization. The human and late Pleistocene mammal specimens found in situ from the same stratigraphic levels (stratum 2 and the base of stratum 3) at Vero Beach have similarly high REE concentrations and patterns; the concentrations are significantly greater than those from a control group of modern mammals from the same area. We therefore interpret these data to indicate that the humans are contemporaneous with late Pleistocene mammals from the Vero Beach site in Florida.

3 Responses

  1. Great post. I will attach it to you. What is your email?

  2. My email address can be found on the “about” tab.

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