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# The question of when the first people populated the American

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The question of when the first people populated the American [#permalink]  15 Mar 2019, 23:27
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The question of when the first people populated the American subcontinents is hotly debated. Until recently, the Clovis people, based on evidence found in New Mexico, were thought to have been the first to have arrived, some thirteen thousand years ago. Yet evidence gathered from other sites suggests the Americas had been settled at least one thousand years prior to the Clovis people's arrival. The "Clovis-first" idea, nevertheless, was treated as gospel, backed by supporters who, at least initially, outright discounted any claims that suggested precedence by non-Clovis people. While such a stance smacked of fanaticism, proponents did have a solid claim: if the Clovis crossed the Bering Strait thirteen thousand years ago, only after it had become ice-free, how would others have been able to make a similar trip but over ice?

A recent school of thought, backed by Weber, provides the following answer: pre-Clovis people reached the Americas by relying on a sophisticated maritime culture, which allowed them to take advantage of refugia, or small areas in which aquatic life flourished. Thus, they were able to make the long journey by hugging the coast as far south as what is today British Columbia. Additionally, they were believed to have fashioned a primitive form of crampon so that they would be able to dock in these refugia and avail themselves of the microfauna. Still, such a theory raises the question as to how such a culture developed.

The Solutrean theory has been influential in answering this question, a fact that may seem paradoxical—and startling—to those familiar with its line of reasoning: the Clovis people were actually Solutreans, an ancient seafaring culture along the Iberian peninsula, who had—astoundingly, given the time period—crossed into the Americas via the Atlantic Ocean. Could a similar Siberian culture, if not the pre-Clovis people themselves, not have displayed equal nautical sophistication?

Even if one subscribes to this line of reasoning, the "Clovis-first" school still has an objection: proponents of a pre-Clovis people rely solely on the Monte Verde site in Chile, a site so far south that its location raises the question: what of the six thousand miles of coastline between the ice corridor and Monte Verde? Besides remains found in a network of caves in Oregon, there has been scant evidence of a pre-Clovis people.

Nevertheless, Meade and Pizinsky claim that a propitious geologic accident could account for this discrepancy: Monte Verde was located near a peat bog that essentially fossilized the village. Archaeologists uncovered two of the wooden stakes, which, at one time, were used in twelve huts. Furthermore, plant species associated with areas one hundred and fifty miles away were found, suggesting a trade network. These findings indicate that the Clovis may not have been the first to populate the Americas, yet more excavation, both in Monte Verde and along the coast, must be conducted in order to determine the extent of pre-Clovis settlements in the Americas.
In the context in which it appears, the phrase "avail themselves of" most nearly means

A. locate
B. exploit
C. regard
D. fathom
E. distribute

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B

It can be inferred from the passage that the reason the author finds the Solutrean hypothesis both startling and paradoxical is that

A. ancient cultures were most likely unable to develop such a sophisticated form of maritime transport that they were able to cross the Atlantic
B. it supports the Clovis school of thought and posits the existence of a capacity not commonly associated with ancient people
C. the Clovis people had crossed from Siberia navigating across a difficult ice corridor, whereas the pre-Clovis people had sailed, with far less difficulty, across the Atlantic Ocean
D. it suggests that the pre-Clovis people had a way to circumvent the ice corridor, yet were unlikely to have traveled as far south as modern day Chile
E. it runs counter to one of the chief tenets of the "Clovis-first" school of thought

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B

It can be most reasonably inferred from the passage that, in regard to the manner in which the Monte Verde village was preserved,

A. unless evidence of other pre-Clovis people was fossilized the same way it was in Monte Verde, archaeologists will be unable to determine the extent of the settlement of pre-Clovis people
B. major discoveries can sometimes result from random processes in the environment
C. plant species can offer valuable clues into the origin of other pre-Clovis settlements
D. sites dated from slightly after the period of the Clovis people did not offer archaeologists such a trove of information
E. archaeologists are unlikely to find any other significant evidence of pre-Clovis people unless they venture as much as one hundred and fifty miles from the site

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B

If it is true that a trade network between pre-Clovis people had been established, then which of the following could be expected to be found at settlements near Monte Verde?

Select $$all$$ that apply.

I. other villages that have been preserved in a peat bog
II. plants species similar to those uncovered at Monte Verde
III. the same number of wooden stakes for supporting dwellings

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B

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Re: The question of when the first people populated the American [#permalink]  21 Mar 2019, 08:22
Expert's post
1. In the original sentence, it makes the most sense to say that the pre-Clovis people were able to use, or take advantage of, the microfauna. The word "exploit" is a little harsh for me, as it can have negative connotations. But it can also mean to "make full use of," which fits the context just fine. Certainly, "exploit" fits much better than any of the other options.

2. Choice A is mostly correct, but it is only partially correct. Choice B words it much better, labeling the ability to cross the Atlantic as "a capacity not commonly associated with ancient people." Choice B additionally notes that this supports the Clovis school of thought, as the Solutrean theory posits that "the Clovis people were actually Solutreans."

3. The manner in which the village was preserved is described as a "propitious geologic accident," a random chance event that just happened to preserve the village for our study now. The discovery of the village was major indeed, and so major discoveries can sometimes be the result of random happenings in the environment.

4. The peat bog could be unique to Monte Verde, and the other villages might be bigger or smaller than Monte Verde. However, plant species were found in Monte Verde that are not found close to Monte Verde. This means that the Monte Verde people traded for these plants. With a distant village. Other villages in the area can also be reasonably expected to have traded for these plants as well. Only statement II works.
Re: The question of when the first people populated the American   [#permalink] 21 Mar 2019, 08:22
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