A new study published in Nature used DNA analysis to determine that South Americans and Polynesians made contact around 1200 CE and had children together. Alexander Ioannidis of Stanford led a team analyzing DNA from French Polynesia and South America, and they found indigenous South American DNA in Polynesia. Although Ioannidis believes that first contact likely happened when Polynesians reached South America, the evidence of Colombian DNA in Polynesia implies that the Americans sailed westward and landed in Polynesia, perhaps getting stranded there. According to Ioannidis, the evidence suggests a single contact event, since all of the Colombian DNA seems to derive from the same source (the Zenu people) at the same time.
Could you imagine what pseudoarchaeology and pseudohistory would have been like had Plato never written of Atlantis? It’s an interesting thought experiment, since so much of modern “alternative” history derives directly or indirectly from efforts to investigate Plato’s allegorical ancient civilization. Without Atlantis, there would be many fewer crazy ideas about “white” rulers in ancient Mesoamerica, no “pole-shift” speculation, and no Fingerprints of the Gods. And since Atlantis ideas also fed into ancient astronaut claims, we’d probably have a lot less space alien nonsense, too. But, you live with what people actually did, not what you with they had done.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a seminal series in the history of supernatural television. Not only did the show mark the transition from the episodic adventure series of past decades toward the serialized storytelling of today, with the requisite end-of-season battle with the “Big Bad,” it also redefined what a female hero could be in a genre better known for “final girls” and victims than for female empowerment. The massive influence of Buffy can still be felt today, and rarely more directly than in the new Netflix series Warrior Nun, which comes closer to ripping off Buffy wholesale than nearly any series before it, but somehow fails at the task of plagiarism so badly that it instantly seems more dated than its predecessor, which debuted in 1997.
If you are a regular reader of Graham Hancock’s website, you know that he offers a slot each month to a fellow fringe author to promote their oddball claims and newest books. You have probably also noticed that a growing number of these articles involve ancient astronauts. While Hancock insists that these featured slots don’t constitute endorsements, it’s nevertheless true that Hancock is giving significant exposure to increasingly extreme content. The latest article is a summary of Bruce Fenton’s new book Exogenesis: Hybrid Humans, which argues that humanity is the result of a genetic experiment conducted by space aliens 780,000 years ago. The book carries an endorsement and foreword from Erich von Däniken, the most famous ancient astronaut theorist. Von Däniken famously argued that space aliens had sex with apelike human ancestors to create humans, and that their first foray resulted in the Black race, which they considered a failure and replaced with whites.
How did they not see it? The question haunted me. The answer was equally disturbing.
In popular memory, the 1950s were a placid period of gray flannel suits, conformity, and prosperity. That image is more a product of the era’s sitcoms and movies than it ever was a reality. Underneath the glossy surface, the modern world was struggling to be born, erupting in full force a decade later. Today, I’d like to talk a little bit about the classic 1955 film Rebel without a Cause and what the bifurcated reaction to it can tell us about the way culture shapes our perception of the world around us. Above all, I became interested in a key question: How can people look at the same movie and see incompatibly different things? This has lessons for understanding, of all things, the development of another classic product of the postwar years, the flying saucer, when we look at the intertwined cultures of paranoia and secrecy created by the Lavender Scare, the Red Scare, and the UFO panic of those years.
It’s been a big week for former America Unearthed host and current fringe media gadfly Scott F. Wolter. In this important moment of reckoning with systemic racism, the History Channel chose this weekend to begin making available episodes of the Eurocentric, conspiratorial, pseudohistorical America Unearthed for free on YouTube as a teaser for purchasing complete seasons, including the one featuring Wolter nodding in agreement to praise of the Confederacy and its pro-slavery terrorist group Knights of the Golden Circle. Promoting a series whose defining message is “whites were here first” is an odd way for History to honor its supposed commitment to diversity and tolerance.
Finding Atlantis is such a staple of internet click-bait that it’s hardly a surprise when a new claim arises. If you believe the British tabloids, Atlantis has been found every three months for decades now. Today’s claim comes to us from The Express, summarizing a video lecture Christos A. Djonis made on Ancient Origins. It should sound familiar, though, because it’s the same claim that Djonis made in 2016 and also the same claim that appeared on America Unearthed before that. According to the Express article, Djonis has picked up a few things from America Unearthed, too, now claiming that the Minoans stole copper from America, as Scott Wolter rather ridiculously argued years ago. He also has added a claim picked up from Gavin Menzies that an American tobacco beetle was found in Minoan remains at Santorini, though it was actually an indigenous beetle from the Bronze Age. Rather than rewrite my analysis of Djonis’s poor evidence, let me repeat my 2016 article debunking his nonsense:
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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