Were Advanced Societies Decimated by Asteroids 12 000 Years Ago?
There was a recent Joe Rogan podcast that was fascinating because the main guests were Graham Hancock, Randall Carlson, and Michael Shermer. They got into a heated debate about whether advanced civilizations existed approximately 10 000–12 000 years ago, and if they did, how their populations were decimated.
For those who don’t know, Joe Rogan is a stand-up comedian, UFC commentator, and black belt jiu-jitsu practitioner who has a podcast called The Joe Rogan Experience. He talks to a wide variety of guests, from comedians, to MMA fighters, scientists, journalists, musicians, actors, hunters, politicians, and everything in between. Graham Hancock is a journalist, fiction and non-fiction author, and amateur archaeologist. Randall Carlson is a geologist with ample knowledge in fields such as architecture, geometry, and climate science. Michael Shermer is a self-proclaimed skeptic, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, and writer for Scientific American, who knows a lot about the history of science. He makes it his business to debunk religious claims and conspiracy theories.
In the podcast, these people discussed the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis. This postulates that global cooling that began with the Younger Dryas period about 12 900 years ago was initiated by one or more comet impacts. I’m not sure what the difference is between comets and asteroids. But apparently, they are very similar, other than being constructed of different materials. Both often contain rock, but asteroids are also composed of metal, while ice and dust can be found in comets.
The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis is related to the claim that advanced societies existed about 10 000–12 000 years ago. That is because if they did, and the theory is correct, then those people would have experienced massive destruction. Rogan, Hancock, and Carlson all believe that this is at least highly likely. Michael Shermer has doubts that people were not merely hunter gatherers during this time period. He also is skeptical of the devastation during the Younger Dryas time frame being due to comet impacts.
Why do Carlson, Hancock, and Rogan think that advanced societies were present before and during the Younger Dryas period? Well, the latter mostly seems to because he believes the ample arguments and evidence laid out by Hancock and Carlson. In terms of the former, he most famously first presented his case in his book called Fingerprints of the Gods. In it, among other things, he explains interpretations of evidence used to date ancient ruins. He also visited these sites many times in person. When the book was published, the position of mainstream archaeology was that structures like the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Sphynx, in Egypt, were 2000–6000 years old. However, the generally accepted time frame was more like 2000–3000 years ago.
Hancock studies the work of amateur Egyptologists like John Anthony West, and credentialed geologists like Robert Schoch. He uses their conclusions to offer a convincing case for the ancient Egyptian ruins being much older than mainstream archaeology proposed at the time. West shows countless anomalies with the dating of the pyramids and the Sphynx. These include clear evidence for different stages of construction, which may have been separated by thousands of years. He also elaborates on astronomical star alignments during different time periods. He compares them to how the Egyptians, or whoever built the pyramids, may have wanted them to line up with their structures. Ancient societies generally had the utmost respect for astrology. There is convincing evidence that when monuments like the Sphynx were constructed, they aligned with constellations at the time. Also, there apparently is only one inscription on one of the pyramids that states that it was built 2500 years ago. Archaeologists appeared to assume this is true, and made their case based on that preconception. They claim to have other evidence, but that is a flimsy piece on which to build an objective date. Schoch offers an interesting interpretation of his examination of water erosion on the Sphynx. According to him, the degree of this is so great that it could only have happened when the Giza Plateau experienced heavy rainfall. The climate had to be so different that what is now a desert had to be a rain forest. This was not the case in that area since at least about 7000 years ago, which is obviously a lot older than 2000–3000 years. That is a conservative estimate because people like West claim that the ruins are anywhere from 12 000 to 36 000 years old.
Hancock examines many other ancient ruins for his book, which he continues in the sequel that explores the same subject, called Magicians of the Gods. One of the most fascinating ancient sites is Gobekli Tepe because as far as I know, it is the oldest one in the world at an age of at least 12 000 years. But Hancock has talked to the lead excavator there, who estimates that there are probably at least 50 times more ruins underground than what has already been discovered. Only a small fraction of Gobekli Tepe has been revealed. Due to its age, size, and complex geometric art contained within, it is easy to combine this with evidence from other sites to argue for ancient civilizations. Since Gobekli Tepe was discovered, mainstream archaeologists slightly altered their extreme view on the age of the Egyptian ruins.
The important question in terms of these megalithic structures is whether civilizations had to be advanced to be capable of building them. It seems more likely that the answer to this question is yes rather than no. Michael Shermer raised the point in the podcast that hunter gatherers did appear to have a lot of free time. But did they have enough, and were they organized enough, to take on projects of this magnitude? I think that invoking advanced civilizations makes sense to a certain extent. This is because they had to have enough time, people, coordination, tools, and complex skills required for the amazing construction achievements. Some of the artwork is phenomenally precise, and some of the blocks in the pyramids fit together so tightly that a piece of paper cannot fit in between them. No one knows what people were like over 10 000 years ago, but did hunter gatherers possess the abilities to complete these monuments?
The crucial question in terms of the Younger Dryas is how this time period came about. Randall Carlson spent decades examining geological evidence of what he claims is one massive, or several smaller, asteroid impacts. They apparently occurred approximately 10 000–12 000 years ago in North America. He acknowledges in the podcast that the population decimation during the Younger Dryas time frame was due to a combination of human predation, and climate change. There are different views on this subject, arguing for varying degrees of both. I’m not sure how much evidence there is for the former, but there purportedly is a large amount for climate change. The enormous quantity of it that lasted for a very long time is almost undeniable, but what caused it? It’s almost impossible to know for sure, but Carlson has explained his theory in minute detail, on his website, and in previous Joe Rogan podcasts. He has mountains of evidence. He considers factors like water erosion, the geometry of different materials that experienced it, and changing architecture related to these. Carlson uses these to assert a high probability that there were one or more massive asteroid or comet impacts in North America around 10 000–12 000 years ago.
Hancock uses Carlson’s arguments and evidence in his book to further his claim that advanced civilizations were decimated by these catastrophes. Other than the increasingly older ruins that continue to be unearthed, 24 000 year old mammoth bones were recently discovered in North America. They have supposed evidence of tool marks on them. This is a momentous discovery, if confirmed, because the mainstream view until recently was that there were no humans on the continent until much later than that.
Michael Shermer casts some valid doubt on these arguments. It is not undeniable that there were advanced societies so long ago, they built megaliths, and were largely wiped out by asteroids and/or comets. Groups of people could have worked together to construct the structures without entire civilizations being required. The devastation during the Younger Dryas period being caused by floods is apparently almost undeniable. This is because there is ample evidence that points to hundreds or thousands of feet of violently moving water. However, Shermer presents the position that the floods may have been due to natural dams breaking, which could occur without asteroid or comet impacts. Even though there almost certainly were at least minimal hits, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all or most of the decimation was caused by comets. Other natural disasters could be misinterpreted as being related to such impacts. But how did the natural dams break if that was the case? Asteroids or comets seem to have the most explanatory power.
This is an extremely complex subject, and there are innumerable factors to consider, with widely varying viewpoints. I am inclined to believe Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson, but it’s fascinating to hear valid criticisms of their opinions. They make me consider what happens with almost every similar issue. The more you learn, the more you find out that there is so much more to know. Differing points of view enhance this. Ultimately, it’s mindboggling to think and learn about how old ancient societies might have been. How the fuck did our ancestors complete such amazing feats of architecture, some of which can barely be replicated today? What were people like more than 10 000 years ago? If humans were in North America that long ago, or longer, what happened to them? How did so many of them die? These questions may never be answered with certainty, but they are always captivating.
Originally published at mindgasms.theblogpress.com on May 20, 2017.