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Planet X Dinosaur Killer?

Planet X as a major factor in the history of Earth is a popular notion in some quarters, like, say, the Zecharia Sitchin fan club, but the idea has always drawn sneers from establishment science. Recent research could be changing that, though. While the notion that the history of human civilization has been altered by interactions with another planet continues to be rejected, the idea that very ancient life of another kind could have been threatened by such an interchange has suddenly caught fire.

Astrophysicist Daniel Whitmire has seized on the recent Planet X discoveries (see A.R. #117, “The Discovery of Planet X”) as new evidence to explain many of Earth’s mass extinctions at intervals of about 27 million years. Whitmire and colleague John Matese first introduced the theory in 1985, suggesting that massive comet showers triggered by the close approach of the massive Planet X (about 1000 times the size of Earth) were what killed the dinosaurs. The theory was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Three possible explanations for the comet showers were stated, but since, two of them have been ruled out as inconsistent with the paleontological record. The third, a Planet X intersection scenario, has not; and now, with the sudden new official acceptance of the existence of such a planet, the Whitmire/Matese theory has been given a new lease on life.

As Planet X approaches the sun, goes the theory, it knocks many objects from the Kuiper belt into orbit about the sun, from whence they crash into Earth while blocking much of the light from the sun. It’s certainly a recipe for disaster. Could long dead dinosaurs have a tale to tell?


Cave Art—10,000 Years Older than We Thought

The phrase: “it’s much older than anyone thought possible,” is used so often in archaeology news, that it seems like all modern timelines for human history on Earth should be thrown out, and we should just start over with a new set of assumptions. The latest case has to do with sophisticated cave art found throughout the world. Advanced drawings and paintings of many animal species have now been shown to date to at least 10,000 years before we thought they did.

The astonishing sketch-work clearly reveals the hand of several brilliant artists whose mastery of line and anatomical detail continues to impress even today’s most discriminating experts. In the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc caves of France, dating of the charcoal and other residues on the pictures had previously assigned them to 22,000-18,000 BCE. In 2015, however, art found in a cave on the Indonesian island of Sulewesi yielded dates of 35,000 to 40,000 years ago. So now, in a new paper in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences the dating at the Chauvet cave art has been revisited, and it too can now be shown definitively to go back to 33,500 to 37,000 years ago. France has now proudly reclaimed for the Chauvet caves, and its tourist industry, the title of possessing the oldest animal art on Earth—at least until something older is turns up.


Another “Missing Link” Shows Up

Ever since Charles Darwin, his disciples have combed the fossil record for ‘missing links’ in the chain of evolution—especially in the case of humans. There have been many candidates for the part, and a few—like the so-called Piltdown man—outright frauds, but so far none has proved worthy of the role. The latest case to make Darwinian hearts throb comes from South Africa.

About three million years ago tiny humanlike dwarfs, we are told, quite possibly preceded—and perhaps overlapped human ancestors in South Africa. Announcements came in March from the team of scientists who have now excavated a deep underground cave site within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system in a region described as the “Cradle of Humankind.”

Labeled homo Naledi by professor Lee Burger—of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg—and his colleagues, the creature was less than five feet tall, with a small brain. But for those who say it’s just another ape, researchers point to its humanlike foot and leg. Unlike Neanderthals (according to some authorities), the Naledi buried their dead, and it was a burial site, which held the remains of about 15 of the new tribe. At the moment, the paleo-anthropologists seem quite confident that they have stumbled upon a new species of humans, one that they can boldly call a “missing link.”

The greatest problem for missing link hunters, though, remains. If there is one there would have to be millions, yet, alas, all of them remain missing.