National Geographic : 1972 Mar
JAMES E. RUSSELL(UPPER LEFT); RUSSELLD. GUTHRIE(LOWERLEFT);ANDGEORGEHERBEN but intact. Sometimes there would still be dried blood. And sometimes, through a rare chain of circumstances, an entire large mam mal would be preserved (upper left). To include so many species in his painting, Mr. Matternes had to exaggerate the density of the region's population. Probably not all these species appeared there in any single summer, but discoveries elsewhere in central Alaska prove they existed at the same time. Altogether, the painting reflects the best of our knowledge of life on the Ice Age tundra. Greatest Prize Still Eludes Searchers But who can say what surprises may still be in store for us? The biggest surprise might well involve Homo sapiens himself. Neither hair nor bone of him has yet been found in the muck. So far his presence has been deduced only from artifacts, such as stones shaped and pointed as weapons. Hydraulic gold mining has dwindled and is thus unlikely to provide startling new dis coveries. But recent surveying for the route of the proposed trans-Alaska oil pipeline has turned up numerous sites of human habita tion. Some of them are thought to be 13,000 years old or older. Most have as yet yielded only hunting implements, and are presumed by arche ologists to have been no more than the tempo rary camps of nomadic hunters. But two sites of later date reflect more permanent occupa tion and contain women's things as well skin scrapers and thimbles. Human bones may turn up one day. Per haps even a whole Ice Age man!