Timing The Arrival Of The Modern Human Package In The Sahul

The Sahul is the Australia-New Guinea continent, which is exposed during glacial maximums. If one were to take a satellite photograph of the Sahul during an ice age, you’d see more or less a complete island in the picture, one that spans from New Guinea to Australia and Tasmania. Kind of like the one to your right. Understanding the peopling of the Sahul is critical to understand human migrations and the peopling of Australia.

In the late ’70’s to the late ’80’s, most archaeologists thought that the Sahul was occupied by Late Pleistocene humans, somewhere around 45,000 years ago. A bit of a shake-up spurred about the exact timing of the occupation when older sites like the Devil’s Lair, Lake Mungo, Nauwalabila, Malakunanja, and Huon Peninsula were discovered.

Predictably, two camps emerged. One camp asserted that the Sahul was peopled around 60,000 years ago. The other camp held on the later date, contesting that their dates are based upon more reliable dating techniques, such as radiocarbon, luminescence, and uranium-thorium dating methods. They also contest that 45,000 year old artifacts better resemble the Out of Africa “package” that is represented elsewhere.

A new paper in the Journal of Human Evolution looks at the archaeological “package” from the earlier sites. The authors of the paper compare this archaeological record to the record of other Middle Stone Age sites in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Similar to genes, the displacement of artifacts occurs when new technologies and cultures influence existing ones. It can happen under different tempos — there can be a slow, gradual change of material culture or there can be rapid and punctual changes. There can even a mix of the two. In places like Europe, we see rather fast changes, as pre-existing populations like Neandertals were replaced by humans during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition.

To see whether or not the Sahul represents a slower change, Phillip Habgooda and Natalie Franklin have looked at the archaeological record of the Sahul. They’ve published their findings under the title, “The revolution that didn’t arrive: A review of Pleistocene Sahul.” I figure you can extract the main conclusion from this concise title. But I won’t stop there because Habgooda and Franklin have written up a rather thorough study. They specifically timed the rate of change in exchange networks, mining & quarrying, beads, ochre, art, burials, shellfish middens, grindstones, modified bone, and new lithic techniques.

For the section on exchange networks, they review the archaeological record of 20 sites. The trade of exotic materials for symbolic reasons, especially over long-distances, is understood to be a relatively modern behavioral trait. 40,000 years ago, the people who occupied the Sahul were moving shells and other materials long distances — in some cases 300 kilometers and in other cases to places like the little islands in the Bismarck Sea, which is north of Papau New Guinea.

Related to trade networks, mining and quarrying, also represents a modern trait as people specifically sought out certain rocks to fashion into tools and adornments. The record for mining emerges at a much more recent date: around 24,000 years ago. Take note of the discontinuity between these dates, because a rapid displacement of the Sahul should share similar dates among the different parts of the package looked at.

I shouldn’t really need to define why we consider personal adornments like beads, as modern. And in the Sahul, they are seen as 42,000 years ago. But other pieces of adornments, such as this limestone plaque from the Devil’s Lair appear only as early as 25,000 years ago. The role of ochre in art, rituals, and personal hygiene is also looked at. Similar to bead usage, ochre usage is seen as early as 42,000 years ago but not in an artistic and elaborate burial context until 2,000 years later. Complex rock art and symbolic burials are traits of modern humans and for them to not sync up with ochre usage and adornments make me wonder what was going on?

In general, resource exploitation is a modern human trait and by looking at the composition of middens and the number and specialization of grindstones, we can get an idea about when people started to change their lifestyles. In the Sahul, this didn’t start happening until around 30,000 years ago. Again, remember some other modern human traits are seen as early as 42,000 years ago but economic intensification didn’t happen until much later. Furthermore, modified bone tools, a hallmark of modern human behavior, is seen around 22,000 years ago but compound stone tools like adzes are seen as early as 40,000 years ago!

Clearly, this paper shows that the Sahul was gradually influenced by the modern human expansions out of Africa. Parts of the modern human package appear at different sites, separated spatially and temporally. The authors provide us with this poignant summary as well as an image depicting their results,

“Following initial colonization of the continent, terrestrial fauna are the dominant resources exploited, but freshwater shell middens are apparent around the palaeoriver and lake systems of southeast Australia. Long-distance transport and/or exchange networks are evident, as is collection and use of ochre for ritual behaviour (burial) and rock painting. Stone assemblages are dominated by retouched and unretouched flakes, but waisted hatchets are found in Papua New Guinea at this time. By 30,000 years BP, an expansion in resource exploitation may be signified by evidence of marine exploitation on islands off the northern coast of Sahul, the (possible) appearance of grindstones, and the intensive exploitation of macropods in southwest Tasmania. Flake-based stone tool assemblages are augmented by the introduction of ground stone hatchets in northern Australia and small thumbnail scrapers in southwest Tasmania. Personal ornaments in the form of shell beads are also present in northwestern Australia at this time. By 20–18,000 years BP the variety of personal ornaments has expanded to include bone beads, pendants, and notational pieces. Although there is evidence of painting of some form by 40,000 years BP, identifiable art does not appear until around 20,000 years BP. Flint mining is evident at this time, and the flake-based stone tool assemblages are supplemented with bone points made on macropod long bones in the southeast of the continent.”

Modern human behavioral traits in the archaeological record of the Sahul, emerged over a 30,000 year period, even though modern humans clearly had an early influence. The authors consider one possibility may have been that there was not a rapid colonization of the Sahul. I’ve thought about this some and think that differences in population densities and impact of new technologies, i.e. adoption rates amongst ‘stubborn’ populations affect rates of cultural change. Hell, look how long it has taken people to switch from Windows to Macs. ;-) Somethings may not have been useful to early peoples and may have not been taken up as readily, and adopted later under different pressures and considerations. What we can figure out is that what we consider the “package” is not necessarily and all or none indicator of modern human existance.

If you’re interested in understanding the peopling of the Greater Australia area, and wanna know more about Sahul sites, I recommend reading this paper. I got a bit annoyed by the over-usage of “package.” I know even though I used the phrase in similar manner — without directly defining it. But if you mentally replace it with other synonyms that work for you, the paper is much more digestible and chock full of information about the archaeology of early Austrialia, Papau New Guinea and adjacent areas.

    P HABGOOD, N FRANKLIN (2008). The revolution that didn’t arrive: A review of Pleistocene Sahul Journal of Human Evolution, 55 (2), 187-222 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.11.006

24 thoughts on “Timing The Arrival Of The Modern Human Package In The Sahul

  1. This is interesting, even though I haven’t read the full article I feel from this small synopsis of it there is a push again to show Australia was peopled, or at the very least influenced by other peoples, in very different and distinct phases over a very long period of time. If this is the case, that is Australia was peopled or influenced by other peoples in distinct stages during pre-history, we should be able to locate similar, not identical, artifacts and/or customs in the regions/cultures that had this influence. The problem is we can’t.

    Now, tool technology is a product of the available resources and changing circumstances can affect tool technology. In Australia there was a very distinct change in tool technology about 5000 years ago but no real physical evidence of any outside influence apart from the arrival of the Dingo (dog). How the Dingo arrived is still debated but it must be agreed that people were involved in transporting them over the waters of the Timor Sea or Torres Strait. This is the only time a real interaction can be seen to have taken place, but where did it happen?

    By the time the tool technology started to change Sahul was a very different place, New Guinea and Tasmania were separated from the mainland by Bass and Torres Straits. Tasmanian tool technology and lifestyles didn’t really change all that much but mainland Australian tool technology and culture did and the only thing that can be shown to definitely coincide with this change is the arrival of the Dingo on mainland Australia. So, did Indigenous Australians travel over the Timor Sea or Torres Strait, it is possible as there are Dreaming stories that indicate travel, or did people travel to Australia from South East Asia, also possible as there are Dreaming stories suggesting an overseas origin for at least a few groups in Northern Australia and there was trade between Australia and Indonesia for a few centuries at least before the British arrived and stayed.

    Apart from the obvious challenges of the loss of territory, Tasmania’s 5000 years of isolation enabled it to remain, for all intents and purposes, unchanged. However, mainland Australia’s dramatic ecological changes helped to usher in change both in custom as seen in the stories of the dreaming, and in resource availability throughout much of the island. Apart from the arrival of the Dingo and the associated changes brought about through the contact that occurred at this time and continuing till modern times there is no real evidence (publicly known anyway) of outside contact to show external influences caused cultural changes more than 5000 years ago.

  2. There may be “no real evidence (publicly known anyway) of outside contact to show external influences caused cultural changes more than 5000 years ago”. But there is circumstantial evidence. And even for this late date we find “no real physical evidence of any outside influence apart from the arrival of the Dingo” (and the Pirri points). This implies the number of humans involved in the transfer of technology was small and their genes were swamped by those already there. Presumably the same could be true for earlier arrivals.

    From the authors: “By 30,000 years BP, an expansion in resource exploitation may be signified by evidence of marine exploitation on islands off the northern coast of Sahul”. The earliest evidence for human movement beyond this northern coast into the Solomon Islands also occurrs around this time, indicating improved boating technology. Now this new technology and resource exploitation may have been an indigenous development but we cannot say that for sure. Anyway, improved boating technology seems to have spread around the world about this time, perhaps spread by people moving back to mainland Asia from Sahul.

    I’ll admit the Australian Aborigines were isolated from many developments in the rest of the world but it’s unlikely they were totally isolated for all those thousands of years.

  3. There is circumstantial evidence to suggest alot of things, one being the beginning of regular (possibly annual) fires near Lake George from approx 100k years ago yet there are not many people suggesting this shows Indigenous occupation of the area that far back.

    The point concerning improved boating technology allowing increased maritime resource use in Melanesia is valid as long as it is remembered that the Solomon Islands are about the same distance from Papua New Guinea as Timor is from Australia. Considering the early inhabitants of Australia had to get here by some sort of boat travel at an earlier date indicates the idea that boat travel to the islands of Melanesia was not impossible prior to when it “first” apparently occurred and that it only occurred later because people were slow to move across New Guinea because of its mountainous terrain and thick tropical jungle.

  4. “the Solomon Islands are about the same distance from Papua New Guinea as Timor is from Australia”. Distance is only one factor. How calm the sea, or otherwise, is the main consideration. Besides which there’s no evidence at all that the first humans arrived in Australia from Timor. They could well have island-hopped across Wallacea further north (Sulawesi, Philippines).

    “people were slow to move across New Guinea because of its mountainous terrain and thick tropical jungle”. One would expect that if they’d arrived by boat the first movement would have been around the coast.

    I suspect that the delay for arrival in the Solomon Islands is significant.

  5. “Distance is only one factor. How calm the sea, or otherwise, is the main consideration.”
    Yes Distance is only one factor but its a big one and determines alot of things. We don’t know how calm the sea was back then, I would think that it wouldn’t have been all that calm especially considering sea levels were on the move. Also we need to consider the location of the north coast of PNG, the west of it is on the equator and traveling east it doesn’t move far south of it. This would indicate to me that the monsoon was never far away making sea travel a somewhat dangerous thing for a good proportion of the year for much of the coast line, especially in boats that were only suitable for short trips.

    “Besides which there’s no evidence at all that the first humans arrived in Australia from Timor. They could well have island-hopped across Wallacea further north (Sulawesi, Philippines).”
    Yes they could have island hopped but that would defeat the purpose as the coastline of Australia was much closer to Timor during the last glaciation than Timor was to most other places. Wallacea was still a semi-isolated archipelago and the Philippines are not part of Wallacea but instead are part of Sundaland. Furthermore some of the oldest evidence for human occupation on the Australian landmass are in the Northern Territory which is considerably closer to the Timor Sea than they are to PNG and the Soloman Islands.

    ” One would expect that if they’d arrived by boat the first movement would have been around the coast.” Why? if their maritime technology was so basic it is highly likely that after a short period of time the “boats” would have started sinking. This was certainly the case with regards to the Tasmanian peoples and it stand to reason that it could have been the case for many others. I would expect that after making landfall the people would have sought out fresh water supplies (not an easy thing to find along the coast of any landmass) and food sources (yes there is the maritime sources but you can’t really live on sea food alone).

    “I suspect that the delay for arrival in the Solomon Islands is significant.” So do I, and I have already said why I think it happened.

  6. “if their maritime technology was so basic it is highly likely that after a short period of time the ‘boats’ would have started sinking”. Wait as minute. Aren’t we talking here of people who are said to have crossed the Bab el Mandeb (in boats?) and moved along the southern coast of Eurasia all the way to S. E Asia? On the way necessarily passing along really uninviting long stretches of coastline such as coastal cliffs and through the Ganges/Brahmaputra and Irrawaddy River Deltas? And these people were incapable of moving along the north coast of New Guinea?

    “the Philippines are not part of Wallacea but instead are part of Sundaland”. Not really. The group (apart from Palawan) is not actually part of either Sundaland or Sahul. Wallace’s Line runs between Palawan and the rest of the Philippines so the islands lie to the east of Sundaland. Dating of their occupation would reveal a great deal about human movements in the region.

  7. “Wait as minute. Aren’t we talking here of people who are said to have crossed the Bab el Mandeb (in boats?) and moved along the southern coast of Eurasia all the way to S. E Asia? On the way necessarily passing along really uninviting long stretches of coastline such as coastal cliffs and through the Ganges/Brahmaputra and Irrawaddy River Deltas? And these people were incapable of moving along the north coast of New Guinea?”
    Are we? what DNA evidence is there to support that theory?

    If I remember correctly we are referring to a period approximately 30000 years BP, even now the distance across the Bab el Mandeb is only 30km a a depth of 140 metres if I remember correctly. Yes currently the strait has a strong undercurrent but we don’t know if that was there 30000 years ago, for all we know it was a lake and there was a land bridge to travel across. Moving along the south coast of Eurasia through the Deltas we need to remember there was a much lower sea level up to 160 metres lower. Would these have been the deltas as we currently know them to be or would they have been totally different? You certainly cannot assume they would have the tidal influences they have in modern times.

    Here is a link to an extract for you to peruse at your leisure. It has a few things to say giving alternatives to what we are discussing. http://www.archaeology.arts.uwa.edu.au/about/research/bowdler/the_pleistocene_pacific

  8. Thanks for the article. But can you point to a single sentence in it that contradicts anything I’ve said?

    “In peninsular Thailand, human occupation of Lang Rong Rien cave has been dated to c.37,000 BP; in northern Vietnam, the oldest of a series of rockshelters is dated to c.33,200; and in peninsular Malaysia, in Perak, the Kota Tampan stone workshop site is dated to c.31,000 BP. Similar dates are found in island Southeast Asia: the Niah Cave in Sarawak, in the north of the island of Borneo, is dated to c.40,000 BP; the rockshelters Leang Burung 2 in southern Sulawesi is dated to c.31,000; and Tabon Cave on the Philippine island of Palawan has human occupation by 30,000 years ago[5]”.

    Tell me, where is the evidence that humans reached Australia via Timor? These sites are all scattered around what we now know as the South China Sea. And the author slides over the similarities between Kow Swamp and Javanese fossils, the last of which are now considered to have survived until as recently as 30,000 years ago.

    Regarding your comment: “You certainly cannot assume they would have the tidal influences they have in modern times”. Tides have nothing to do with it. Humans had to cross the many river branches containing a tangled mash of extremely lush forest. Not an easy task.

    Finally, I agree totally with your comment: “what DNA evidence is there to support that theory?” There is absolutely no evidence for a southern migration route to Australia. In fact in the article you link to the author is adamant the first Australians came from the north, China. And I would bet that the region around the South China Sea has always been a centre for improving boating technology.

  9. “Finally, I agree totally with your comment: “what DNA evidence is there to support that theory?” There is absolutely no evidence for a southern migration route to Australia.”
    In case you haven’t figured it out yet I was referring to your postulation that these people come from and traveled through an area near the Arabian Peninsula. I also refuted your idea that traveling through there would have been a difficult task as given the likely sea level at that time it was alot shallower if indeed it wasn’t actually a land bridge anyway. In that regard, there is no DNA evidence to suggest this, thank you so much for proving me correct on this, I do appreciate it.

    “Thanks for the article. But can you point to a single sentence in it that contradicts anything I’ve said? ”
    Oh my did you neglect to read this bit? How about not only single sentences but entire paragraphs!

    “We have no idea what kind of watercraft may have been used at this early time. No archaeological evidence, direct or indirect, exists to shed light on this question. The sea-going canoes of the Pacific, outriggers and dugouts, known from the historical period are of unknown antiquity. It is however usually assumed that they date from relatively recent times, consistent with the Austronesian expansion [see Spriggs, this volume?]. In Australia, it has usually been assumed that that expansion made little or no impact[6]. It might be thought therefore that Australian watercraft of the ethnographic present reflect a Pleistocene inheritance. We need to discount the dugouts of the north coast and the outriggers of the northeast, as these are thought to reflect the recent influences of Macassans and Papuans[7].

    We are thus left with a variety of bark canoes and log rafts which were made and used by Aboriginal people in different parts of Australia. They do not generally seem capable of long ocean voyages, and indeed there is some archaeological evidence to suggest they are none of them of any great antiquity. A survey of archaeological and ethnographic evidence shows that offshore islands visited by Aboriginal people by sea during the Holocene with such craft involved water crossings of no more than 25 km, with most crossings being less than 10km. Furthermore, the earliest dates for such crossings are, with perhaps two or three exceptions of 26 dated instances, only within the last 4000 years[8]. This suggests therefore that the maritime technology observed in recent times in Aboriginal Australia was not that used to colonise the Pacific originally.

    It has been suggested that the original voyages of Pacific discovery were accomplished with bamboo craft, perhaps rafts[9]. Since extensive stands of large bamboo probably did not occur indigenously in Australia, this could explain the lack of survival of this technology into recent times.

    The possible migration routes out of Southeast Asia into Australasia have been canvassed in detail by Birdsell and more recently by Irwin[10]. These routes are based on the assumption that routes involving the shortest possible crossings will have been the most likely, and perhaps the most favoured; they are thus essentially variations on island-hopping. Birdsell suggested there were two main likely routes, one leading from Java through Timor to northern Australia, the other from Sulawesi through Halmahera to West Irian. He further assumes that such voyages would have been easier, and thus more likely to have been successful, during times of lowered sea level, when distances between islands would be lessened.

    Irwin suggests that this is not a necessary assumption. He argues that “to make fine distinctions between the different distances is to miss the point that they were probably all short enough for the risks to remain much the same … a boat that is seaworthy enough to cross 10 nautical miles can probably cross 100 or more, provided it is not of a type that becomes waterlogged and provided the weather remains the same”[11].”

    The point of all this is to show that there is more than 1 theory and there are people, like myself, who disagree with what you believe to be the likely events in history. Now you can take this or leave it but please do me 1 favour and don’t ask me to provide evidence to discount you. It is afterall a simple matter of theories and there are many, in the paragraph 2 above this one I have shown other Archeaologists believe Timor is a very possible step directly before entering Australia Just because you have neglected to read this doesn’t mean it isn’t reality.

    Now to the matter of Deltas. Deltas have a tidal influence and this tidal influence is what makes them large. Picture in your mind if you will, the deltas you speak of, where they are situated and the effects of the ocean on them how in the monsoon they swell and flood (this is especially true of the Subcontinent deltas) now before you repeat that tidal actions have no effect on deltas I want you to consider this. Now I want you to consider the fact that sea levels were about 160 metres lower at the point in time we are discussing and see the fact that the effects if the normal tide, the monsoon etc would have been much less if they even existed at all in these parts. I am not discounting river crossings, what I am saying however is that these rivers would not have been the same they are now simply because they did not have the effects of the ocean that they do now.

  10. There is nothing in the extract you quote I haven’t known for ten years and much of it for twenty. Early in the article the author mentions multiregional supporters point to the apparent mixing of two different human types in the region (East Asian and Southeast Asia) but at no stage is any explantion for this difference offered.

    “The sea-going canoes of the Pacific, outriggers and dugouts, known from the historical period are of unknown antiquity”. Most likely just five or six thousand years and certainly nothing to do with any major migration to Australia.

    “It has been suggested that the original voyages of Pacific discovery were accomplished with bamboo craft, perhaps rafts”. That’s been assumed for some years.

    “Birdsell suggested there were two main likely routes, one leading from Java through Timor to northern Australia, the other from Sulawesi through Halmahera to West Irian”. The evidence can certainly be interpreted to suggest that both routes were used at separate times, the Timor route being the second.

    “I also refuted your idea that traveling through there would have been a difficult task as given the likely sea level at that time it was alot shallower if indeed it wasn’t actually a land bridge anyway”. The continental shelf is very narrow along the southern Arabian penisular and the Baluchistan coast. I think it’s a fair supposition then that the coast looked much the same as today even with the lowered sea level. We know from Alexander’s trip that this coast is extremely difficult to move along, therefore unlikely to have been a superhighway at any time. Again, the delta regions have a very shallow continental shelf and so would have been heavily forested plains at the time. Again, not prime human real estate.

  11. “There is nothing in the extract you quote I haven’t known for ten years and much of it for twenty.”
    Which takes me back to my original statement that “there is a push again to show Australia was peopled, or at the very least influenced by other peoples, in very different and distinct phases over a very long period of time.” The original post is old hat, there is nothing new in the theory at all and I was merely expressing that. You however seem to think that it is gospel truth without even considering at there can be other possibilities. I really don’t see why you have a problem with different possibilities that are equally plausible, maybe not to your mind but they are to others.

    “The continental shelf is very narrow along the southern Arabian penisular and the Baluchistan coast. I think it’s a fair supposition then that the coast looked much the same as today even with the lowered sea level.”
    You think but you do not know for certain.The issue here is you threw a point in about the origins of Indigenous Australians (cause they apparently traveled via the Arabian Peninsula) that makes no sense in your argument because you really feel and thin you have proof to show they come from China. Sorry but you cannot have both you have to have one or the other, you either believe they originated from China or from North Africa and travel the respective pats from either originating point.

    I think because the continental shelf is narrow, notice I haven’t disputed that fact, that because the sea level on it is only about 140 metres we would have apprximately 20 metres left between the shelf floor and the ocean in ancient times. Lets do the math , 160-140=20 hmmmm. This would indicate we have a 20 metre drop from the shelf to the ancient ocean level which would also indicate are land was there. They didn’t need boats they could walk it if thats correct.

    I think Alexander was a brilliant strategist and he knew what he was referring to at he time he was there but don’t you think mentioning him, especially considering he was about 28000-30000 years later, is clutching at straws. The landscape around the world was different back in the Pleistocene to what it was in Alexanders time. It is different now to what it was in Alexanders time.

    Two things before I leave you. Quoting 1 sentence out of context is very bad academia. I gave you context you give me 1 sentence out of context. Also you miss quoted me deliberately using what I asked you to say something else without answering my question. Both these things are very poor form.

  12. “there is a push again to show Australia was peopled, or at the very least influenced by other peoples, in very different and distinct phases over a very long period of time.” Why are you so opposed to the possibilty that it was?

    “cause they apparently traveled via the Arabian Peninsula”. I was actually joking there. There’s no way humans expanded out of Africa and along the south Asian coastline.

    “because the sea level on it is only about 140 metres we would have apprximately 20 metres left between the shelf floor and the ocean”. The shoreline in the region drops rapidly to 400 metres below current sea level leaving 260 metres still to the bottom even at times of extremely low sea level.

    “The landscape around the world was different back in the Pleistocene to what it was in Alexanders time”. And you accuse me of making statements with no proof!

    Lastly, which sentence did I quote out of context?

  13. “Why are you so opposed to the possibilty that it was? ”
    Were did I say I was? I didn’t!

    “I was actually joking there. There’s no way humans expanded out of Africa and along the south Asian coastline. ”
    Ah so I picked the wrong person to have a cyber conversation to then, my bad. Why bring it up if you don’t believe it? I think you just like to throw spanners in the works. You don’t want to have meaningful discussions you just want to brag about your apparent level of knowledge and how far back you can remember.

    “The shoreline in the region drops rapidly to 400 metres below current sea level leaving 260 metres still to the bottom even at times of extremely low sea level.” That’s now, you have no idea what it was like 30000 years bp.

    “And you accuse me of making statements with no proof!”
    Lol, you know that PNG and Tasmania were connected to Australia during the last glaciation, that fact in itself should tell even you that the worlds landscape was different. Australia was alot wetter than it is now or was even 5000 yeas ago. Europe has had many changes in its landscape and then you have the middle east, Troy used to be on the coast now it is many miles inland. So you know I am correct and it would be good of you to admit it.

    “Lastly, which sentence did I quote out of context?”
    I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out by now, oh well I’m sure with your immense font of knowledge you will eventually.

  14. The very first sentence you wrote here was: “This is interesting, even though I haven’t read the full article I feel from this small synopsis of it there is a push again to show Australia was peopled, or at the very least influenced by other peoples, in very different and distinct phases over a very long period of time”. Sounds straight away as though you disagreed with the idea.

    “you just want to brag about your apparent level of knowledge and how far back you can remember”. I have been studying Polynesian origins for more that 20 years. In order to understand that origin it’s necessary to study the even earlier prehistory in the region. Therefore, yes, I do have a lot of knowledge on the subject.

    “Why bring it up if you don’t believe it? ” Most seem to believe that’s what happened in spite of there being no evidence for it so I was demonstrating how illogical generally accepted views of the first settlement of Australia are.

    “That’s now, you have no idea what it was like 30000 years bp”. Sea level has gone up and down, leading to climate change (expanding and contracting deserts and forest) but the shape of the land masses has changed very little. And I checked a better map. Within 100 kms of the Hadramawt and Baluchistan coasts the sea floor drops to 2000 metres and along most it the land onshore rises to 2000 metres. A rise or fall of a couple of hundred metres along that coast would not change the nature of the shoreline in any meaningful way. So, even though “PNG and Tasmania were connected to Australia during the last glaciation” this wasn’t because the shape of the underlying continental material had altered.

    “Australia was alot wetter than it is now or was even 5000 yeas ago’. Yes, and it was a lot drier than at present between 35,000 and 25,000 years ago.

  15. “Sounds straight away as though you disagreed with the idea.”
    Sounds like nothing Terry. If you have difficulty seeing I was indicating the information in the OP is old theory then that is your problem not mine. Instead of reading into something your beliefs you should try to take in what people are really saying. Ah but I forgot, silly me, you like to joke around and throw things you don’t believe into a discussion to refute something you do believe in. Now it makes sense!

    “I have been studying Polynesian origins for more that 20 years. In order to understand that origin it’s necessary to study the even earlier prehistory in the region. Therefore, yes, I do have a lot of knowledge on the subject.”
    Well done, I applaud your persistence. However, I must say that even though you say you have done this how do know your not just joking around again and basically saying things you don’t believe?

    “Most seem to believe that’s what happened in spite of there being no evidence for it so I was demonstrating how illogical generally accepted views of the first settlement of Australia are.”
    Most? Have you got statistics on this? What I am demonstrating here in my post is how illogical your discussion is. The best way to be convincing is to not contradict yourself, or claim you were just joking.

    “Sea level has gone up and down, leading to climate change (expanding and contracting deserts and forest) but the shape of the land masses has changed very little. And I checked a better map.”
    Hmmmm, well then, you should also realize by now that the Red Sea was nothing like it is now, infact the straits we have now did not exist as they did then. Furthermore if there was a water course from the Indian Ocean into the Red Sea it would have been through a channel that was very shallow and not very wide at all. To make an even finer point on it, shipping movements only occur in the Red Sea currently because of the trenching and blasting that is done to allow the freighters through. Now you cannot tell me that the freighters have 160 metres below water level and it is to achieve depth clearance they trench the straits.

    “Yes, and it was a lot drier than at present between 35,000 and 25,000 years ago.”
    In certain parts yes it was, but in others no it wasn’t. Lake Mungo is a curious case in point as even though there was less rainfall in that area a higher level of run-off from the western side of the Great Divide allowed the lake system to remain full and support a Human population for many thousands of years to come. Now how did the western side of the Great Divide have more run-off if it was drier? answer is it wasn’t drier there.

  16. “there is a push again” sounds as though you regard it as a conspiracy.

    “the Red Sea was nothing like it is now, in fact the straits we have now did not exist as they did then”. True, but again the shape of the underlying geological formations have changed little. Lowered sea level certainly forms several virtually land-locked, inter-connected, island-studded seas in Southeast Asia. The main one being the South China Sea, connected through narrow channels to the Suluwesi and Celebes Seas. The Andaman Sea forms another relatively land-locked sea at times of lowered sea level.

    Further north the Sea of Japan also becomes virtually land-locked at such times. In fact there seems to have been periodic connections and exchange between the northern and southern land-locked seas. Lowered sea level extends the mainland coastline between Taiwan and Japan substantially east towards the Ryukyu Islands.

    It is quite possible to interpret various lines of evidence as indicating all these regions have been tied up with various genetic expansions at various times. For example Y-chromosome C*, according to Wikipedia, is found: “throughout the Philippines, Indonesia, and Micronesia”, around the shore of the South China Sea. It is also: “found at low frequencies along the southern coast of Asia from India to Vietnam and into the interior of Yunnan province in China”. And: “Haplogroup C* Y-chromosomes have also been detected, but only at even lower frequencies, among populations of coastal New Guinea and island Melanesia”. However derivatives of C* are spread further afield.

  17. “sounds as though you regard it as a conspiracy. ”
    Methinks you read way to much into simple words. I was merely stating fact, you however, cannot be take seriously because one never knows if you going to have a fit of jocularity when discussing something serious in a feigned attempt to appear clever.

    Thank you for agreeing with me that the landforms 30000 years bp would have been totally different than what the are now, you have just vindicated my discussion for me, so very kind of you.

    “according to Wikipedia”
    OMG, you use Wikipedia for something like this? I’d love to see a university lecturers face if they saw a bibliography entry forWikipedia in an assignment past Anthropology 101.

    Enough said.

  18. Sounds like you don’t believe me. Do you have any idea of Y-chromosome C’s distribution?

    The landforms of 30,000 years ago were much the same as today. Basically only sea level was different, although this led to vegetation changes.

    So, as far as I can tell, you are now prepared to accept there were a series of movements into Australia at various times. Great.

  19. “Sounds like you don’t believe me. Do you have any idea of Y-chromosome C’s distribution? ”
    It’s not disbelief, it’s more a lack of faith that you can hold a conversation without attempting to be stupid about it. Making of the cuff statements that the person doesn’t actually believe is something my primary school class does, it’s not something I expected from an adult.

    Yes I do now about the Chromosome dstribution, so what?

    “The landforms of 30,000 years ago were much the same as today. Basically only sea level was different, although this led to vegetation changes.
    Oh is that right, well all those maps that show PNG and Tasmania being connected to Australia are incorrect are they? Sorry TerryT but you know for a fact that Australia was not the same as it was 30000 years bp. Yet another instance of you saying something you know to be incorrect.

    “So, as far as I can tell, you are now prepared to accept there were a series of movements into Australia at various times. Great.”
    Your a crack up, or are you just being silly. Stop reading things into my words that I haven’t said and start reading my words as they are. I never said I accept that theory, I have said it s a theory and it is an old one.

    Sorry to disappoint you TerryT but I have had enough of this, your attitude here is not good, your penchant to twist things in a discussion is childish, and your lack of a coherent discussion by chopping and changing is just plain annoying.

  20. “all those maps that show PNG and Tasmania being connected to Australia are incorrect are they?” I invite you to tell me what, apart from changes in sea level, is different in the region today than what it was 30,000 years ago.

    Regarding the original comment I made that you take such exception to; I assumed you would be a southern coastal migration theory acceptor because you seemed to believe in a single origin for modern humans. The southern coastal migration theory seems to be a required belief for those people who believe in a single origin, including many who are actually creationists.

  21. “Regarding the original comment I made that you take such exception to; I assumed you”
    Don’t assume anything, I’m here to learn new things, new ideas, not be lectured by you about things you freely admit you don’t believe.

    “I invite you to tell me what, apart from changes in sea level, is different in the region today than what it was 30,000 years ago.”
    Look at the map and tell me the land bridges aren’t there and I’ll tell you to look again. There was alot more land 30000 years bp than there is now, its that simple.

    Unless you have anything further to add that tells me you are now really reading what I am saying or sheds new light on this discussion by showing me you are taking it seriously I will no longer respond. I know I have already said something similar but I had to respond to your wild assumptions.

  22. “There was a lot more land 30000 years bp than there is now”. True. But … to say, “its that simple” is far from the truth. Even a fleeting look at a map showing sea depth reveals that, sure, there was far more land in many eastern parts (Sundaland, Australia/New Guinea, East China Sea) but not substantially more along the South Asian coast except, possibly, where major rivers have formed deltas. This makes the southern coastal migration route extremely unlikely to account for the spread of early humans. It’s far more likely humans developed the boating technology necessary to cross Wallace’s line once they had already reached the South China Sea.

    Improvements in technology have always allowed groups with the improvement to expand their range. For example we know that historically improvements in technology allowed the Polynesian expansion, and the evidence can easily be interpreted to indicate that progressive improvements had led to an earlier series of expansions through and from Southeast Asia.

  23. “True. But … to say, “its that simple” is far from the truth.”
    Not when it is in answer to the question you asked.

    “Even a fleeting look at a map”
    Like the fleeting look you had before while you were disagreeing with me, only to later state the same thing I had already said!

  24. When looking at landing places on the West Coast of Sahul don’t forget to factor in the huge freshwater discharge from Lake Carpentaria and the massive rivers from Papua during and after monsoons. This outflow may have swept any primitive watercraft away from Sahul’s West coast and out into the Indian Ocean where the travellers probably starved or died of thirst. This then suggests migration through the North via the ‘Bird’s Head” may have been more probable than a Timor to Sahul route.

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