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Thread: Story of the peoples of Australia

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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodhopper View Post
    You've jogged my memory a bit - I think it was a programme about those extinctions suggesting that humans might not have been quite the devastators they seem to have been and that I've certainly argued they were, in the past. On here iirc, talking about the Clovis spear tip.

    I didn't know the timescale of the extinction event in Aus at all, so it's interesting to see. 20,000 years is a heck of a long time in human terms.
    The timeframe is me being cautious, from the earliest date Homo Sapiens could have arrived to the latest plus 2000 years. The extinction event, I would suggest, as an uneducated guess, had a timeframe of perhaps three thousand years at most but nobody has a good pinpoint on when they started. I've been very broad with that span of dates for the start, so as to avoid focusing the discussion on when it actually happened.
    More than 85 percent of Australia's mammals, birds and reptiles weighing over 100 pounds went extinct shortly after the arrival of the first humans, said Miller.

    The ocean sediment core showed the southwest is one of the few regions on the Australian continent that had dense forests both 45,000 years ago and today, making it a hotbed for biodiversity, said Miller, also associate director of CU Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

    "It's a region with some of the earliest evidence of humans on the continent, and where we would expect a lot of animals to have lived," Miller said. "Because of the density of trees and shrubs, it could have been one of their last holdouts some 45,000 years ago. There is no evidence of significant climate change during the time of the megafauna extinction."

    Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna
    That's three months old, reporting a paper from Nature Communications, and it plumps for 45,000 years ago and (it looks to me) less than a 3,000 year process.
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  2. #12
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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by LarsMac View Post
    The prevailing winds, and surface ocean currents do not look like they would make an eastbound voyage from Australia to South America very easy.
    If they went south they could ride currents along the Antarctic region to what is now Southern Chile. That would be a long and miserable voyage without power and heat.
    I'm sure I read somewhere - (seven daughters of eve I think) that the genetic makeup of australian aborigines and the natives of tierra del fuego bear remarkable similirities.

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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by gmc View Post
    I'm sure I read somewhere - (seven daughters of eve I think) that the genetic makeup of australian aborigines and the natives of tierra del fuego bear remarkable similirities.
    I'm pretty sure the accepted version based on fairly sparse archaeology is that South Americans walked down from the north, but that genetic studies have boosted the trans-Pacific theory and the matter is back up for debate. chuckle. I think my original question got slightly lost in the wash somewhere: Were there really no incomers to Australia from the north across the sea, when Polynesians were making epic voyages all across the Pacific but not, apparently, to Australia.

    So I was wondering if it was a matter of winds and currents pushing the Polynesian wanderers east. Or did they get slaughtered on landing in Australia? Did the Barrier Reef hold them out completely? Or what?
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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by gmc View Post
    I'm sure I read somewhere - (seven daughters of eve I think) that the genetic makeup of australian aborigines and the natives of tierra del fuego bear remarkable similirities.
    I was thinking along that line, but had no time currently to research that. next week may be slow at work, so maybe I can do so.
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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodhopper View Post
    I'm pretty sure the accepted version based on fairly sparse archaeology is that South Americans walked down from the north, but that genetic studies have boosted the trans-Pacific theory and the matter is back up for debate. chuckle. I think my original question got slightly lost in the wash somewhere: Were there really no incomers to Australia from the north across the sea, when Polynesians were making epic voyages all across the Pacific but not, apparently, to Australia.

    So I was wondering if it was a matter of winds and currents pushing the Polynesian wanderers east. Or did they get slaughtered on landing in Australia? Did the Barrier Reef hold them out completely? Or what?
    The winds would not have favored bringing them to Australia, it seems.
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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by gmc View Post
    I'm sure I read somewhere - (seven daughters of eve I think) that the genetic makeup of australian aborigines and the natives of tierra del fuego bear remarkable similirities.
    A quick search turned this up: The Enigma of the Natives of Tierra del Fuego
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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by LarsMac View Post
    The winds would not have favored bringing them to Australia, it seems.
    Ocean Currents
    Looking at the currents and the proximity of Aus to New Guinea it's hard to believe there was negligible communication. Hey ho. It's an interesting area of research, that's for sure and it seems there's a fair bit of research going on - you hear new stuff really quite often these days.
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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by spot View Post
    The timeframe is me being cautious, from the earliest date Homo Sapiens could have arrived to the latest plus 2000 years. The extinction event, I would suggest, as an uneducated guess, had a timeframe of perhaps three thousand years at most but nobody has a good pinpoint on when they started. I've been very broad with that span of dates for the start, so as to avoid focusing the discussion on when it actually happened.
    More than 85 percent of Australia's mammals, birds and reptiles weighing over 100 pounds went extinct shortly after the arrival of the first humans, said Miller.

    The ocean sediment core showed the southwest is one of the few regions on the Australian continent that had dense forests both 45,000 years ago and today, making it a hotbed for biodiversity, said Miller, also associate director of CU Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

    "It's a region with some of the earliest evidence of humans on the continent, and where we would expect a lot of animals to have lived," Miller said. "Because of the density of trees and shrubs, it could have been one of their last holdouts some 45,000 years ago. There is no evidence of significant climate change during the time of the megafauna extinction."

    Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna
    That's three months old, reporting a paper from Nature Communications, and it plumps for 45,000 years ago and (it looks to me) less than a 3,000 year process.
    Interesting article. Thanks. Imperceptible overkill is an interesting idea. I also wonder if the Australian fauna at that time didn't have a fear of humans, like the dodo or some of the NZ fauna. That wouldn't have helped and could have led to a very rapid human population explosion. 3,000 years seems to me to be quite a short time to wipe out that number of species over that much territory - but entirely possible, I suppose. edit: Especially if lunch just lumbers up to the fire and looks at you dozily...
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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodhopper View Post
    Looking at the currents and the proximity of Aus to New Guinea it's hard to believe there was negligible communication. Hey ho. It's an interesting area of research, that's for sure and it seems there's a fair bit of research going on - you hear new stuff really quite often these days.
    I guess it depends on who was doing the sailing, and when. The Polynesians seafarers where much different people than the earlier trekkers who seem to have taken root in Australia and New Guinea. And while Hyerdahl may have proved it could be done, sailing off to distant continents would have been an arduous voyage, claiming the lives of many who attempted it. The early sailors were likely island hoppers, and the few who found their way to distant locations were likely those who for one reason or another were taken off course and survived long enough to get somewhere else.
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    Re: Story of the peoples of Australia

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarsMac View Post
    I guess it depends on who was doing the sailing, and when. The Polynesians seafarers where much different people than the earlier trekkers who seem to have taken root in Australia and New Guinea. And while Hyerdahl may have proved it could be done, sailing off to distant continents would have been an arduous voyage, claiming the lives of many who attempted it. The early sailors were likely island hoppers, and the few who found their way to distant locations were likely those who for one reason or another were taken off course and survived long enough to get somewhere else.
    Then where they ended up would depend on the ocean currents and prevailing winds at the time. You get palm trees on the west coast of scotand that grew from coconuts carried on the gulf stream which is quite incredible when you consider the distances involved.

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