The spread of people to Australia

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,375
Australia
I Posted on another Thread about the seeming incongruity of Austronesian (Polynesian, Maori, whatever...) settlement of New Zealand without any attempt to colonize Oz. Did they just sail (or drift) past it?
Probably not, more likely they came into NZ from the other direction that does not pass by Australia . Legend has it that sailed over the ocean and eventually saw a 'long white cloud' and eventually associated with that cloud NZ. There is no mention of other land .

H. erectus definitely spread widely in the Last Glacial Maximum. Did the Aborigines (please call them by whatever current PC tag is most appropriate) evolve from H. erectus in situ?
It isnt thought so. Aboriginals lived here in the LGM , including living in glacial valleys in Tasmania and in a more dried out interior mainland , and of course, along the then exposed coastal extensions .

Settlement estimates keep stretching back 40,000 ... 60,000 .... 80,000, now 120,000 ! But it is just 'suggestive' but it is 'associative' evidence , being the presence of fire, small black stones and scattered shell middens around steep cliffs. We dont know who or what formed it ; " “the validity of the human connotation of ‘fireplace’ remains to be established”. Could have been hominids, but there isnt any other evidence of that here .

'A big jump': People might have lived in Australia twice as long as we thought | Paul Daley

Seems quite unlikely, but I suppose not impossible. We all evolved somewhere from something else.
Was there an influx from the Andaman islands prior to -10,000? Seems as likely as from India.
From the Andaman Is ? I dont think so. I never heard of that. One was claimed from India, but since debunked. There appears to have been an influx around the time the dingo came into Australia, but that was from SE Asia , probably . There are some similarities between some Andaman Islanders and some Aboriginals due to long ago shared ancestry .

I suppose the North coast of Oz is the place to continue digging. Where has Linguistics (of the aboriginal language )led?

To me, a fascinating Topic.
Why the north coast ? Most of the old coast line is underwater. From times before that we have very early evidence from interior areas or further south eg ' Mungo Man ' .

Linguistics do reveal certain patterns , its all a bit uncertain though

Pama–Nyungan languages - Wikipedia
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,708
SoCal
What are the origins of all modern Australians?
AFAIK, mostly European but with some Asian and also some other groups (such as Australian Aborigines) but possibly in smaller numbers. I think that Australia stopped putting race on its census entries in either the 1960s or 1970s. However, Australia might have ancestry data from beyond that point in time (race isn't always the same thing as ancestry).
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,517
Las Vegas, NV USA
Consistent with the universally accepted theory that all humans have African origin, it seems humans somehow crossed the Wallace Line 40,000 years or more ago. They must have been at that time more technologically advanced than other humans. There is no evidence that other humans built efficient water craft that could cross the 50 km wide straight (at minimum sea level) for at least 25,000 years later.
 
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specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,375
Australia
Consistent with the universally accepted theory that all humans have African origin, it seems humans somehow crossed the Wallace Line 40,000 years or more ago. They must have been at that time more technologically advanced than other humans. There is no evidence that other humans built efficient water craft that could cross the 50 km wide straight (at minimum sea level) for at least 25,000 years later.
Minimum sea level periods, the islands on the west side of Wallace line ( now submerged part of N.W. Australian shelf ) would have been visible from those on the east ( now Timor ) . The postulated times of earlier crossings, the distance much further. The earliest crossings may have been by people who had water craft. If we take the earliest hints of occupation in Australia , it is pre Lake Toba super eruption. Those already in Australia may have been safe, while the 'home cultures' and people in the vast western area that where effected, and any evidence of water craft may have been decimated ?

The later we find the 'evidence' of water craft .
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,517
Las Vegas, NV USA
The earliest crossings may have been by people who had water craft. If we take the earliest hints of occupation in Australia , it is pre Lake Toba super eruption. Those already in Australia may have been safe, while the 'home cultures' and people in the vast western area that where effected, and any evidence of water craft may have been decimated ?

The later we find the 'evidence' of water craft .
Do you have a source for crossings that early? (over 70,000 years ago?) I've read that these eruptions reduced the human population to some few thousands in the entire world. This region would have had the worst effects. In any case these people only had primitive stone tools. The earliest known water craft are only from about 15000 years ago when sharp cutting tools including primitive hand axes were a available for working wood. It's possible reeds and other plants could have been used to make rafts possibly braced by wooden sticks. This is the likely method by which they crossed. There's no doubt they crossed long before the oldest boats we know about existed.
 
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specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,375
Australia
Not a source for crossings , as such , but the " earliest hints " .

... having trouble finding it , in the meantime , I found something else I wanted to post above ;

1553720516586.png
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,375
Australia
Elusive ! Tracked it down . As I said , this 'hints' at it .

' The Moyjil Site, South-West Victoria, Australia: Fire And Environment In A 120,000-Year Coastal Midden – Nature or People ' . Its co-authors are David Price from the University of Wollongong, John Sherwood from Deakin University and Stephen Carey from Federation University, Ballarat.



" Extensive archaeological research in southern Victoria has again raised the prospect that people have lived in Australia for 120,000 years – twice as long as the broadly accepted period of human continental habitation.

The research, with its contentious potential implications for Indigenous habitation of the continent that came to be Australia, has been presented to the Royal Society of Victoria by a group of academics including Jim Bowler, the eminent 88-year-old geologist who in 1969 and 1974 discovered the bones of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, the oldest human remains found in Australia.

... Earlier contentious scientific research that pointed to human habitation in Australia up to 120,000 years ago – including in the Kimberley – has been largely dismissed.

The new research at Moyjil (Point Ritchie), at the mouth of the Hopkins River at Warrnambool, south-east Victoria, relates to the presence of fire, small black stones and scattered shell middens around steep cliffs.

The article’s abstract reads: “Thermal luminescence analyses of blackened stones provide ages in the ... range ... 100-130 ka [thousand years], consistent with independent stratigraphic evidence and contemporaneous with the age of the surface in which they lie. The distribution of fire-darkened stones is inconsistent with wildfire effects. Two hearth-like features closely associated with the disconformity provide further indication of potential human agency. The data are consistent with the suggestion of human presence at Warrnambool during the last Interglacial.”

There is some evidence, though not yet conclusive, of a designated “place of fire” at the site, the paper says, though “the validity of the human connotation of ‘fireplace’ remains to be established”.

“The evidence is consistent with the features being a substantial ‘place of fire’, but can it be described as a ‘fireplace’ with the human connotation of that term?”, the academics ask.

They write, based on 11 years of research at the site, how the evidence indicates that the blackened stones were collected and “heated in a situation reminiscent of a hearth”.

“In summary, although no single line of evidence precludes natural fire, taken collectively the case for exclusion is strong. Humans are obviously capable of these processes, of carrying fuel to a cliffed shoreline and repetitive burning at the same place,” the article concludes.

“The prospect, however, of humans in that locality at 120 ka [years ago], although consistent with evidence presents more questions than answers. Who were they? Why here and not elsewhere? Why no legacy of any toolkit, no traces of food let alone human remains? In the absence of bones, stone flakes or any independent trace of people, the notion of occupation at 120 ka currently remains difficult to credit. However, marine shells, stones in unexplained depositional context and fire resemblance to hearth, , successively diminish the possibility of a natural explanation. That absence leaves the currently unlikely option of human agency as the most likely alternative.”


'A big jump': People might have lived in Australia twice as long as we thought | Paul Daley





Also, this earliest date is used in 'First Footprints' by Scott Crane . A friend has borrowed my copy so i cant look up the references Scott uses

However , they are hints and not solid evidence ;

. " Cane opens First Footprints with an occurrence that most assuredly rocked the world. Around 74,000 years ago Mount Toba in Sumatra exploded in the largest volcanic eruption the world has experienced in the past two million years. The picture that Cane paints is one of modern humans dispersing from Africa and reaching southern Asia sometime prior to the Mount Toba super-eruption. He goes on to speculate that Mount Toba’s devastation may have spurred the remarkable first voyage(s) out of Southeast Asia across Wallace’s line, a line that for 65 million years kept almost all terrestrially bound placental mammals (including those ‘other’ humans) out of Australia. The problem with the Toba dispersal picture is that it conflicts with the evidence from Africa and Asia, both archaeological and genetic. The bulk of the available evidence supports colonisation by modern humans of south and southeast Asia beginning ~55,000 years ago, with signatures of populations carrying distinctively modern technologies and specific genetic lineages from eastern Africa (Mellars 2006; Mellars et al. 2013). As of yet there is no clear evidence that modern humans dispersed into southeast Asia prior to the now well-documented process of Eurasian colonisation beginning out of Africa ~60,000 years ago (Mellars et al. 2013). Mount Toba rocked the world, but probably not the world of the ancestors who left southeast Asia for Australia.


This should raise questions about Cane’s proposed 60,000 year date for the initial colonisation of Australia. Not that it is impossible, but as of yet there is no clear evidence of modern humans in southeast Asia that early, and there is no consensus about possible evidence of people in Australia before 50,000 years ago. Throughout the book Cane is generally quite careful in his treatment of scant data; I wish that in Chapter 2 he had more clearly cautioned the reader about the evidence that might suggest an Australian landfall 60,000 years ago.

An initial settlement of Australia sometime ~50,000 years ago finds broad and growing archaeological support (Hiscock 2008, 2013). But how close to that date, either before or after, remains highly contentious (e.g. Allen and O’Connell 2003; O’Connell and Allen 2004, 2007, 2012). This is not, as Cane suggests (pp.65–71), simply a matter of the limitations associated with radiometric dating techniques. Cane bases a possible 60,000 years ago landfall mostly on archaeological remains suggested to be in association with luminescence dates from four well known sites: Lake Mungo, Devils Lair, Nauwalabila, and Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II). It is important to keep in mind that at Australian sites where critical problems in luminescence dating have been addressed (see Wintle 2013), none have produced dates of initial occupation that are clearly older than 50,000 years ago. Putting aside the technical issues of luminescence dating, each of the pre-50,000 year sites Cane refers to is suspected to contain evidence of post-depositional disturbance that calls into question the relationship between what is being dated (the sediments) and the artefacts suggested to be associated with those dates (see Allen and O’Connell 2003; O’Connell and Allen 2004). Here it would have been useful for Cane to remind the reader that we should err on the side of caution when dealing with fragmentary evidence from very few sites where it is not (contrary to what he suggests on p.66) generally possible to date the artefactual material directly. "


Review of ‘First Footprints: The Epic Story of the First Australians’ by Soctt Cane | Australian Archaeological Association | AAA


Regarding the 'decimation ' of human populations from Toba eruption, that has 'gone out of fashion' :

" New studies suggest the largest eruption in the last 2 million years didn’t push humanity to the edge of extinction as previously hypothesized '

Ancient Humans Weathered the Toba Supervolcano Just Fine | Smart News | Smithsonian


The data that drove this hypothesis - a supposed 'bottleneck' in the 'human population' ( or decreasing genetic diversity ) has since been explained by theories about the internal workings of genetics ... sorry, cant discuss that here .
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,517
Las Vegas, NV USA
I agree. Fifty thousand years seems reasonable. It's quite possible people of the time were capable of building rafts made of twisted reeds stiffened by bamboo. No technology beyond what is known to exist at the time would be required for a journey a little longer than that from Calais to Dover. It would require a bit more brain power than what had been thought to exist at the time. The human brain grew larger with cooperative hunting around 35000 years ago. Clearly building seaworthy rafts from reeds and bamboo would be a cooperative effort probably requiring primitive language as well.

EARLY MODERN HUMANS IN AUSTRALIA | Facts and Details
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,375
Australia
I agree. Fifty thousand years seems reasonable. It's quite possible people of the time were capable of building rafts made of twisted reeds stiffened by bamboo. No technology beyond what is known to exist at the time would be required for a journey a little longer than that from Calais to Dover. It would require a bit more brain power than what had been thought to exist at the time. The human brain grew larger with cooperative hunting around 35000 years ago. Clearly building seaworthy rafts from reeds and bamboo would be a cooperative effort probably requiring primitive language as well.

EARLY MODERN HUMANS IN AUSTRALIA | Facts and Details

I was looking at that ^ when searching for the above reference . It does state " There is some pretty good evidence that they arrived 75,000 years ago or earlier. " But does not seem to reference the 'pretty good evidence' ?

65.000 ya seems more accepted ;

74,000 - 65,000 years ago