Why didn’t Austronesian spread to Australia?

Oct 2017
290
America ??






Why didn’t Austronesian, as well as Asian Cultures, spread to Australia?

& why didn’t Austronesian spread around Mainland Asia?

Like they did with SE Asia?

Austronesian is the second largest language family in the world at 1,257 languages, second only to the Niger-Congo language family in Africa at 1,538 languages.

The main theory for Austronesian origins is the Out-Of-Taiwan theory, & next to that is the Out-Of-Sundaland theory.

Which theory do you subscribe to more & why?

They would have developed a maritime culture in insular SE Asia before spreading eastwards to the Pacific & later through the Indian Ocean.

Also, why isn’t Austronesian spoken in Mainland Southeast Asia, as well as East & South Asia? The currents leading into the Indian Ocean from SE Asia would drift objects close to Sri Lanka & India.
Probably because of northern migrations swamping them?

The vast geographical extent of Austronesia makes its absence in northern Australia puzzling.

The north coast of Australia is just below the Indonesian islands, a hotspot of Austronesian languages.

Perhaps it has something to do with the currents around those waters - do they deflect away from Australia?

There’s the Indonesian Throughflow, which are currents bringing waters from the Pacific to Indian Oceans:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_Throughflow

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/256375564_Diagram-of-Pacific-to-Indian-Ocean-Throughflow-northwest-monsoon-and-Gulf-of-Carpentaria

The Indonesian Throughflow would drift objects from Wallacea to Northern & Western Australian coasts.

Evidence for non-European contact with Australia is very scant.

Probably the only evidence for outside visit are from Indonesian Makassan contacts starting in the 18th Century, & DNA samples from indigenous groups in the Northern Territory reveal Indian markers from around 140 generations ago, at around 4,000 years ago.
Genetic studies of dingoes suggest an Indian origin.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makassan_contact_with_Australia

Migrants from India settled in Australia 4,000 years ago before Captain Cook's arrival (and they took their dingos with them) | Daily Mail Online

https://www.google.com/amp/s/theconversation.com/amp/study-links-ancient-indian-visitors-to-australias-first-dingoes-11593

Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be any hard evidence of outside visit. There’s no evidence of Asian civilizations (Greater India & China), nor Austronesian visitation of Australia.
There being evidence even in the first place of pre-European visitation of Australia is remarkable in itself.

The Indonesian islands seem to serve as a maze barrier for Australia, & they along with Micronesia seem to be the frontiers for Asian Civilizations.

So this makes the Down Under a truly isolated continent.

The ancestors of indigenous Australians would certainly have had to sail to Australia, making them among the earliest known mariners, as Australia & New Guinea were never connected to mainland Asia & has always been an isolated continent ever since splitting from the super-continent Gondwana 180 million years ago.

How there is scant evidence of pre-European visitation of Australia makes the initial aboriginal migration to Australia even more mysterious. Most likely prehistoric humans island-hopped from Sundaland through Wallacea to already isolated New Guinea and then south to Australia, & when the ice age ended & flooded SE Asia, it isolated Australia to outsiders ever since, & sometime afterwards the waves of Mongoloid migrations began replacing the native Australoids in SE Asia.

Austronesian languages are spoken in various coastal areas of northern New Guinea, but haven’t penetrated to the interior. Why is this? What’s probably argued is that the interior was too rugged & hilly for the Austronesian maritime lifestyle, but they did penetrate in other large mountainous SE Asian islands. Could it have something to do with race that separated Austronesians from Papuans?

So, what are your opinions?
 
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Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,756
New Delhi, India
Was there anything in Northern Australia to interest other people - precious stones, gold silver, arable land? But yes, still surprising that nobody cared.

"One genetic study in 2012 by Irina Pugach and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has suggested that about 4,000 years before the First Fleet landed, some Indian explorers settled in Australia and assimilated into the local population in roughly 2217 BC." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Australia#Aboriginal_Australia :)
 
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Oct 2017
290
America ??
Was there anything in Northern Australia to interest other people - precious stones, gold silver, arable land? But yes, still surprising that nobody cared.

"One genetic study in 2012 by Irina Pugach and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has suggested that about 4,000 years before the First Fleet landed, some Indian explorers settled in Australia and assimilated into the local population in roughly 2217 BC." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Australia#Aboriginal_Australia :)
Yes, very puzzling indeed.

Isn’t Northern Australia lush tropical rainforest?

Perhaps the soil wasn’t ideal for agriculture?

The interior of Australia is desert, & elsewhere is usually Savannah, but the north is tropical rainforest.

Even Makassans settled in Northern Australia, though only comparatively recently.

I don’t think Austronesians are big metalworkers.
At least Polynesians aren’t familiar with metalworking.

Perhaps any Austronesians would have been killed off or absorbed into aboriginal populations.

Mongoloid ancestry among northern aboriginals is arguably quite likely.

There’s this article on some Austronesian loan words in the languages of northern coastal aboriginals:
http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p71311/pdf/article071.pdf
 
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Oct 2017
290
America ??
It’s a big mystery as to why & how Indians ended up in Australia 4,000 years ago, who exactly they were, & whether they came a single time or in waves?

The fact that their descendants are traceable suggest that the Indian group must have been fairly large in order to pass on enough genetic material.

They probably didn’t intentionally end up in Australia, as the land down under doesn’t seem to be known in Asian civilizations.

They may have been explorers, traders, or shipwrecked?
They could have come in single vessels or in fleets?
They could have possibly been settlers or the descendants of them in SE Asia?

They seem to have left no legacies other than their genetic material on the continent, & dogs if the dingo was brought by them.

If dingoes did arrive with the Indians, then it’s the only animal of theirs which has survived and spread around Australia. That would make sense, since it’s dogs’ nature to be man’s best friend in any environment, & a hunter-gatherer lifestyle matches ideally.

If the Indians had dogs, then wouldn’t they have likely had other animals as well?
Other domestic animals are not ideal for the aboriginal lifestyle other than for meat & material, so the aboriginals would have had no need to keep them.

But it’s curious as why other animals the Indians may have brought didn’t produce feral populations. This would either suggest that the Indians did not bring other animals significantly, or that if they did the Australian environment was not suited for them.
 
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Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,756
New Delhi, India
Perhaps they were traders and there because of ship-wreck. They would not have any other animal with them. The dog probably was the Captain's pet or that of the owner of the ship.
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,386
Australia






Why didn’t Austronesian, as well as Asian Cultures, spread to Australia?
Some Austronesian people did spread to Australia , they were 'absorbed' . Asian cultures did not appear to as there was no real outside settlement of Australia. This is for a variety of reasons. Some cultural components from the north were absorbed into north Australian groups and islanders and there are cultural and genetic links between north Australian groups and New Guinea ( eg. Torres Straight Islanders )

Settlement of Australia was made during 'pre Agricultural' times. Many people later, with the ability to travel were looking for familiar food sources and productive farming land. The points of entry, later after sea rise, were varied, unfamiliar and difficult. For example, mineral wealth, spices, and other 'goods' were not perceived by those people in those areas. It was only much later and in different interior areas that mineral wealth was extracted. A is only in much more recent years that non-Aboriginals have realized the extent and nutritional value of many native foods and 'spices'. People do not often recognize the unfamiliar - early Euro explorers sometimes starved, not realizing they were surrounded by food.

The Islanders to the north ( and the PNG natives) understood their environments and knew how to work them, and they were lush and fertile. The same in North Australia except it required different knowledge but also seasonal knowledge and a great 'moving about' to follow seasons and food . being in wrong place at wrong time can lead to big trouble. The reverse holds. Land, environment and climate much further to the south east were different and either isolated to ingress by the north, or directly south and south west was desert country.


& why didn’t Austronesian spread around Mainland Asia?

Like they did with SE Asia?
Already occupied with strong cultures in place. They may have been absorbed or repelled.

Austronesian is the second largest language family in the world at 1,257 languages, second only to the Niger-Congo language family in Africa at 1,538 languages.

The main theory for Austronesian origins is the Out-Of-Taiwan theory, & next to that is the Out-Of-Sundaland theory.

Which theory do you subscribe to more & why?

They would have developed a maritime culture in insular SE Asia before spreading eastwards to the Pacific & later through the Indian Ocean.

Also, why isn’t Austronesian spoken in Mainland Southeast Asia, as well as East & South Asia? The currents leading into the Indian Ocean from SE Asia would drift objects close to Sri Lanka & India.
Probably because of northern migrations swamping them?
Probably, yes .

The vast geographical extent of Austronesia makes its absence in northern Australia puzzling.

The north coast of Australia is just below the Indonesian islands, a hotspot of Austronesian languages.

Perhaps it has something to do with the currents around those waters - do they deflect away from Australia?
The winds do, and further north they go east above PNG ;

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Map_prevailing_winds_on_earth.png

But the ocean currents make this 'interesting' , for example ;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vital_Alsar_Pacific_raft_expeditions

There’s the Indonesian Throughflow, which are currents bringing waters from the Pacific to Indian Oceans:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_Throughflow

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/256375564_Diagram-of-Pacific-to-Indian-Ocean-Throughflow-northwest-monsoon-and-Gulf-of-Carpentaria

The Indonesian Throughflow would drift objects from Wallacea to Northern & Western Australian coasts.

Evidence for non-European contact with Australia is very scant.

Probably the only evidence for outside visit are from Indonesian Makassan contacts starting in the 18th Century, & DNA samples from indigenous groups in the Northern Territory reveal Indian markers from around 140 generations ago, at around 4,000 years ago.
Genetic studies of dingoes suggest an Indian origin.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makassan_contact_with_Australia

Migrants from India settled in Australia 4,000 years ago before Captain Cook's arrival (and they took their dingos with them) | Daily Mail Online

https://www.google.com/amp/s/theconversation.com/amp/study-links-ancient-indian-visitors-to-australias-first-dingoes-11593
genetically it comes from the south Asian Grey Wolf

https://australianmuseum.net.au/dingo

Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be any hard evidence of outside visit. There’s no evidence of Asian civilizations (Greater India & China), nor Austronesian visitation of Australia.
There being evidence even in the first place of pre-European visitation of Australia is remarkable in itself.

The Indonesian islands seem to serve as a maze barrier for Australia, & they along with Micronesia seem to be the frontiers for Asian Civilizations.

So this makes the Down Under a truly isolated continent.

The ancestors of indigenous Australians would certainly have had to sail to Australia, making them among the earliest known mariners, as Australia & New Guinea were never connected to mainland Asia & has always been an isolated continent ever since splitting from the super-continent Gondwana 180 million years ago.
Not really, only in more recent times. In the past such separation was around 90km and a lot less distant than some islands to each other . But , yes, this was only in one area , a 'land bridge' ( with a 90 km gap) .

But I am not convinced all people came in through this area. There are tribal myths and stories from groups further down the west coast and inland about people coming by sea, moving inland and dying from thirst, more came later, and 'found their bones', but eventually found water and survived.

How there is scant evidence of pre-European visitation of Australia makes the initial aboriginal migration to Australia even more mysterious. Most likely prehistoric humans island-hopped from Sundaland through Wallacea to already isolated New Guinea and then south to Australia,
Both at the same time I think ; on this route, they would have come to what is now the NW Shelf , now under water, then either gone north or south . Island hopping further north would lead directly to PNG.

& when the ice age ended & flooded SE Asia, it isolated Australia to outsiders ever since, & sometime afterwards the waves of Mongoloid migrations began replacing the native Australoids in SE Asia.

Austronesian languages are spoken in various coastal areas of northern New Guinea, but haven’t penetrated to the interior. Why is this?
The number of and variety of PNG languages is still somewhat of a mystery. In some places ( although there are many possible reasons for this ) people stick together in closed groups and do not accept outsiders, it could be because of the rugged landscape and difficulty of travel, but must also be due to some type of cultural development .

Fierce people repel 'strangers' and tend to stick to their own culture ;


No , I would not continue up this trail !

" The indigenous tribe has lived on North Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean for an estimated 60,000 years. Their limited contact with the outside world usually involves violence, as they are hostile towards outsiders. Islanders have been known to fire arrows or toss stones at low-flying aircraft on reconnaissance missions.Tribespeople have rarely been photographed or recorded on video, as it is too dangerous to visit the island. India's government has given up on making contact with the islanders and established a three-mile exclusion zone.

They even tried landing on the beach and leaving some trade goods / presents and departing. The natives 'abused' the goods ( speared a pig carcass offering and speared a child's doll and buried them on the beach ) and abandoned them.



What’s probably argued is that the interior was too rugged & hilly for the Austronesian maritime lifestyle, but they did penetrate in other large mountainous SE Asian islands. Could it have something to do with race that separated Austronesians from Papuans?

So, what are your opinions?
early Australians
As well as some points I mentioned above, there is the 'mind set' of the early Australians . We know Macasins came here for trepang, and bought some of their culture with them, and although some of that passed into Aboriginal culture ( some language, some elements of Islamic religion, some Aboriginals even went back with them, and are said to have had families there and then would come back with them to Australia. They never developed or adopted or adapted their technologies , for example they had iron cooking pots, swords, etc . Some developed a 'sword dance' to memorialize this impressive weapon , but they simply just did not adopt the usage . This is unusual as later and ever since the the gift of iron / steel blades, hatchets, fish hooks, etc was greatly appreciated. Yet some early explorers say they were just not interested and left any trade goods given on the ground and walked away.

Any modern Aboriginal, when asked about this usually responds ; " We didnt need it . "

Take , for example, boat building, I have asked a 'culture man' ( a man trained and well versed in traditional beliefs, culture and able to live that lifestyle and survive traditionally ) about this and he said : ' After people arrived, we didnt need boats of complex canoes. We need to move around and follow season and food ( this is in the north ) there are no great number of big wide or long rivers. You come to a river , make paperbark canoe and cross, leave it on other side for someone else to use. Too much trouble to take a boat with you everywhere. Coastal people might want dugout canoe for fishing, paperbark good enough for a swamp . "

I think a lot of it has to do with 'ancient mind set' and these people seem to have preserved that, due to their fairly isolated and distinct environments.

The settlements in the SW began to develop village life and agriculture and aquaculture ('eel farms' ) , there was grain agriculture in the central south ( the worlds first bread makers) and pasture development for 'kangaroo farming' in various places including Tasmania .

But 'something' eventually happened to disrupt all this ...





 
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