Re: Austrailia

20 Sep 1995 20:18:52 GMT

Lynn Garth ( sez:
`Figured I'd throw a couple of questions out:

`A.. What are the possibilities in finding evidence of early homonids in
`the Land Down Under?

well, I'm not thoroughly current on the geological history of
Australia, but the general drift, as I understand it, goes
like this: Australia started out quite some time ago joined
to antarctica, and has been drifting northwest (by today's
directions) for some hundreds of millions of years. It was
out of contact with other landmasses during the period of the
development of placental mammals, which is why its _indigenous_
fauna is all marsupial. The earliest known signs of placental
mammals on the continent are from ~60kya, and comprise only
homo sapiens, and slightly later, the dingo, who presumably
came along with him.

Now the logic that attaches to this data is this: Because there
is no evidence of other placental mammals appearing at that time, we
surmise that the trip to australia was not a trivial exercise,
and was apparently accomplished by a series of open sea voyages,
island hopping during a period of low sea level. This required
a fully human level of cleverness, to build boats, plan
for food during the time at sea etc. This level of planning
seems to be quite beyond the ability of pre homo sapiens hominids,
who might only be expected to appear in the context of a
general migration of placental mammals.

`B. Have any homonid fossils been found in China lately?

Seems to me there is a small but steady trickle of h. erectus
finds which appear there. Others here will have more precise

========================================================================== <== faster % Pete Vincent % Disclaimer: all I know I
% learned from reading Usenet.