Re: origin of australian aborigines

Lette Jean (lettej@ERE.UMontreal.CA)
Wed, 30 Nov 1994 14:21:52 GMT (Opiowade) writes:

>In article <>, lettej@ERE.UMontreal.CA (Lette
>Jean) writes:

>:A few years ago, I read that there were 2 theories about the origin of
>:the australian aborigines to explain their distinct features.
>:Either they had been isolated from other humans and thus evolved
>:separately after the australian continent came into existence OR they
>:had a distinct genetic background meaning that they would be the only
>:humans on the planet who are not homo sapiens sapiens, but a small
>:terminal parallel branch (but by no means inferior) in the evolution

>My understanding about the origins of Australian aboriginals is that they
>arrived on the islands of Australia and New Zealand about 30,000 yrs ago.
>They are genetically related to other groups found in the archipelagos off
>of southeast Asia such as Polynesians (probably the closest relatives),
>Indonesians, Melanesians, and so on. In terms of visible physical
>features, they are similar to groups also found in Papua New Guinea. If
>you look closely at people from all the groups mentioned, you will find
>that they are not that unusual looking. All of these peoples began moving
>onto the islands from the Southeast Asian mainland in countries like
>Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.
> The general pattern of population of these islands was for a party
>of several boats to head out to form a new community (due to ethnic
>strife, overpopulation, etc.) These parties were made up of only a few
>people who represented the specialized skills necessary to begin a new
>self-sustaining community. When you take into consideration that the
>population of any given island began from a remarkably small gene pool,
>you can see that just one mutation in, say, skin tone or hair texture
>could give rise to a huge population bearing those same traits. This
>would account for certain physical characteristics that make the
>Australian natives stand out from their neighbors.
> One last interesting fact about the Australians is that they brought
>dogs with them to the island. These dogs were domesticated relatives of
>the Asian Wolf and came with the first wave of inhabitants at 30,000 yrs
>ago. This predates the earliest known domestication of the dog (or any
>animal) found anywhere else in the world by almost 15,000 yrs. At some
>point, however, they ceased using these animals and they returned to a
>ferrel state. Unrelated, but kind of interesting anyway.

>By the way, it sounds like the debate you are remembering has to do with
>the rise of modern Homo Sapiens Sapiens from Homo Sapiens Neandretalis.
>The confusion basically has to do with whether modern humans originated in
>Africa and migrated out (as the Neadrathals did) and replaced their larger
>brained predecessors around the globe or whether they arose independently
>in regions throughout the world from Neadrathal populations. There is
>ample evidence to support both sides and much of it comes from East Asia
>and the areas around Australia.

>Did I answer your question?

Yes, you did answer my question very clearly. Thank you very much.

1- Interestingly, an australian anthropologist told me specifically no less
than 2 weeks ago, that australian aborigines were UNRELATED to the
Polynesians and those from Papua New Guinea. If I understand you note
correctly, this is not even controversial, he was wrong.

2- A follow-up question: are there any populations of humans who are
possibly not homo sapiens sapiens in today's world ? If so, who are the
most likely candidates ?

Thanks again for taking the time to repond to my questions,