Re: origin of australian aborigines

Daniel Rosenblatt (
30 Nov 1994 20:25:30 GMT

Lette Jean (lettej@ERE.UMontreal.CA) wrote:
[Much cutting]
: 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.

Sorry--actually it is Wade who is wrong, at least about the Polynesians.
As far as I know Australia *was* settled 35-50,000 years BP, but
Polynesia was settled much later, and it is only the settler populations
of New Zealand and Australia who are closely related. New Zealand *is*
Polynesian, Australia not.
I'm afraid I don't have references to hand, but here's a rough outline:
the people who became polynesians moved into what is now central
polynesia (Samoa, Tonga) probably from Fiji and other nearby parts of
Melanesia. (Some people, incidentaly, find the
polynesia/melanesia/micronesia classification scheme less than useful).
It is in central Polynesia that the distinctive features of Polynesian
culture probably developed (this is in contrast to older scenarios which
saw polynesians as coming, culture intact, from some other place). From
there, much later (over a period from 1000BP to 1000AD?--I'm not certain
of these dates), eastern Polynesia --Hawaii, the Society Islands (incl.
Tahiti), the Marqueses and New Zealand were setled. New Zealand was
last, around 800 AD.
The scenario Wade described involving deliberate voyages of settlement &
exploration probably refers to the Polynesian settlement, *not
Australia*. As far as I know,we don't know exactly how Australians got
there, but it is thought to be by crossing reletively shallow seas/land
bridges during a glacioal period.
Sorry I don't have references to to this stuff--there have been articles
on the dispersal of Austronesian languages and on overall genetic
relationships in humans in scientific American over the last four years,
which is where I got some of this, and there are some *recent* books on
Polynesian migrations. (Don't pay attention to older stuff: Polynesian
migration has been the subject of lots of speculation, interesting to a
cultural anthropologist looking at western ideas of the other, but
useless for knowing where they came from.

Hope that helps,

Daniel Rosenblatt: 2/8 Ponsonby Tce; Ponsonby; Auckland; NEW ZEALAND
ph: 011-649-376-5072 ** * ** <>