Gerold Firl (
8 Oct 1996 19:57:18 GMT

In article <53cj4e$>, Bob Keeter <> writes:

|> (Gerold Firl) wrote:

|> >Actually, there have been a couple of "ape" species present in the
|> >Sahul (?) prior to the appearance of h. sap. sap; homo erectus and
|> >archaic h. sapiens. The only question is, did they manage to get across
|> >the straits to australia? If pre-100,000 bp dates are correct, then it
|> >appears that they did.

|> More paleontology than anthropology, but the reason that the marsupials
|> held reign in Austrailia was that land mammals from Asia were largely
|> cut off for a very long time; far longer than there were any humans
|> or primates in Asia.

Good point; I forgot about that. The absence of placental mammels is a
clear indication that no land bridges to australia existed.

|> >Has australia always been surrounded by water? Have any of the
|> >glaciation events brought sea levels low enough to allow an easy
|> >crossing? H. erectus has been in java for a long time; say, about a
|> >million years. If they could get to java, australia doesn't seem out of
|> >the question.

|> There is lots of DEEP blue water between Austrailia and the islands of
|> the south pacific. While there easily may have been even dry land
|> crossings to many of the big islands, there was no Austrailian
|> "Berengia" that I know of. I think that the real answer is the
|> obvious one that very few really like. H. Erectus needed boats
|> or sea-going rafts AND a _MARITIME CULTURE_ to get to Austrailia
|> if in fact he made it!

Indeed. The fact that h. erectus had occupied the indonesian islands
for a million years makes the developement of a maritime culture seem
quite plausible to me.

|> Unless our ancestors were considerably more
|> stupid than I would suppose, he would not have headed out across
|> a couple of hundred miles of blue water unless he knew there was
|> something out there.

It's not quite as bad as that. At present sea levels, a person can go
from java to australia without having to ever cross 100 miles of
water; I don't have precise numbers, but I would guess the longest
stretch would be more like 25 miles. Difficult, but not impossible. I
see no solid reason to rule out the possibility that archaic h. sap,
or even later h. erectus, might have made the crossing to australia
before the arrival of modern humans 40,000 bp.

|> While a storm may have blown a coastal
|> fisherman across on the rare occasion, to move enough population
|> across to actually settle the land would have required intentional,
|> planned voyages, hence the maritime culture.

Yes. These original australians were explorers.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf