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Spread of humans

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    Posted: 08 Apr 2011 at 16:23
I have some earlier posts touching the question about humans spread and populated the planet, but reading an article about a seemingly entirely different subject made me think about it again.
In the abovementioned article in a newspaper I saw a prediction that a lot of debris from the recent japanese catastrophe will probably cross the Pacifik in about a year, and much will end up at hawaiian shores. If so it seems not impossible humans and even their ancestors could have survived a journey at sea, and perhaps even in some cases founded new populations after a storm or tsunami. especially of course that could be an answer if there is doubt the population in question made vessels, boats or something remotely similar. Even not fully human individuals could grip an object that would later float, like some piece of wood or other plant, and perhaps survive at least a short time on the sea. All then necessary is that a few individuals from both sexes survive, and a new population is possible. One possible place could be early inhabited islands and continents like parts of Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia. Throughout the ages many remote islands were probably first reached by "accidents" like storms, probably even some of the norse discoveries in the North Atlantic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2011 at 18:54
Sure. You can survive a one year journey, given you don't eat or drink water. Perhaps the prehistorics were so advanced that they knew suspended animation with some exotic herbs we don't know now.

Jesus. I could write a book with that thesis and make a million bucks with the innocence of ignorants.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2011 at 19:13

You can't start a new colony with the crew of a fishing vessel, not in any society I can recall. What you need to establish colonies the other side of a sea or ocean is regular communication not accidental one-offs (which, before pinguin jumps on it, I agree the Polynesians were good at setting up).

Women don't go to sea until there's somewhere known to go to. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2011 at 19:18
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Sure. You can survive a one year journey, given you don't eat or drink water. Perhaps the prehistorics were so advanced that they knew suspended animation with some exotic herbs we don't know now.

Jesus. I could write a book with that thesis and make a million bucks with the innocence of ignorants.
Obviously You either did not read my post throughout or properly or You ignore parts of it. If You read more carefully You would see my idea was only the "voyage" of the debris is an example how far things can travel without human help, not that humans did it and survived.
If then You have read and grasped what I meant by the latest part of my post, You would have seen I mentioned Indonesia and Australia. At those places such a "journey" would not necessarily have taken one year, but perhaps under fortunate cirkumstances days, since the distance between islands are not very big, and was probably much smaller during the iceages, were only the deep straits of today were not dry land. Thewre are contemporary incidents were people and even animals have survived weeks so it seems not that impossible.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2011 at 20:40
Hmm a new version of the "message in a bottle" game. Ancient mariners were not dummies and they certainly familiarized themselves with currents, but at the same time they also kept their eyes out for land as well as flotsam [not to mention avian life] in order to lessen their odds. For the Polynesian/Micronesian peoples, island hopping wss not exactly daunting given the lay-out of the archipelagos of the proximate Pacific rims. Likewise, the populating of the Western Antilles did not require major technical skills other than endurance. Surviving "weeks" hanging on to flotsam as a means of reaching a destination and then going back to tell somebody about it is even beyond the realm of fantasy, fantasus.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2011 at 22:48
As a matter of fact, Doctor, it seems that Graham wrote these words above;

"Women don't go to sea until there's somewhere known to go to."

It does not take a "rocket scientist" to see some weakness in this arguement. Just how does anyone make such a pronoucement while discussing things that took place thousands of years ago?

That is, no one can know just what was the lifestyle of "Sea People" during times before Captains of Ships kept "Logs?"

Even here, upon the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, women, wives, daughters, etc., have accompanied their fishermen into the Sea, because their ship was their home.

And, such a case could be much easier to assume in the distant past.

As well one can easily assume that "banishment" was also a part of this past. Just what does a "banished" group do?


Edited by opuslola - 08 Apr 2011 at 22:51
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2011 at 02:35
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:


Obviously You either did not read my post throughout or properly or You ignore parts of it. If You read more carefully You would see my idea was only the "voyage" of the debris is an example how far things can travel without human help, not that humans did it and survived.
If then You have read and grasped what I meant by the latest part of my post, You would have seen I mentioned Indonesia and Australia. At those places such a "journey" would not necessarily have taken one year, but perhaps under fortunate cirkumstances days, since the distance between islands are not very big, and was probably much smaller during the iceages, were only the deep straits of today were not dry land. Thewre are contemporary incidents were people and even animals have survived weeks so it seems not that impossible.


OK. I see it now. Nothing that I disagree. A very early sea journey it was the conquering of Australia, that was done by dogout canoes... that was the only sea technology available 40.000 years ago.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2011 at 02:38
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Hmm a new version of the "message in a bottle" game. Ancient mariners were not dummies and they certainly familiarized themselves with currents, but at the same time they also kept their eyes out for land as well as flotsam [not to mention avian life] in order to lessen their odds. For the Polynesian/Micronesian peoples, island hopping wss not exactly daunting given the lay-out of the archipelagos of the proximate Pacific rims. Likewise, the populating of the Western Antilles did not require major technical skills other than endurance. Surviving "weeks" hanging on to flotsam as a means of reaching a destination and then going back to tell somebody about it is even beyond the realm of fantasy, fantasus.  


The Amerindians of the Antilles used to cross all the Mexican Gulf from South America to Cuba and from there to Florida and Mexico. But they had something more than rustic technology. Some of the canoes these people had were very large and could take 50 people at once. There is also a debate if the sail was known in the Caribbean. At least in the Pacific coasts of the Americas the sail was known before the Europeans arrived.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2011 at 03:19
Here's some general nourishment for further thought:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2011 at 07:58
When I read the responses here I think we do not disagree as much as it may seems at first - or perhaps even not at all. Of course such an accidental event would not result in regular contact, but that is not the same as to say it is impossible new territory could be populated that way. even animals reach ocean islands, especially if not too far out, and they may float on small items uprooted, especially on plant material. The populations I had particularly in mind regarding a purely 2natural transport": The early Australians, the "Flores man", perhaps peoples on the Phillipine, and some islands in the Indian Ocean (Nicobars and perhaps some others). In the cases were such places were populated very early, and were we also find little or no signs of any maritmer technologies at all, then perhaps they were populated without. We do´nt have to "invent" early water transport, even for pre.modern humans were such may not have existed to explain populations of islands. In the same way later, when more remote places were populated, the initial movement may have been "accidental", and not necessarily using very advanced navigational skills. I think even there is some much later historical examples, as Pitcairn and Bermuda, were either storms, mutiny or some similar "accident" resulted in a population, rather than any deliberate plan.
 With all this I do not intend to cast any doubt realy explorers, as the Polynesians and Malayans in particular, were excellent builders of vessels and formidable navigators, if I may only add they could hardly have begun as such.
I have the impression that early narratives about seavoyages are full of such "accidental" landings on alien coast, often very much against the seafarers wishes, and the example of the Odyssey should be just one famous example, since the only desire of the main character is to come home, and get revenge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2011 at 10:05
How many women did Odysseus have on board?
 
Occasional mariiners cast ashore where there were already human populations may well have been integrated into those communities, but they can't found colonies on uninhabited shores.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2011 at 18:04
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

How many women did Odysseus have on board?
 
Occasional mariiners cast ashore where there were already human populations may well have been integrated into those communities, but they can't found colonies on uninhabited shores.
That Odysseus only company on the ships were men does not mean so is always the case - especially since in his case they went home from war. In the case some individuals are "taken by the sea" but survives by clinging to floating objects (like trees or other plant material) they may be of both sexes. I see absolute no reason they can not survive and make kids. Why should we believe boats were a "men only" zone during most of history?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2011 at 21:06
I must ditto fantasus, since he ditto'd me.

Whilst both fantasus and I delve into speculation, your mention of Odysseus is also mostly speculation. It is also mentioned by some sources that the invasion of Egypt (by the People of the Sea) was accompanied by a large train of women, etc.! Were they mrely camp followers, or were they wives?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2011 at 07:47
Originally posted by opuslola opuslola wrote:

I must ditto fantasus, since he ditto'd me.

Whilst both fantasus and I delve into speculation, your mention of Odysseus is also mostly speculation. It is also mentioned by some sources that the invasion of Egypt (by the People of the Sea) was accompanied by a large train of women, etc.! Were they mrely camp followers, or were they wives?

When there is both males and females in a territory without other people and without the possibillity of "escape" it matters less if they were married or not untill then, I think. I even have an idea that especially under extraordinary cirkumstances, humans will frequently not necessarily give priority to whatever "usual" norms they have, but turn to the "law of necessity" - in this case priority will be survival at first, and then how to make new generations after a while.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2011 at 16:21
Originally posted by opuslola opuslola wrote:

I must ditto fantasus, since he ditto'd me.

Whilst both fantasus and I delve into speculation, your mention of Odysseus is also mostly speculation. It is also mentioned by some sources that the invasion of Egypt (by the People of the Sea) was accompanied by a large train of women, etc.! Were they mrely camp followers, or were they wives?
 
We're not discussing intentional invasions or migrations, but accidental crossings of major waters into hitherto uninhabited territory by clinging on to debris.
 
In fact though in the majority of deliberate invasions of other nations too the invaders were mostly men, miscegenating with local womenfolk. Once settlements had been set up, women from home might be sent for (especially among the ruling class). The Anglo-Saxon migrations/invasions of Britain followed this pattern: hence mitochondrial dna studies now showing a higher proportion of Celtic ancestry than y-chromosome studies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2011 at 16:31
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

How many women did Odysseus have on board?
 
Occasional mariiners cast ashore where there were already human populations may well have been integrated into those communities, but they can't found colonies on uninhabited shores.
That Odysseus only company on the ships were men does not mean so is always the case - especially since in his case they went home from war. In the case some individuals are "taken by the sea" but survives by clinging to floating objects (like trees or other plant material) they may be of both sexes. I see absolute no reason they can not survive and make kids. Why should we believe boats were a "men only" zone during most of history?
Don't forget that under your hypothesis both a man and a woman (at least one of each) must have managed to cross the waters by accident and arrive at the same place and live long enough to have at least two children, one boy and one girl all of whom have to survive with no companionship.
 
Also of course to fit the hypothesis, where they land must be uninhabited or they are not contributing to the 'spread of humanity'.
 
A much more likely model is the discovery of new territory by fishing or exploratory vessels like the Norsemen visiting Iceland, the establishment of local bases as storehouses if nothing else, and the gradual bringing of womenfolk from home.
 
Most of the world's landmass was anyway settled by migration overland: the places where the spread is across waters where land is more than a day or two's sailing away are pretty few, and mostly in the Pacific / Indian Ocean.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2011 at 16:48
Indeed, but crossing the waters by accident is only possible when the distances are short, that can be crossed in a week or less. Nobody survives if the accident leaves them in the sea for a couple of months without food or water.

Edited by pinguin - 10 Apr 2011 at 16:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2011 at 17:21
I agree the probabillity at first sight seems very small for such an event, but we should remember some places has been settled for thousands and even even tens of thosands years (Australia and new Guinea -  and Flores perhaps hundreds of thousands). I think there were never in human history a land bridging them with the rest of the world, though there may only have been a small strait separating them from the rest of Indonesia. There should be a significant chance debris - and people - on the sea were lead somewhere to the coasts, since they stretches many thousand kilometres (miles). And if they were taken by some dramatic event at the same time, the currents would probably make them land not extremely far from each other.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2011 at 17:46
But reaching Australia and New Guinea from South East Asia is not a feat comparable with crossing the Atlantic or the Pacific at all. In fact, people in canoes have travelled thought South East Asia and the Caribbean for thousand of years in rustic canoes. Australian aborigins were in contact with Guineans, for instance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2011 at 19:15
Reaching Australia from New Guinea is perfectly possible with small boats. So is coming back. So it's very likely that the coast of Australia was known to Papuans (or whoever) before anyone thought of settling there.
 
Once it is well established that there is land the other side of the strait, then the process of colonisation is no different except in detail than the process is on land.
 
In other words if the distance is reasonably short there's no need to posit an accidental arrival for colonisation, while if it's not reasonably short colonisation is impossible.
 
How reasonable is 'reasonable' depends on the technology and navigational skills involved.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2011 at 20:29
Australia and Papua has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, and I am not so sure about the time for the first things human made for transport on water, only that at some time it was invented. And I do not at all agree the first, undoubtly very primitive vessels were only a "small thing" or of little significance. On the contrary i think water transport was one of the primary human achievements of all time. Just imagine to be able to cross lakes or small straits or rivers man untill then could not pass. Rivers may very well be to wide, to wild or to filled with hungry predators to swim across, so they may have been formidable barriers  once. Then we may add the possible gains from being able to exploit the rich ressources of the waterways, and the possibillity of easier movement over distances.


Edited by fantasus - 11 Apr 2011 at 08:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2011 at 00:39
Absolutely.
As you know I am fan of the Americas prehistoric development, and in this hemisphere we can observe how shipping developed little by little from rustic dougout canoes to sails, bark canoes and inflatable boats. Man invents.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2011 at 02:18
Penguin wrote a while ago;

"Indeed, but crossing the waters by accident is only possible when the distances are short, that can be crossed in a week or less. Nobody survives if the accident leaves them in the sea for a couple of months without food or water."

But Penguin, the sea also provides plenty of food, and frequent rains could easily provide enough fresh water. It is only in the minds of people to think differently.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2011 at 02:20
For the record, Australia was settled at least 60,000 years ago (if you ask aboriginal folk lore man originated from Australia). 60,000 - or even 40,000 - years ago there was a land bridge between New Guinea and Australia so there was no need to use boats to get to Australia.
 
Even today, now the land bridge has been flooded, it is possible to cross between Cape York and Papua in a very basic canoe. Island hopping along the way.
 
 
PS. More interesting than getting to the Australian continent is getting to Tasmania. Because that would require crossing the Bass Strait, which to the best of my knowledge was never a land bridge, and has reasonably rough seas.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 11 Apr 2011 at 02:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2011 at 02:23
Crossing an ocean is not a piece of cake. For instance, the Manila gallion crossing from Manila, Phillipines, to Acapulco, Mexico, took 6 months to 1 year each way, and usually half the crew died during the trip.

So, those fantasies about primitive peoples paddling all the way across the largest oceans are nothing more than fantasies. Few peoples had the technology for doing so. Among them the Polynesians and the Europeans.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2011 at 02:39
Maybe Thor Hyerdahl, had it correct. All you do is stay within the natural currents?

But, if the Polynesians were not able to do so, then just how did they appear where they reportedly lived?

Aku, Aku!

Edited by opuslola - 11 Apr 2011 at 02:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2011 at 02:47
Thor Heyerdahl new the routes, had charts and navigation tools. That way it is easy to play the aboriginal sailor.

And, as I said before, Polynesians had the more advanced sea technology before the Age of Discoveries. No other peoples reached the level of Polynesians, and theirs fast cathamarans, so they were the exception rather than the rule in the ancient world.

http://southpacifichotels.travel/wiki/images/8/8d/H%C3%B6k%C3%BCle%27a,_a_prototype_of_ancient_Polynesian_boats.jpg







These boats were the racing boats of ancient times. A wonder of nautical engineering.






Edited by pinguin - 11 Apr 2011 at 02:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2011 at 02:49
The  Kwakwaka'wakw of Vancouver Island, were oceangoing whalers when the first Europeans arrived on the coast. They set out to sea in hollowed out cedar trees, and used sharpened bone harpoons attached to animal skin float bags to hunt grey and minke whales. Not a sport for the faint hearted.
 
This does suggest that primitive people were not unaquainted with the sea, or with its exploitation by very assertive means.
 
There is also anecdotal evidence, and some archeological evidence, of Japanese ships being wrecked on the shores of what is now British Columbia. This makes a certain amount of sense, as the ocean currents in the North Pacific are a one-way conveyor belt from Asia to North America.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2011 at 03:12
Come one, that Canadian tribe had superb boats, not much different from modern boats. These native canoes had KEELS, a relative modern invention in Eurasia.



With respect to hunting whales in canoes, that is not such an impossible task. Our ancient native fishermen, the Changos (yes, that's the name of the tribe), used inflatable boats for the same task.






 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2011 at 03:31
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Come one, that Canadian tribe had superb boats, not much different from modern boats. These native canoes had KEELS, a relative modern invention in Eurasia.



With respect to hunting whales in canoes, that is not such an impossible task. Our ancient native fishermen, the Changos (yes, that's the name of the tribe), used inflatable boats for the same task.






 


 
Nice picture. Incidently, the size and elaboration of the totem pole suggests that this is a representation of an aboriginal village after European contact. It was only after the introduction of iron tools that totems took on the appearance that is now recognized today.
 
If stone age peoples could brave ocean swells of ten meters, with breaking waves offshore (not uncommon on the west coast of Vancouver Island), then the prospect of them travelling along a coast line over long periods seems to me to be quite a reasonable proposition. We are probably not talking about epic voyages, but merely the movement of a few miles down the coast in search of game, multiplied by many generatinons.
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