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Australian Aboriginals


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What are your thoughts on the evolution of Australian Aboriginals. If you believe the out of Africa theory then the Aboriginals ancestors came from Africa and have inhabited Australia for over 60 thousand years from rock art paintings. But what I don't understand is their physical appearance and culture.

 

It is like they are the most primitive human race. There tools and weapons were very basic, their art is said to be primitive, many cultures had no clothes and they never invented farming. Their face is also very ape like. I have been very curious about their evolution, and one thought I had is that they are decentants of homo erectus and because of their isolation in Australia, did no have any contact with homo sapiens once they came to Indonesia (who probably breed or fought with the existing homo erectus).

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You say the Aboriginals are apelike? I have never seen anything else than pictures (including movies) of Aborginials, but they does not look more apelike to me than for instance New Guineans (which are more or less closely related to the Aboriginals) or some people from the country of mine (except for the skin colour). I surely know the difference between a chimpanzee and an Aborignal.

 

You say the Aboriginals are descendent of Homo erectus? We are all descendents from Homo erectus! The only question is how it happened; multiregional or out-of-Africa (for the second time, as should not be that impossible - if Homo erectus made the way to Australia, why not Homo sapiens too? Aren't the Homo sapiens said to be less and not more primitive?) How do you know Indonesia and Australia was not connected by land for some thousand years ago (and they were, or the seadistance was at least way shorter)?

 

You say Aboriginals are primitive? That's may be true, but are you yourself less primitive? What have you invented?

 

You say Aboriginals did not invent farming, but how many times has farming been invented and under what circumstances? Deserts aren't exactly the right place to begin, and one need also need suitable crops and animals (a puzzle that one). And if one cannot farm, how can one then get the population density needed for going into metallurgy or such things?

 

Aboriginals did not invent farming, the did not start metallurgy, but they survived in their surroundings. In Eurasia the competition was higher - those who started farming and those who organized themself into states got a higher chance of surviving, but that cultural development may have nothing do to with the physcial or psychical capabilities: To organize oneself into states isn't necessary in a low-density area, so why should one when one have the nicely fitted tribe-structure?

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I'd also like to add, as a side-note to the above, that I recall some recent thought on Out-of-Africa proposing that the path from Egypt to Australia was among the first taken, because of the abundance of beaches and nearly fertile land for foraging on.

 

Mokele

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It is like they are the most primitive human race.
Hunter/gatherers lack the time to develop a more sophisticated culture.
There tools and weapons were very basic, their art is said to be primitive, many cultures had no clothes and they never invented farming.
There is fossil evidence, I believe, that the earliest settlers in Australia killed off the largest animals that might have been later domesticated, which could have led to a more sedentary lifestyle and then to farming. These animals had never seen Man before and had no fear, therefore they were the easiest hunting targets.

 

If clothing was not necessary for survival in the hot northern Australian deserts, why would they bother with it?

Their face is also very ape like.
I think this is a generalization. Not all have the same appearance.
I have been very curious about their evolution, and one thought I had is that they are decentants of homo erectus and because of their isolation in Australia, did no have any contact with homo sapiens once they came to Indonesia (who probably breed or fought with the existing homo erectus).
During one of the Ice Ages, the waters between the Australian continent and the Indonesian islands would have been much lower, but it still would have required ocean-going boats that Homo Erectus may not have been capable of building or navigating. It is more likely that Homo Sapiens living in isolation developed these traits.
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  • 1 month later...

I have to buy into this, I'm white and it came across as bloody insulting.

 

Firstly lets take traditional aboriginal art. This is in no way primitive, to say that only shows a lack of knowledge of the art. If we take the image of a kangaroo that most people can think of. The colours and stripe/dot pattern show which parts of the animal are safe to eat and in what direction to cut the meat. One picture is an entire anatomy lesson and cookbook.

DBBK5_roo.jpg

 

There tools and weapons were very basic,

That would be the first time I've ever heard the Boomerang or Woomera called "primitive".

 

There is some debate about exactly when they arrived. It is thought that it may have been as recent as 12-14,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. The land bridge to Indonesia was almost complete at that time. Added to facts that the much earlier rock art is of a very different nature to the more recent and the Aboriginals have legends of a much older people that they displaced. The issue as the exact time of arrival is still in doubt.

 

No, they didn't invent farming. There were two main reasons for this;

1. Hunter gathering worked quite well. And

2. Most of the land is bloody poor.

 

For crying out loud the white settlers with their far more advanced techniques had a hard job of it. Note for non Aussies, whereas you might graze 20 sheep per acre, in many areas we graze 20 acres to the sheep.

 

As to the physical appearence of the Australian Aboriginal, it is perfectly in keeping with the hot dry climate found in many areas of Australia. Nothing unusual at all.

 

Phi, there is indeed evidence that they killed off the the larger animals, but it is highly unlikely that these creatures could ever have been domesticated. Monitor lizards some 10 metres long, carnivorous kangaroos 3 metres high? The Marsupial Lion was more than a match for the African Lion. The Australian megafauna was the most vicious the world had at that time. There were simply no animals of the required size that could be domesticated with the technology of the time.

 

Even a herd of the everyday herbivorous Kangaroo would require a paddock with a 5 metre high fence around it to keep them in. They need a fair amount of grazing space and if they have that they can get up speed and go straight over a 3 metres high fence.

 

Don't think "Skippy" here. We don't show visitors the big ones at the tourist attractions. ;):) I've shot some of these suckers that are nearly 7 feet tall. They are big, mean and very dangerous.

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DNA studies have been done on the Aboriginals and they indicate divergence from other human populations at around 40k-70k thousand years ago. Transition from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens was already complete. The facial features that you mention, such as the broad flat nose and stringy black hair, are also present in some peoples of Africa. Hunting and gathering societies were common just a few hundred years ago, and there are still some around today. Genetically, morphologically, and culturally there are no great differences between the Aboriginals and the rest of mankind.

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