South East Asia and Pacific colonisations

10 Jul

The migration of the original Homo erectus and the later Homo sapiens from the Asian mainland to the Indonesian islands and Austalia needs to be analysed in relation to the geological condition of the seas and land masses at the time, roughly 1.5 million years ago.

It may reasonably be assumed that Homo floresciensis decended from the Homo erectus that migrated from Africa at that time and resulted in the ancestors of the modern human beings as represented by the Han Chinese population on the mainland, the Australian aboriginals in Australia, and the inbred core island communities of the region (for example the Japanese). The sea amid the land masses between Asia and Australia may have been shallower at the time by 50-100 metres so that new lands were easier to move to or they might have used boats to travel from the Asian mainland to these islands. Active migration is more logical than assuming that a freak tsunami led to an accidental colonisation of the islands. If Homo erectus were intelligent enough to have made it to Asia from Africa in their search for more productive lands, why do we not think that they would have worked out how to construct boats or rafts to sailing to the Indonesian islands?

Once in Flores, hobbits were secluded and evolved well surviving up to 17,000 years ago when the second wave of Homo sapiens from Africa 70,000 years ago out-competed them or bred with them with their larger features and larger numbers rendering the original population extinct.

The discovery of Homo floresciensis fossils on the island of Flores is a shock to some because they were both tiny and apparently recent ‘remnants’. Further, their demise is attributed to volcanic eruption on the island approximately 12,000 years ago which is also supposed to have contributed to the extinction of the elephant Stegodon. This is highly datable for two main reasons: (a) there is no reason to believe that a fertile (high-rainfall) and currently biodiverse equatorial-subtropical island/region would run out of food, especially as late as 17,000 years ago at which point the agro-ecological attributes must have been much the same as it is today. The inhabitants would have had plant foods, small forest animals, insects, left to eat and not solely dependent on cattle-sized elephants. (b) the volcanic eruption must have been a localised event that could only have affected a few square kilometres of the island, as evidence by the survival of the Ebu Gogo population on the island until very recently (even up to the 20th century) as the descendents of the same Homo floresciensis.

A common perception is that Ebu Gogo is a mythical/folkloric invention of the Nage people which is dubious. The Nage people of Flores were a subsequent colony that arrived on the island from the result of a breeding of Homo sapiens that arrived 70,000 years ago with the Homo erectus living closer to the Asian mainland. They had no reason to develop an imaginary folkloric story of smaller hominids living on the other parts of Flores. Homo sapiens of 70,000 years ago was a more genetically less docile species than the original Homo erectus migration into Asia, and was consequently intolerant of existing hominids like the Homo floresciensis, and incidentally, the Homo neanderthalensis in Europe; the remnants of this docility is also apparent today in the culture of core Native Americans that descended from Homo erectus arriving from East Asia across the Bearing Strait in comparison with the new Europe-evolved Homo sapiens that started its migration through the seas with the Vikings, but which amplified tramendously from the 15th century throughout the world as a wave of new blood-stock insertion into local populations.

This model of the regional distribution of human populations also assumes that the far flung islands of the Pacific were colonised by the Polynesians much later only following the second wave of immigraion of Homo sapiens out of Africa 70,000 years ago. These were most definitely sailors to have been able to cross the deep oceans. So why would not have the original settlers the same? Could intelligence have evolved so radically in the 80,000 years from that wave of ancestral population of Homo erectus out of Africa? I personally doubt that.

The hypothesis is also based on serious doubts concerning the implications of the Toba catastrophe theory  for the interruption in the diversity and dispersal of humanity from its origins in Africa. The theory is supposed to have generated a bottleneck of just 10,000 human population (1000 breeding pairs) – mostly but not exclusively in Africa; the South Asian (Indian subcontinent Homo erectus population is supposed to have been totally obliterated by a 15 cm ash covering of the ground, but some more local Asian populations were spared the ash from the assumption that wind direction was in their favour and from any long-term change in weather patterns that affected vegetation and food generation. The nearby Homo floresciensis evidently survived the catastrophe in Flores, but there is no comment on whether the Han Chinese variety of the Homo erectus population perished or lived on, nor on who else (in terms of how many breeding pairs) survived in Japan and the Philippines but is justifiably assumed that there were no native population in America and Australia at the time of Toba. Locally, in Asia however, the theory continues that after only 10 years the ash cloud cover was totally blown away, and the land and forest cover returned in a great renewal of biodiversity over the next 60, 000 years during which the new Homo sapiens immediately found scope to start roaming again out of Africa from the 1000 breeding pairs that were left the and to establish themselves extensively first in South Asia, and then slowly migrating again down to the Far East and the Pacific islands to generate a flourishing humanity afresh. This must have been a very entrepreneurial Homo sapiens and reproductively highly prolific population indeed. It is further assumed that the Toba catastrophic theory is consistent with the DNA evidence suggesting a bottleneck in humanity that could have been caused by such a major catastrophe; DNA however may not be a very good indicator of ‘genetic diversity’ in that what actually matters are the actual genes and their diversity and there may be biological traits that are dependent on the expression of multiple genes: this is to say that genes are embedded amongst extensive junk DNA where nucleotidic sequence variations make not an iota of difference to the phenotype so that we do see diversity in humanity that is inexplicable in terms of DNA sequencing alone. Further, it needs to provide evidence that matches the current DNA with the populations Homo sapiens and Homo erectus that are supposed to have remained just after the volcanic eruption and state categorically that the south Asian population was totally decimated by the disaster. Thus, the Toba catastrophe theory for the decimation of South Asian Homo erectus does not stand up to scrutiny to add to the theory presented in my 7th July report of the fundamental considerations explaining the current diversity of human populations worldwide.

Last edited: 10.03 am, 17 July 2012.

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