Thursday, September 22, 2016

Genetic Clues to What Happened in Australia About 4,000 Years Ago???

See the post (below) I just did a few minutes ago:

Linguistic and Genetic Mystery in Australia, discussing an article in today's news that was reported at PhysOrg, from an article in Science.

So after posting that article, I'm scratching my head thinking about what could have happened to initiate this cultural and linguistic change that evidently started in northeastern Aboriginal Australian culture around 4,000 years ago.  This change left its mark by introducing one or more new stone tool technologies and altered the language markedly.  So great were the impacts of these changes that a few intrepid someones from this first impacted group set off on a grand adventure for reasons unknown to us, and these intrepid someones eventually reach enough isolated outposts of Aboriginal Australians scattered across the length and breadth of the continent.  They stayed long enough to pass along trace DNA into the populations, as well as the new language and stone work technology or technologies.  They either then died off from old age or moved on to find a new group of people, but their genetic footprints remained among the isolated population groups they had visited.

At least, this is the premise presented in the September 22, 2016 article.

My first thought was that there had to be some kind of outside contact that acted as an explosive wake-up call to the Aboriginal Australians in the northeast.  But with whom?  Being an incurable romantic, I immediately was thinking about some culture from the Mediterranean - like a Phoenician ship blown off course!  But that didn't fit the DNA evidence which, the article states, shows that the agents of change were genetically Aboriginal Australians from the northeast, not folks from off-continent.

Then I happened to scroll down a little bit - still on the same page as the original article at PhysOrg, and saw this article:

Gene flow from India to Australia about 4,000 years ago

January 14, 2013
It is certainly food for thought -- but how to reconcile the genetic findings in the study reported in the September 22, 2016 PhysOrg article with the Max Planck study, which states, in part:

"A study led by researchers of the  Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, now finds evidence of substantial gene flow between Indian populations and Australia about 4,000 years ago. In addition, the researchers found a common origin for Australian, New Guinean and the Philippine Mamanwa populations." [Emphasis added.]

So - you tell me, experts out there - what the hell is correct???

I'll tell you what I'm thinking right now.  I'm wondering if there is some kind of hocus-pocus going on with people tippy-toeing around genetic findings about Aboriginal Australian populations because of the current political explosiveness of what is being discovered as researchers continue to dig further into our pasts and genetic herstories.  And I'm wondering if the Max Planck genetic findings reported in the 2013 PhysOrg article are just full of shit and biased by a Germanic preference for the "Indo-European out of India" slant that the German school of scholars from the 19th century forward have traditionally applied to such things as the development of language and mathematics, etc. and even right down to asserting a northern Indian origin for the game of chess despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.  And I'm wondering what we will say about all of this ten years from now.  I hope to still be around in ten years, so I'll have to make a note to myself on one of my kitchen cabinets with a sticky to check back on this.

One rather, er, interesting explanation I came up with while further pondering this as I was typing away:  there was perhaps no genetic swap of DNA between visitors from India and the Aboriginal Australians in northeast Australia despite enough meetings for language communications to have developed and exchange of technologies and ideas because all the contacts/exchanges were solely between males.  Now, given the male penchant for discovering a skirt hiding 500 miles away from the nearest landing point, I find this somewhat unbelievable.  Another possibility is that the Aboriginal Australians killed any children born after such cultural exchanges that they believed might have been fathered by the "foreigners."  Hmmm...

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