Friday, July 21, 2017

Take a Little Walk With Me





One of the most amazing things humans have ever done is walk around the world.



I don't mean one of those adventures where someone walks from Maine to Florida to lose weight, or California to New York just to prove they can. No, I mean that humans, as a species, have walked and walked and walked across the globe.

This desire to keep going must have very ancient roots for us. Early humans evolved in Africa, but about 1.5 millions years ago a species we now call Homo erectus walked out of Africa and headed east. They ended up in China and Indonesia and probably lots of other places we haven't discovered yet.

Image result for Homo erectus walkingThat first wave of world walkers was then followed, again and again, by various early humans and eventually by what we think of as fully modern humans or Homo sapiens sapiens.

And those people traveled even further, all the way to Australia, populating the Pacific Islands as they went. They were helped by land masses that have since been covered over by the Pacific and other bodies of water. But still, that's a long way to go to settle down.

Anthropologists have not been very sure about the exact dates of that exodus, but this week, Australian archaeologists confirmed that modern humans reach Australia by 65, 000 year ago.

Preserved campfires, mortars and pestles, stone tools and painting materials confirm that modern humans, who evolved about 200,000-300,000 years ago in Africa, reached Australia pretty quickly and they kept to themselves and became the aboriginal people of today.

In fact, some of the researchers on the archaeology team were aborigines, a telling connection to the artifacts they were discovering.

This new archaeological work confirms recent DNA research published earlier this year that showed a date of 50,000 year ago for the ancestral aboriginal population.

But why did anyone leave Africa? And when they left, why in the world did they go so far?



We are not talking about a road trip that covered miles in hours, but an expedition that spanned continents in tens of thousands of years. One can only guess that they were following food (as in animals that walk around) or looking for food (as in vegetable matter during a drought), or maybe running away from something. But what? Over and over? We wait to hear more.

And by the way, Australia a young nation? Yea, no. Not at all.



2 comments:

  1. Anthropology has always been a favorite subject of mine and the question of why a species that served no purpose other than hunting and mating would choose to leave a continent has always intrigued me. This blog has mentioned some great things and let's hope that the answer to the question posed in it is answered soon!

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  2. All of this seems so strange and hard to believe, when you have the fastest commuting vehicles to travel and not walk along, and when there are people who are now walking on Mars- Man is capable of so much.

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