Monday, April 9, 2012

The Boat of Millions of Years

Australia was settled about 74000 years ago, long before the Homo sapiens diaspora into Europe and Asia, the settlers being driven from East Africa by the famine and the years of darkness that followed the Toba super-eruption. You can read about it here. The Paleolithic pioneers crossed the Indian ocean in dug-out canoes, provisioned with edible seedpods from the Baobab tree to nourish them along the voyage. In the absence of existing Australian immigration paranoias they were forced to intern themselves for six months on Christmas Island. Also, obligatory “Six Months in a Leaking Boat” reference.

Responses to the theory have been mixed.
The hidebound Australian establishment has only scorn and hostility for autodidact amateurs!

However, it does explain why the North Australian species of baobab Adansonia gregorii is so closely related to the Madagascan variety, which otherwise requires the transportation of a seedpod by an African swallow. Or two European swallows: one at the front and one at the back.

Baobab: An annoyingly non-palindromal name
I have tried to persuade the others that the next Riddled fund-raising cruise should be a re-enactment of this epic voyage. It would be in the tradition of the Kon-Tiki expedition. It would assure us a place in the annals of history and a permanent exhibition in the Bunnythorpe Seafarers’ and Dockers’ Guild Hall and Museum.

Alas, only the library pixies are keen, and have already chosen their costumes. Everyone else is all no-enthusiasm, and tigris has remembered she gets seasick.

Evidence for the African boat-people hypothesis? You want evidence? Note the similarities between the rock-art of the Sandawe culture in Tanzania and the long-vanished Bradshaw culture of the Kimberley region, a.k.a. Gwion Gwion.* In both traditions, magic-mushroom visions – filtered through a world-view of shamanism – inspired artists to paint people with pancakes on their heads.
Whatever the plausibility of the theory, I rate for any research program that allows vision scientists to speculate in an optometry journal about drug experiences.**

* Chapman insisted on calling them the Lucy culture, at a time when he and Keats shared a brief enthusiasm for anthropology, and neither of them was particularly clear on the concept of ‘Homo habilis’.

** Inevitably Keats responded that “It’s a Lucy nation!”.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

** Inevitably Keats responded that “It’s a Lucy nation!”.


I'm sure you can get Tigris and A.K. on board with the idea if you just play the right musik.

Substance McGravitas said...

From the Toba link:

The analysis of louse genes confirmed that the population of Homo sapiens mushroomed after a small band of early humans left Africa sometime between 150,000 and 50,000 years ago.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

And if that doesn't work, I'm sure provisioning the canoe with a keg or three will do the trick.

tigris said...

Sure, but it must be the RIGHT music. And it's not so much that I get sea sick as I remember what happened last time we took the pixies sailing, which I point out I was not the only one to find nauseating. Plus I'm allergic to sharks.

Sirius Lunacy said...

Well of course you need the right music! You also need the right ship and a proper invitation.

Another Kiwi said...

The Bradshaw Culture sounds like Yorkshire people. So it's culture base on pickled onions and Leeds United. Ee by goom.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

And it's not so much that I get sea sick as I remember what happened last time we took the pixies sailing, which I point out I was not the only one to find nauseating.

Pixies can be eaten for their antiscorbutic property.

Smut Clyde said...

Plus I'm allergic to sharks.

Tigris is properly shagreened.

Scott Chansoder said...

had they waited and gone to Europe with their pals, a bit of vandalism could have won them a free trip!


tigris said...

Smut: OUCH.

Substance McGravitas said...

Sure, but it must be the RIGHT music.

With the right TITLE.

mikey said...

Hey, what could possibly go wrong?

Perhaps the Institute for Internet Security might have something to say.