By Steven Strong with Andy Whiteley
Contributing Writers for Wake Up World
While writing our last article on the lack of African genetic material in ancient Australia, it was never a matter of what information to include but more what to leave out. The quantity of supporting scientific research contesting the notion that African Homo sapien sapiens were modern humans’ sole ancestor, or had contact with the Australian Original people, is such that the same need to be selective applies again today.
Our primary intention in writing this article is to examine the work of numerous scholars of high standing, who are all united in their conclusion: whether studying mtDNA or cranial measurements, there was no place in ancient Australia for African genes or bones. In combination with our previous article, we will make reference to eight separate papers which span decades of research, all of which deny the Original people have an African ancestry.
The ‘Mungo Man’
The entire Out-of-Africa folly unravelled well over a decade ago, when archaeologist Dr. Alan Thorne first announced his findings in determining age estimates of the remains of two modern human beings found in south-eastern Australia: Mungo Man (WLH 3) and Mungo Woman (WLH 1). Ever since Thorne insisted dates of greater than 60,000 years were valid and applicable, there has been a constant and unresolved disagreement which has lead to the archaeological world splintering into two camps.
In championing the more ancient date, Dr. Thorne and his colleagues are in the minority (a position our team is intimately familiar with). But their use of cutting-edge technology on the actual bones seems to be present a stronger case than the method his critics reference, obtaining dates by examining the surrounding geology. In total, Dr. Thorne maintains that the four different tests were conducted on the bones, using different techniques, and all resulted in dates greater than 60,000 years. His critics, primarily led by Professor Jim Bowler, claim Dr. Thorne and his colleagues are mistaken and that a date of somewhere around 45,000 years is more appropriate.
In considering of the naysayers’ viewpoint, there are a few factors that don’t quite gel. Professor Bowler’s more conservative estimate is undoubtedly the more reassuring and convenient option for those who prefer the comfortable bounds of safe, accepted (however flawed) theory. But Bowler was no archaeologist. Although he was credited with the discovery of Mungo Man, he readily conceded that the archaeological requirements of the Mungo Man’s grave site required a highly credentialed expert from the field, and “invited” Dr. Thorne “to undertake the excavation, because I am not an archaeologist”.
Thorne’s estimate stands in direct opposition to the common belief that Africans came to Australia between 50-60,000 years ago. Buried over a thousand kilometres from either the coast or any prospective African northern entry point, a vibrant and established community were interring their dead with religious intent well before the earliest theoretical entry date. And this poses a real issue to Bowler, and every ancient historian.
And rightly so. Being a geologist “Bowler doesn’t buy into the human evolution debate because it isn’t his patch”. But it seems that (admirable) aversion to trespassing on another’s academic “patch” is selective in application. Bowler went on to attack the archaeologist he himself chose to investigate these ancient bones, claiming that Dr. Thorne “needs to be reconstructed” and that “Alan is talking through the top of his head. He’s obviously defending his backside”.
The academic climate here is certainly a touch hostile!
In the simplest terms it all comes down to conflicting dates, and the possibility of “contamination” or flaws in procedures. Bowler dated the sand and stratigraphy from the nearby area, but certainly not from underneath the bones. Dr. Thorne is adamant that “Bowler’s team cannot have taken samples from the grave site because there is a metre-and-a-half of sand gone from that site”.
Furthermore, an elemental flaw in Bowler’s process was highlighted by one of Bowler’s colleagues, Nigel Spooner, “whose expertise is in dating technology”. Despite Bowler’s claim that each layer of sand is clearly defined and easy to identify, and thus easy to date, his expert colleague seemed far less convinced. Said Spooner:
The stratigraphy at the Lake Mungo lunette is so complicated and subtle that there are up to 20,000-year changes in age between contacting sad units that are indistinguishable in the field, making the site almost impossible to study in detail without combining optical dating with detailed field and laboratory study.
And that is exactly what Dr. Thorne did; he used “laboratory study” to try and decipher a site that is “complicated” and “impossible to study in detail” without it. And if the layers are indeed “indistinguishable in the field”, it is difficult to understand why Bowler’s assertions have been so enthusiastically accepted in geological circles, while the results obtained in the laboratory have been almost totally ignored.
Responding to Spooner’s equivocation on the accuracy of Bowler’s study, Bowler stated “that is absolutely incorrect”. But after barely drawing breath, he went on to explain that he did show “… Spooner a major 20,000-year break in the continuity of the stratigraphy at the site, but only one”.
Well, which is it? It is either “absolutely incorrect” or it isn’t. There is no room for such contradictory thinking in this. And if his maths doesn’t add up and his assertions conflict, what can be said about his geology?
Once we fully absorbed the contradictions in Bowler’s response to Spooner’s equivocation, it became obvious this was never going to be a scientific debate where facts and good science prevail. Bowler’s defense is built on a fundamental flaw in logic. Given Spooner’s expertise is in dating technology, Dr. Thorne had every right to challenge Bowler’s findings and, more importantly, what he chose to omit. Dr. Thorne noted that:
Spooner’s statements about the complexity of the stratigraphy of the site should have been mentioned in Bowler team’s article, and that, if true, it means that the dating of sand is irrelevant…. which is exactly why, in our study, we dated the skeleton itself.
In contrast, Dr. Thorne employed “two different dating methods, which both rely on the decay rates of radioactive isotopes in the samples…. of the skull and a piece of tooth enamel”. While Bowler disputes the efficacy of these tests, and claims it is “fraught with problems”, he inexplicably continues to champion his own methodology which, by his own admission, may return a “20,000-year break in continuity”.
‘Extinct’ DNA Lines: Denisova Hominin
Beside providing a much more ancient time line than the accepted theories of evolution, the Mungo Man creates further concerns for traditional ancient historians; it came from a mitochondrial genetic line deemed “extinct”. The mtDNA extracted from the bones of this specimen shows no genetic link to any other modern human, so irrespective of whether estimates of 45,000 or 60,000 years are correct, this finding automatically disqualifies the it from having African origins. What it does show is that the Mungo Man is the oldest Original person found to date, yet it cannot be genetically linked to anyone, anywhere at any time.
If Dr. Thorne’s findings are indeed correct, no genetic association between ancient Originals and ancient Africans took place. However the sampling of only one set of bones is small and therefore prone to claims of the contamination or genetic abnormality. One male, one set of genes, and such an old specimen…. on its own it begins a story, but needs corroborating substance and science to conclude it.
But there is another factor that markedly decreases any likelihood of African contact in ancient Australia. Recently, more than 1,500 vials of blood (of which 600 were from full-descent Original people) collected by anthropologists Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell between 1926 and 1971, were extensively analysed by Roy Simmons from the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory. Not only did he report a lack of both A and B2 blood groups in the sample, which is totally at odds with African blood lines, his study of the mtDNA left him “unable to provide any clues as to the biological origin of the first Australians”. In other words, he could not genetically link it to anyone, anywhere at any time.
The only certainty Simmons could positively identify was that the Original genetic line was not only different to, but much older than, the African genetic strand. He could not detect any “blood group evidence to indicate the African Negroes or Negritos had any connection to the Australian Aborigines”. Simmons was compelled to conclude “that the Australian data indicated that the Aborigines actually evolved earlier than the African Negroes”.
To further muddy the African waters, on 4th December 2013, a New York Times article reported that a femur bone found in a cave in Spain provided a “baffling 400,000 year old clue to human origins”. A team led by Dr. Matthias Meyer, a geneticist at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, analysed the ancient human DNA recovered from the bone – the oldest yet by over 100,000 years – and found it “most closely resembles DNA from an enigmatic lineage of humans known as Denisovans”, a Paleolithic-era subspecies of Homo sapiens originally thought to be confined to the Northern Asia region. Clearly, this finding goes against the grain of accepted theory. Explained Dr. Meyer, “everyone had a hard time believing it at first… So we generated more and more data to nail it down”. Not surprisingly, further research only confirmed the team’s original results.
It appears the same hominid who is most closely linked to the Original genes of Australia was wandering around the Spanish countryside some 400,000 years ago, well before any African Homo sapien could be claimed to have stepped in, on or outside African soil.
To conclude today’s discussion of the ‘out of Africa’ theory, we felt it best to present the view of a man with no cause to champion, a man who is certainly no friend of Original people and Original history, Keith Windshuttle. Keith is a conservative spokesperson and historian who strongly advocates the notion that the coming of the British to Australia was a blessing to the Original people, that there were virtually no massacres of Original people at the hands of incoming Whites, and that the theft of the land from its Original custodians was essentially of no consequence. (In Australia, denying the massacre of indigenous people is akin to denying the holocaust. Needless to say, Windshuttle’s views are contentious, to say the least.)
Despite Windshuttle’s potential bias and selectivity on Original matters, he concluded from the recent science and genetic studies on the topic that “fifty years of blood genetic research…. has failed to provide any clues to Aboriginal origins”. And while Africa is the first potential ancestry that Windshuttle dismisses, his assertion is actually far more expansive. He concludes: