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    Sea crossing in ancient times
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2004 Dec 19, 05:53 +1100

    Alexandre Eremenko wrote, on 19 November 2004
    under

    Subject: Re: Nautical Mile, was: Why is a sextant like it is?

    among other things:

     

    “Trevor,

    Thanks for your interesting info”

     

    and

     

    “Is there indeed any evidence of seas crossings

    at these ancient times?”

     

    The archaeological discoveries Trevor was alluding to come from the Indonesian island of Flores. As it is on the Australian side of the Wallace Line, getting there involved crossing a body of water. Although the distance may not have been great during a cold spell when shorelines were much lower, this narrow strait separated two mighty continents so can be expected to have been swept by powerful currents and/or tidal flows. As far as we know there has always been (during the time period when flowering plants and mammals evolved) a sea separation a little to the west of Flores, separating greater Asia from New Guinea/Australia. The differences apparent between animals and plants on either side of this divide led a naturalist named Wallace to independently work towards a theory of evolution at much the same time as Darwin. Some say Wallace deserves more credit for his work.

     

    The archaeological digs on Flores have uncovered the bones of pygmy elephants, komodo dragons (still to be found on a nearby island) and the remains of a people described as "hobbits", presumed to be related to ‘Homo erectus’. The earliest date for human involvement now goes back 800,000 years. These "hobbits" only died out fairly recently, bones have been recovered that are 18,000 years old. They stood about a metre tall with very long arms. The implication is that these archaic humans were a lot smarter than has been assumed; able to communicate well, work co-operatively, and build sea-going craft. "It wasn't just a pregnant woman on a log" says Australian archaeologist Douglas Hobbs.

     

    (since this was written – this is the fourth attempt to post this on the Navigation List – the international journal ‘Science’ has decided, in its top ten list of yearly discoveries and developments, to give the “hobbits” of Flores second place, after the Mars discoveries)

     

     

       
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