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Pulse-Pause Of Austronesian Canoe Technology

  1. Jan 12, 2010 #1
    This 2009 report Language Phylogenies Reveal Expansion Pulses and Pauses in Pacific Settlement abstract states:

    An article which sums up the report is http://www.robertsaunders.org.uk/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=In-the-Journals-Human-expansion-across-the-Pacific-mapped-by-language-and-bacteria.html&Itemid=63 [Broken]

    The attachment below is from Science Illustrated magazine and shows how technology probably drove the expansions. My question which I sent to the editor is:


    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2010 #2


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    Because they didn't need to?

    Canoes were fine for fishing close to shore and occasionally visiting other nearby islands, there was no need for anything else. Then as islands become more populated, you have to fish further offshore or seek out new islands and there is a pressure for better boats.
    With small populations there isn't really a lot of driver for new technology - its like asking why when the aborigines settled in Australia they didn't domesticate wildlife and develop road networks to populate the entire country.
  4. Jan 13, 2010 #3
    I was under the impression that early humans had a sophisticated trade network from 200,000 years ago. By 40kya populations would have grown around areas of natural resources, such as flint sites for making tools. There is evidence that humans would travel vast distances to take advantage of these valuable trading posts. Therefore I counter your argument with the simple fact that trade would have been he impetus for more advanced canoe technology.
  5. Jan 15, 2010 #4
    Anyone have an opinion? Doesn't it seem odd that they didn't expand canoe technology sooner?
  6. Jan 15, 2010 #5
    I've found something new Seafaring in the Pleistocene

    From Matthew Spriggs,
    School of Archaeology and Anthropology,
    A.D. Hope Bldg,
    Australian National University,
    ACT 0200,
    Page 3
    In much the same way, this article collects a variety of claims about early navigation, but does not settle the issue because each of them needs to be treated critically before it can be accepted. Cherry's (1990) reviews of navigation in the Mediterranean gave some idea of how this might be done, and reached a rather different conclusion from Bednarik, namely that there is no good early evidence for seafaring in the Mediterranean. It is true that Sondaar's claims are more recent than Cherry's latest review, so that it would have been good to have a treatment of them as thorough as Bednarik's review of Morwood's work in Flores. What we are left with is a bibliography of those cases that Bednarik thinks support his argument, but with little supporting evidence given for their inclusion on his list.Bednarik also is to be congratulated on bring-ing the collected works of Verhoeven to a wideraudience, but his criticism (elsewhere) of those of uswho have not read these works in the original sitsstrangely with his own patchy use of bibliography.Thus, for example, he does not cite Cherry's paper.In various publications (e.g. Bednarik 1992a) he pre-fers to use his own line drawings of an object ratherthan photographs published in his own journal (Ma-nia & Mania 1988) which show crucial evidence ofchewing by carnivores, omitted in his drawings —despite his editing a paper which points out theimportance of these toothmarks (Davidson 1990).He leaves it very unclear (at least in the version ofthe paper that I read) who is the archaeologist re-sponsible for the data from Flores that he cites de-spite knowing full well that it is Morwood's work.He alludes to the Berekhat Ram modified object fromits original publication — where it was far from clearthat the pebble was modified — and omits the de-finitive publications that demonstrate the modifica-tions (d'Errico & Nowell 2000; Marshack 1997). Hedoes cite the d'Errico & Nowell article elsewhere,but says, unfairly, that it is an example of a dogmaticdefence of a short time-scale, despite the fact thatany scrutiny of d'Errico's work would show that hehas shown remarkable open-mindedness on this sub-ject (d'Errico & Villa 1997; d'Errico et al. 1998; d'Erricoet al. 2001; d'Errico & Nowell 2000). Bednarik men-tions the work of Jones (1989) and Thorne (1980;1989) but omits to mention that they too experi-mented with watercraft.He fails to cite my paper with Noble (Davidson& Noble 1992) which tried to grapple with some ofthe issues about language and watercraft, though he. certainly knows the work. Instead, he cites otherwork of ours as suggesting that the issue about lan-guage is 'skilled and standardized use of communi-cation', although Noble and I (1992) consistentlystress the implications for language of the mentalabilities implied by the building of a watercraft. Andhe does not deal at all with the challenge Foley (1991)set to Noble and me which led to our 1992 paper —the evident crossing of water barriers by primatescolonizing the Americas. Accidental colonization byrafting on mats of vegetation still seems a good betfor those primates, as well as for the appearance ofhominins in Flores (Davidson 2001; Smith 2001), par-ticularly as the formation of such rafts may be one ofthe distinctive differences between the Indonesianarchipelago (where they do form) and the Mediter-ranean (where, I suspect, they do not).And here, I think, is the most important role forexperiments in watercrossing of the type describedby Bednarik. Of course it is possible to construct ahuge boat (though on what grounds it can be called'Pleistocene-style' is not mentioned — especially55
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  7. Jan 15, 2010 #6


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    Aspergers, the article is copyrighted, I have replaced the scanned article link with the link to the Journal that holds the copyright. I have also reduced the text you posted, multiple pages is too much.
  8. Jan 16, 2010 #7
    Okay Evo, thanks for that.

    I sent an email to Robert Bednarik for clarification:

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