The Origins of the Aborigines: Anthropologists' Speculations

Beth Soucar '91 (EL34 [now 27] 1991)

In Australia Since the Coming of Man, Russell Ward gives the latest anthropological views on the origins of the first people in Australia, the Aborigines. Anthropologists speculate that the first voyage to Australia occurred about 120,000 B.C. (9). However, the first significant immigrations occurred sometime before 40,000 B.C. They probably came from South-East Asia, and possibly from Africa before that. Who they were is difficult to determine, but anthropologists hold that all of the islands in the Pacific were peopled by two racial groups, the Australoids and the Mongoloids. The Australoids went to New Guinea, Australia, and Melanesia; the Mongoloids, through Micronesia and Polynesia. Some mixing occurred, with Australia experiencing very little. (11) These people spoke about 250 different (but related) languages, and they lived a hunter-gatherer existence (12-13, 15). They were still hunter-gatherers when the first European explorers began to arrive (15).

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