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Pindai -grotte, eens tuis vir die Lapita -mense en uitgestorwe spesies

Pindai -grotte, eens tuis vir die Lapita -mense en uitgestorwe spesies


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Nieu -Caledonië, in die suidelike Stille Oseaan, is 'n besonderse samelewing van Frankryk. Dit het nie net 'n fassinerende geskiedenis en unieke kultuur nie, maar die eilande het ook een van die belangrikste argeologiese terreine in die hele Oseanië, die Pindai -grotte. Hierdie grotte het aan argeoloë 'n skatkis van menslike oorblyfsels voorsien, en paleontoloë oorblyfsels van uitgestorwe voëls, reptiele en ander fauna wat uit die Holoseense tydperk dateer.

Die antieke geskiedenis van Pindai -grotte

Die Lapita -mense was die eerste mense wat hulle op die eilande van Nieu -Caledonië gevestig het. Aangesien hierdie matrose van die Austronesiese ekstraksie uiters bekwame seevaarders was, het Nieu -Caledonië 'n baie belangrike rol gespeel in hul kolonisering van Oseanië. Hulle word beskou as die voorouers van die Polinesiërs wat baie Stille Oseaan -eilande en Nieu -Seeland bevolk het. Hulle is ook die voorouers van die moderne Kanak -mense van Nieu -Caledonië.

Argeoloë het in die Pindai -grotte items gevind wat vroeër aan die Lapita -mense behoort het, waaronder baie potskerwe. Hulle het ook verskeie hope skulpvisreste agtergelaat. Guano (voëluitwerpsels) is in die grotte geoes en as kunsmis gebruik.

Lapita -erdewerk, gevind op Port Vila , Vanuatu (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Nieu -Caledonië is in die 19de jaar opgeneem in die Franse Ryk ste eeu toe hulle die eilande as 'n strafkolonie gebruik het. Terwyl die grotte in die 19 verken is ste eeu, het argeoloë eers in die 20's ondersoek ste eeu en het twee nedersettings in die Pindai -grotte gevind wat oor 'n tydperk van ten minste twee millennia deur mense beset was.

Die uitgestorwe horingskilpad, Meiolania. Bron: CC BY SA 2.0

Die ongelooflike fossiele van Pindai -grotte

Saam met die prehistoriese nedersettings is baie diere- en voëlreste ontdek. Van die 45 spesies wat gevind is, is ten minste 20 nou uitgestorwe in Nieu -Caledonië of wêreldwyd. Onder die uitgestorwe spesies is relings, 'n kagu, duiwe en 'n groot sluip. Ander voëlsoorte wat al lankal uitgesterf het, sluit in die Sylviornis, 'n vlieglose megapode wat sy eiers op die grond gelê het, en 'n vlieglose vlei-hen. Die oorskot van 'n aantal uile is ook gevind. Ook hierdie het vir baie jare uitgesterf. 'N Groot aantal van hierdie oorskot is gevind in slaggate en sinkgate in die grotte, wat die voëls vasgekeer het.

  • Piesangs het die ou Lapita -kultuur gehelp om Oseanië te koloniseer
  • Ou skedels gee insig in die oorsprong van Polinesiërs
  • Ongekende golf van uitsterwings van groot soogdiere gekoppel aan prehistoriese mense

Sylviornis, die uitgestorwe vluglose voël (Renata Cunha)

'N Aantal uitgestorwe reptiele is ook gevind, waaronder 'n landelike krokodil ( Mekosuchus) sowel as fossiele van die reuse horingskildpad, Meiolania. Die fossiele en oorblyfsels in die grot bied navorsers insig in die uitwissing van spesies na die aankoms van die eerste mense.

Die resultate van verskillende studies het nie 'n definitiewe verband getoon tussen menslike aktiwiteite en die uitwissing van spesies soos die vluglose voëls op Nieu -Caledonië nie. Die oorblyfsels is koolstofgedateer en dui aan dat mense en die uitgestorwe spesies al jare lank bestaan. Mense het mettertyd 'n nadelige uitwerking op die omgewing gehad, en dit het, eerder as oorjag, gelei tot die ondergang van baie spesies.

Uitleg van die Pindai -grotte

Die grotte is op 'n skiereiland aan die noordkus van die hoofeiland, Grande Terre. Die ligging het ses grotte van die karst -tipe, waarvan twee toeganklik is. Die oorblywende vier grotte is as sinkgate ingedeel - kloof wat ontstaan ​​deur die vloei van ondergrondse water.

Die ligging van Nieu -Caledonië (Google kaarte)

Die twee toeganklike grotte was eens die huise van die eerste mense wat hulle op die eilande gevestig het. Die ingange van die grot brei uit tot 'n groot kamer en bevat stalaktiete en stalagmiete. Baie voëlsoorte het in die grotte gewoon, soos die uitgestorwe prehistoriese voëls waarvan die fossiele deur paleontoloë gevind is.

Besoek aan die Pindai -grotte in Nieu -Caledonië

Die grotte is 182 km noord van Noumea, die hoofstad van Nieu -Caledonië, geleë. Daar is begeleide toere deur die streek en dit sluit uitstappies na die grotte in. Die grotte word deur die plaaslike regering beskerm en besoekers word versoek om die terrein te respekteer.


Pindai -grotte, eens tuis vir die Lapita -mense en uitgestorwe spesies - geskiedenis

'N Publikasie van die Archaeological Institute of America

Kaart van Suidoos-Asië en Australië, met huidige en ystydperk grense oor die see, toon die belangrikheid van seevaart in hierdie streek. Moontlike roetes vir die kolonisering van Australië deur moderne mense is noord, deur Sulawesi en suid, van Timor af. Teen 1000 v.C. obsidiaan uit New Britain was besig om Borneo te bereik. Indo-Romeinse erdewerk bereik Bali teen die vroeë eeue nC (Lynda D'Amico) [GROOTER BEELD]

Suidoos -Asië en Australië gee argeoloë 'n paar van die beste bewyse vir antieke seeoorgange, nie net deur paleolitiese mense nie, maar ook deur neolitiese mense en selfs speseryhandelaars wat in die Romeinse Ryk is. Nuwe ontdekkings, sommige kontroversieel, stoot die datums van menslike kolonisasie van hierdie streek terug en brei ons kennis oor vroeë eilandnetwerke uit. Hierdie vondste belig ook die eerste treë in sommige van die langste prehistoriese koloniseringsreise in die oop see-van Suidoos-Asië tot Polinesiese eilande soos Hawaii, Paaseiland en Nieu-Seeland, en miskien ook van Indonesië tot Madagaskar- gedurende die eerste millennium nC

Om die implikasies van hierdie ontdekkings te verstaan, moet u bewus wees dat die Indo-Maleisiese argipel twee baie verskillende biogeografiese streke bevat. Die westelike eilande op die Sunda-rak-Sumatra, Java, Bali en Borneo-is deur landbrûe verbind met mekaar en die Asiatiese vasteland tydens ysperiodes van lae seevlak. Daarom ondersteun hulle ryk Asiatiese plasenta -soogdiere en is hulle gekoloniseer Homo erectus, miskien so vroeg as 1,8 miljoen jaar gelede. Die oostelike eilande-Sulawesi, Lombok, Flores, Timor, die Molukken en die Filippyne-is nog nooit deur landbrûe met die Sunda-rak of Australië of met mekaar verbind nie. Hulle het beperkte soogdierfauna's, toevallige aankomste uit Asië en Australasië.

Migrasie deur die argipel het altyd vereis dat mense aansienlike dele van die oop see moet oorsteek. Maar wanneer het hulle dit eers probeer doen? Daar is tans 'n omstrede bewering deur 'n gesamentlike Nederlands-Indonesiese span dat mense tydgenote was van stegodons, uitgestorwe olifantagtige diere, op 'n plek genaamd Mata Menge op die Indonesiese eiland Flores. Klipvlokkies en stegodonbene is hier gevind in vermoedelike assosiasie in afsettings wat net bokant 'n ommekeer van die aarde se magnetiese veld dateer uit 730 000 jaar gelede. Sou hierdie eis toekomstige ondersteuning ontvang, sal ons die moontlikheid moet toelaat dat selfs Homo erectus kon die oop see oorsteek, in hierdie geval die Lombokstraat van 15 myl tussen Bali en Lombok.

Dat die Australiese kontinent minstens 30 000 jaar gelede die eerste keer gevestig is deur mense wat opeenvolgende seebane in die ooste van Indonesië moes oorsteek, was aan die einde van die 1960's bekend. Navorsing deur wyle Joseph Birdsell en deur Geoffrey Irwin van die Auckland Universiteit dui daarop dat daar afsonderlike noordelike en suidelike roetes was, waarlangs die meeste eilande op helder dae sigbaar sou gewees het van hul naaste bure, wat vanaf die Sunda Shelf -eilande na Australië en Nieu -Guinee gelei het. . As Australië die eerste keer vanaf Timor bereik word, sou dit waarskynlik lyk, sou 'n laaste seespoor van ongeveer 55 myl, wat beweging buite sig van die land behels, ook nodig gewees het.

Die Australiese argeologiese rekord is nou teruggeskuif tot die grense van konvensionele radiokoolstof -datering, met verskeie plekke tussen 35 000 en 40 000 jaar gelede. Radiokoolstofdatums van hierdie ouderdom is moontlik onderhewig aan besmetting deur jonger koolstof op vlakke wat nie in die laboratorium opgespoor kan word nie. Sodanige besmetting kan 'n datum jonger as 40 000 jaar produseer wanneer die werklike ouderdom baie ouer is. In onlangse jare het optiese luminescentiedating van terreine in die noorde van Australië die moontlikheid verhoog dat mense so 60 000 jaar gelede daar aangekom het, en baie argeoloë aanvaar nou hierdie nuwe datums. Meer omstrede is huidige berigte, wyd gepubliseer in die wêreldmedia en in die tydskrif gepubliseer Oudheid, dat Jinmium, 'n rotsskuiling van sandsteen in die Noordelike gebied van Australië, meer as 100,000 jaar oud is met klipartefakte. Die ondersoekers van die webwerf-Richard Fullagar van die Australian Museum in Sydney en Lesley Head en David Price van die School of Geosciences aan die Universiteit van Wollongong-het termoluminescentiedatering gebruik om die ouderdom van sy laer vlakke te bepaal. Daar word beweer dat die onderste steen -artefakte meer as 116 000 jaar oud is. Omdat die Jinmium-datums van termoluminescentie afkomstig is eerder as van die meer akkurate enkelkorrelige optiese luminescentie, bevraagteken baie argeoloë hierdie bewering, en is verifikasie noodsaaklik. Konvensionele wysheid het altyd geglo dat die eerste mense wat Australië bereik het, modern was Homo sapiens, maar as die Jinmium -datums korrek is, kan dit wees dat meer argaïese vorme eens in Australië gewoon het, soos in die res van die tropiese en gematigde Ou Wêreld. Op Java dui nuwe datums van die Ngandong- en Sambungmacan -webwerwe daarop aan Homo erectus het moontlik baie langer oorleef as wat voorheen geglo is, miskien tot so onlangs as 25 000 jaar gelede (sien "Homo erectus Oorlewing ").

Elders in die Suidoos -Asiatiese eilandgebied kom nuwe bewyse vir vroeë reise uit argeologiese projekte wat in die Molukken, Noord -Borneo en Bali onderneem is. In die noordelike Molukka, tussen Sulawesi en Nieu -Guinee, het mense 33 000 radiokoolstofjare gelede die kusgrotte van Golo en Wetef op die Gebe -eiland besoek. Grotte en oop plekke aan die kusgebiede Sulawesi, aan die noordelike kus van Nieu -Guinee, die Bismarck -argipel en die noordelike Solomons (suidoos van Nieu -Guinee) het reeds soortgelyke datums opgelewer. Op die oomblik lyk dit asof mense baie beweeglik was, en slegs spaar besetting nagelaat het (hoofsaaklik gevlekte klipgereedskap en mariene skulpe) en nie veel handel in grondstowwe, soos klip vir die vervaardiging van gereedskap nie. Baie van die eilande in hierdie tyd, veral in die Molukken en die eiland Melanesië (die Solomons, Vanuatu en Nieu -Caledonië), het moontlik so beperkte landfauna's gehad dat hulle nie in staat was om groot permanente bevolkings te onderhou nie. Diegene wat Nieu -Guinee en Australië bereik het, waarna hulle deur 'n landbrug aangesluit het, sou moontlik 'n beter lewe gevind het, wat nou uitgestorwe spesies van groot buideldiere en voëllose voëls kon jag. Huidige navorsing op die terrein van Cuddie Springs naby Brewarrina in die weste van Nieu -Suid -Wallis toon ongeveer 30.000 jaar gelede die tydgenote van mense en megafauna op die Australiese kontinent.

Tussen 20 000 en 10 000 jaar gelede dui die Molukse en eiland Melanesiese argeologiese rekords op groter kontak en innovasie. Obsidian van New Britain is na Nieu -Ierland vervoer (maar blykbaar nie so ver as die Molukken nie) moontlik 20 000 tot 15 000 jaar gelede. Marsupials is doelbewus deur mense uit Nieu -Guinee en miskien Halmahera geneem om klein eilande op te vang, vermoedelik vir jagdoeleindes. Cuscuses (nagtelike katagtige wesens) is na Nieu -Ierland geneem, en teen 10 000 jaar gelede verskyn beide cuscuses en wallabies op Gebe. Die mense van Gebe het ook klein sirkelvormige rangskikkings van koraalblokke gebou, te klein om as hutfondamente te funksioneer, op die vloer van Golo Cave ca. 12 000 jaar gelede. Hulle het moontlik 'n rituele funksie vervul. Verskeie plekke in die noordelike Molukken, Talaud en Admiraliteits -eilande het 'n unieke en taamlik indrukwekkende industrie van adzes wat gemaak is van skulpe van groot Tridacna en Seekoei mossels op ongeveer dieselfde datum. Hierdie aanbevelings dui daarop dat die vervaardiging van uitgeholde kano's tegnies teen 13 000 jaar gelede moontlik was, alhoewel die vroegste koloniste van hierdie eilande waarskynlik klein vlotte geroei het. Wat ook al hul ambag, die omvang en herhaling van die vroegste kolonisasies-tot so ver oos as die Salomonseilande deur baie eilandhoppe teen 30 000 jaar gelede-maak 'n mate van opsetlikheid onmiskenbaar.

Baie millennia later was die Indo-Maleisiese streek weer aanskoulik vir merkwaardige oordragte van mense en materiële kultuur. Drie duisend jaar gelede het Neolitiese mense New -obsidiaan oor 2 400 myl verruil na die perseel van Bukit Tengkorak in Sabah, in die noorde van Borneo. Die Lapita -mense het dit 2 100 myl ooswaarts van New Britain tot in Fidji verplaas. 'N Nuwe verslag in die joernaal Wetenskap beweer dat die obsidiaan uit New Britain, opgegrawe deur die argeoloog Stephen Chia van Universiti Sains Malaysia en ontleed deur die antropoloog Robert Tykot van die Universiteit van Suid -Florida, Bukit Tengkorak baie vroeër bereik het, teen 4000 v.C. Geen besonderhede van die datering word egter verskaf nie, en die eis bly ongegrond. Tydens die oorspronklike opgrawing van hierdie webwerf, alleen in 1987, het ons 'n goeie reeks radiokoolstofdatums en obsidiaan herwin, geïdentifiseer deur Roger Bird van die Australian Nuclear Sciences and Technology Organization as afkomstig uit New Britain. Destyds het ons tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die obsidiaan van Bukit Tengkorak nie meer as 1000 v.C. en was kontemporêr met die Lapita -argeologiese kultuur van die westelike Stille Oseaan (ongeveer 1500 tot 300 v.C.).

Wat Lapita betref, is my eie siening en die mening van baie ander argeoloë, waaronder Patrick Kirch van die Universiteit van Kalifornië in Berkeley, dat die Lapita-kultuur die Austronesiesprekende neolitiese bevolkings verteenwoordig wat Oseanië gekoloniseer het (Melanesië, Mikronesië en Polinesië) ) begin ca. 1500 v.C. Hierdie mense was voorouers van die moderne Polynesiërs en die oostelike Mikronesiërs, en ook voorouers, in mindere mate vanweë die vroeë bestaan ​​van menslike bevolkings in die westelike Stille Oseaan, vir baie van die bevolkings van die eiland Melanesië. In hierdie siening verteenwoordig Lapita 'n oordrag van mense en Austronesiese tale en kulture na Oseanië vanaf die eiland Suidoos -Asië, en uiteindelik uit die suide van China en Taiwan. Dit is belangrik dat die obsidiaanse handel in New Britain, hoewel dit plaaslik in die Pleistoseen in die Bismarck-argipel plaasgevind het, sy langafstand-apogee in Lapita-tye bereik het.

Teenkanting van hierdie siening van die oorsprong van Lapita kom van John Terrell van die Field Museum of Natural History, wat meen dat hy bewyse gevind het dat baie kulturele kenmerke wat verband hou met Lapita moontlik aan die noordelike kus van Papoea -Nieu -Guinee ontwikkel het en nie in Suidoos -Asië nie. Op plekke naby die stad Aitape het hy aardewerk gevind, wat tot dusver nog nie presies gedateer is nie, wat soos Lapita lyk, maar nie 'n uitgebreide indruk het nie. Volgens Terrell lyk dit ook aan erdewerk wat in Indonesië gemaak is op ongeveer dieselfde tyd as Lapita, en miskien selfs effens vroeër. Terrell glo dat die Polinesiese voorouers nie direk uit Suidoos -Asië getrek het nie, maar baie lank in Noord -Nieu -Guinee gewoon het voordat sommige mense uiteindelik uit Melanesië vertrek het om Polinesië te koloniseer. Argeoloë soos ek, wat navorsing gedoen het in beide Suidoos -Oos -Asië en Polinesië, kan egter hierdie mening moeilik aanvaar en sal beslis die akkurate datering van die nuwe materiaal van Aitape eis voordat hulle ernstig aandag daaraan gee.

Ons het ook dramatiese nuwe bewyse van vaarvermoë in die vroeë historiese tydperk in Suidoos -Asië, in hierdie geval moontlik die gebruik van die moessonwinde wat seisoenaal oor die Baai van Bengale waai. Ongeveer 2 000 jaar gelede het pottebakkery kenmerkend van die Indo-Romeinse terrein van Arikamedu in Tamil Nadu, aan die Indiese kus, sy weg gevind na die terrein van Sembiran in Bali (opgegrawe deur IW Ardika van die Udayana Universiteit in Bali), 'n verstommende 2700 myl soos die kraai vlieg, of veel meer as die matrose die kus omhels. Hierdie Indiese handelsware-die grootste versameling wat nog ooit buite die Indiese subkontinent gevind is-het 'n duisendjarige kultuurkontak ingelui wat aanleiding gegee het tot die tempels en beskawings van Pagan, Angkor en Borobudur. Baie van hierdie handel het waarskynlik speserye behels-selfs Romeine het af en toe naeltjies gekry, afkomstig van klein eilande in die noordelike Molukken.

Toekomstige navorsing, as sommige van die bogenoemde bewerings die status wil verkry, moet 'n meer deeglike datering en meer noukeurige aandag gee aan die stratigrafiese slaggate waarin 'n mens kan val, beide in grotte en op oop terreine. Skynbare assosiasies tussen artefakte, dateerbare materiale en geomorfologiese kontekste kan dikwels misleidend wees. Verder is al die kusgebiede wat direkte spore van kolonisasie van Pleistoseen kan bevat, oorstroom deur 'n styging in die seevlak van 325 voet of meer na die laaste gletsermaksimum. Al wat ons nou sien, is die binnelandse geografiese skelet van die voormalige landskap. Onderwaterargeologie kan eendag tot die redding kom, maar tot dusver blyk historiese wrakke aantrekliker en winsgewender te wees as gesinkte Pleistoseen -terreine.

Peter Bellwood is 'n professor in die departement van argeologie en antropologie, Australian National University. Sy navorsing in die Molukken is ondersteun deur toelaes van die National Geographic Society en die Australian Research Council. 'N Hersiene uitgawe van hom Voorgeskiedenis van die Indo-Maleisiese argipel word vanjaar deur die University of Hawai'i Press gepubliseer.


Die genus is in 1886 opgerig op grond van oorblyfsels op Lord Howe Island, wat Richard Owen aan die twee spesies toegewys het.M. platyceps en  M. mineur  (nou 'n sinoniem van laasgenoemde).  Dit was die eerste goeie  meiolaniid  , en is gebruik om aan te toon dat die eerste bekende oorblyfsels van 'n verwante dier, 'n spesie uit   Queensland  , nou bekend as  Ninjemys oweni  (wat toegewys is aan  Meiolania  tot 1992), het nie aan akkedisse behoort soos aanvanklik gedink is nie, maar aan skilpaaie. Woodward sak  Niolamia argentina in  Meiolania, maar dit is nie deur latere skrywers aanvaar nie.

In Nieu -Caledonië,  M. mackayi  is beskryf uit  Walpole Island  in 1925. Dit was kleiner en minder robuust as  M. platycepsMeiolania  oorblyfsels is ook bekend uit die  Pindai -grotte,  Grande Terre, en vanaf  Tiga -eiland.

M. brevicollis  is in 1992 beskryf vanaf die middel   Mioseen   Camfield Beddens   van   Noord -Australië, en verskil van  M. platyceps160in met 'n platter skedel en ander horingverhoudings.

Oorblyfsels van  M. damelipi  is gevind op die eiland  Efate  in  Vanuatu, wat verband hou met nedersettings uit die  Lapita   kultuur.

Moontlike meiolaniid -oorskot is ook gevind op  Viti Levu,   Fiji.


Kenmerke van Aboriginal Art

Australiese inheemse kuns omvat figuurskildery, sowel as vorme van abstrakte kuns. Kenmerkend van die Northern Territory is die sogenaamde “X-ray ” tekeninge – 'n spesiale verskeidenheid stokfigure van diere en mense, waarin die kunstenaar die binneste dele van die liggaam verteenwoordig omdat hy weet dat hulle daar is , en is veral geïnteresseerd in hulle.

Dieselfde styl kom voor in die oseaniese kuns van Melanesië, en die Australiese voorbeelde is moontlik te wyte aan die Melanesiese invloed. Maar X-straaltekeninge word ook aan die ander kant van die Stille Oseaan gesien, onder die Indiane van British Columbia en sommige van die Eskimo-stamme van Alaska.

Aboriginale abstrakte skilderye kan 'n verskeidenheid konsentriese sirkels, boë, kolletjies en ander piktogramme insluit wat bedoel is om inligting oor te dra.

Kennis van die inheemse kultuur is 'n belangrike faktor om te verstaan ​​of 'n kunswerk abstrak of verteenwoordigend is. Byvoorbeeld, 'n aantal ronde ontwerpe van ongeveer 'n sentimeter in deursnee wat studente sonder sulke kennis sou kon neem vir eenvoudige motiewe van nie-objektiewe kuns, is deur historici vasgestel om 'n groen pruimagtige vrug voor te stel, genaamd nalge. Die gereelde voorraad van hierdie vrug word gehandhaaf deur voorstellings daarvan op rotse gedurende die nat seisoen te skilder.

Die betekenis van simbole wat in die kuns van die Aboriginale Steentydperk gebruik word, kan wissel van plek tot gebied. 'N Eenvoudige sirkel kan byvoorbeeld 'n kampvuur, boom, watergat of heuwel aandui, volgens watter Aboriginale stam u behoort. Let ook daarop dat baie prehistoriese beelde in Australië, of dit naturalisties of abstrak is, gebaseer is op die oorspronklike kulturele konsep van Droom tyd. Trouens, die meeste tradisionele Aboriginale kuns bevat 'n soort mitologiese of geestelike inhoud.


Resultate en bespreking

Die meiolaniid-bene wat hier gerapporteer word, kom van die voormalige kus Lapita-begraafplaas en die middelste terrein by Teouma op die eiland Efate, Vanuatu (14) (Fig. S1). Mense uit die Lapita -kultuur was die eerste mense wat die Vanuatu/Nieu -Caledonië/Fidji -gebied in die suidweste van die Stille Oseaan 3 100 tot 3 000 jaar gelede gekoloniseer het (15-17). Die skilpadoorblyfsels wat hier gerapporteer is, is gedurende 2004 tot 2006 uit twee van die huidige skrywers (MS en S.B.) van 275 m 2 van die kulturele afsettings opgegrawe (SI teks). Die terrein is goed gestratifiseer, soos getoon in Fig. 2, met bene van meiolaniide wat oorvloedig is en beperk is tot die begraafplaasvlakke en basale lae van die latere middelste afsettings (laag 2).

Suidelike gedeelte van Teouma -opgrawing aan die agterkant van die rifterras (2009) wat die duidelik gestratifiseerde afsettings toon. L1 dui die swart tephra-ryk grond aan, L2 dui die gekonsentreerde middelafsetting aan, L3 dui die geel tephra aan, en L4 dui die verhoogde rif aan.

Die terrein het begin as 'n begraafplaas, die oudste wat nog op die Stille Oseaan -eilande gevind is, ongeveer 3 100 of 3 000 gekalibreerde jare voor die hede (cal BP) (14). Na 'n daaropvolgende tydperk van slegs kortstondige besoek aan die terrein, het 'n dorpie daar ongeveer 2 900 cal BP gevestig. Hierdie volgorde word ondersteun deur radiokoolstofdatering van dop-, been- en houtskoolmonsters van gepaardgaande menslike begrafnisse en middelmateriaal (14,18) (SI Teks).

Die ouderdomme van die skilpadbene word beperk deur hierdie argeologiese volgorde. Twee versneller MS radiokoolstof dateer op kollageen uit meiolaniidbene uit die basale vlakke van laag 2, gekalibreer tot 2 890 tot 2 760 cal BP teen 94,3% waarskynlikheid (SI teks), ondersteun hierdie afleiding. Die gepaardgaande δ 13 C waardes (−25.4, −23.1) stem ooreen met 'n terrestriese plantetende dieet vir hierdie skilpaaie. Die middelste afsettings in sommige gebiede is meer as 1 m dik, maar skilpadbene is slegs in die laagste vlakke in situ gevind. Die boonste deel van die middel kan nie later as 2500 cal BP dateer nie, op grond van pottebakkertipologie, wat goed gedateer is op ander Efate -terreine (19).

Tien eksemplare is geïdentifiseer as mariene skilpaaie, maar word nie hierna bespreek nie. Die meerderheid behoort aan 'n relatief groot terrestriese skilpad soos getoon deur byvoorbeeld humeri en femora van soortgelyke lengte, proximale en distale ente uitgebrei, en skagte merkbaar sigmoïdale borsgordel met 'n hoek tussen die dorsale skapulêre proses en acromion wat aansienlik wyer is as die benaderde 90 ° waargeneem in seeskilpaaie korakoïede kort, waaiervormige stertvlakke kort en robuust en jongmense robuust en effens herhaal (Fig. 2 en 3). Die materiaal bevat 405 bene en talle onbepaalde fragmente van been/romp wat aan meiolaniïede toegeskryf word. Identifiseerbare monsters is hoofsaaklik ledemaatbene van ten minste 30 individue (tabel 1), met kraniale en stertelemente afwesig en dopstukke skraal en fragmentêr. Baie van die bene is gebreek en die epifise het dikwels verlore gegaan. Hulle word geïdentifiseer as meiolaniid deur die volgende apomorfieë (4, 5): (ek) humerus met ectepicondylar foramen wat as 'n groef dorsaal begin, maar distaal die kondyle binnedring om ventraal oop te gaan (ii) ulna met 'n duidelike rant dorsoproksimaal, wat distaal van die artikulêre faset strek en 'n plat radioulêre artikulasie vorm (medial)iii) syfers met twee phalanges en 'n robuuste ungual (iv) dopfragmente wat relatief dun is en putte en groewe dra sonder 'n gereelde patroon op hul buitenste oppervlak en (v) teenwoordigheid van dermale wapenrusting op die doprand.

Borselemente van?M. damelipi. (AD) Regte humeri, Holotype AMF136641 (A) en AMF136640 (BD), in (A en B) dorsaal, (C) stert, en (D) ventrale aspekte. (E, Ek, en J) Linker ulnae, AMF136648 (E en J) en die proximale helfte van AMF.136647 (Ek) in (E) mediale en (Ek en J) dorsale aspek. (F en G) linker scapula AMF136644 in (F) ventrale en (G) syaansig. (H) Regs korakoïde AMF136652 in dorsale aspek. ca. radiaal-ulnar artikulasie r, rant wat grens vorm van dorsaal-mediale grens lae sig, sigmoïde inkeping.) *Oppervlakte is plat, nie 'n diep sulkus soos in M. platyceps. Sien SI Teks vir verwante data. (Skaalstawe, 50 mm.)

Elementfrekwensie van meiolaniid -oorblyfsels van die opgrawings van 2004 tot 2006 in Teouma, Efate, Vanuatu

Die Vanuatu meiolaniid verskil van alle genoemde Pleistocene meiolaniids, so hier rig ons 'n nuwe takson daarvoor op.

Sistematiese paleontologie.

Meiolaniidae Boulenger, 1887?Meiolania Owen, 1886 (20) en?Meiolania damelipi sp. nov.

Holotipe is AMF136641, regter humerus, versamelde laag 2, eenheid 3.3–3.4, gebied 3B, Teouma Lapita -terrein, Efate, Vanuatu, 2006 (fig. 3). Etimologie is vir Willie Damelip, oorspronklik van Ambrym Island (SI Teks). Diagnose is 'n meiolaniïed wat verskil van ander Pleistoseen -spesies met 'n meer grasieuse langbeen skouergordel met 'n korakoïede, onontwikkelde dorsale en akromionprosesse wat by ongeveer 105 ° klein is en groot femorale trochanters ventraal omhul 'n diep intertrochanteriese fossa wat baie kleiner is as Ninjemys oweni. Metings van holotipe is soos volg: totale lengte, maksimum proximale breedte van 95 mm, minimum aswydte van 39 mm, 15 mm en maksimum distale breedte, 35 mm. Paratipes is alle elemente wat in Fig. 3 en 4 metings word in tabel 2 verskaf.

Bekken- en skedelelemente van?M. damelipi. (A) Linker femur AMF136642 in stertaansig (B en C) Regter tibia AMF136651 in (B) ventrale en (C) dorsale aansig. (D en E) Dermale wapenrusting van die romp in die stert (D) en ventrale (E) aansigte van AMF136646. (F) Randfragment van die ruit met geut AMF136649. (G en H) Ongeskikte phal AMF136664 in (G) ventrale en (H) dorsale aspekte. (pat, patellêre peesbevestiging nie verhoog in rif tm, trochanter major tub, tuberositeit.) Sien SI Teks vir verwante data. (Skaalstawe, 50 mm in AF, 10 mm in G en H..)

Metings (mm) van die Holotype (AMF.136641) en die paratipes van?M. damelipi n. sp

Gegewe die afwesigheid van die diagnostiese materiaal van die skedel en die stert, en die minimale perifere materiaal van die romp of plastron, verwys ons slegs voorlopig na hierdie nuwe spesie na Meiolania. Op biogeografiese en tydelike gronde beskou ons dit as onwaarskynlik dat die insulêre?M. damelipi was spesifiek vir die Mioseen -taksa wat uit Australië beskryf is (SI Teks en tabel S1). Of dit verskil van ander naamlose taxa uit die Nieu -Caledoniese streek, kan nie uit die beskikbare materiaal vasgestel word nie. Die behoue ​​elemente maak aansienlike vergelyking met M. platyceps materiaal in die Australiese museum, beskryf deur Gaffney (5).

Humeri (Fig. 3 AD) het minder uitgebreide eindpunte as in M. platyceps. Geskatte lengtes wissel van 40 tot 140 mm, met 'n maksimum asdiameter van 30 mm. Soos in M. platyceps, die proksimale artikulêre oppervlak is hemisferies en word dorsaal van die as afgeskakel, die mediale proses is groter as die laterale, en die proximale breedte is groter as die distale breedte. Die ectepicondylar foramen begin as 'n duidelike groef, wyer as in M. platyceps, op die dorsale gesigte van die skag, voordat dit die ectepicondyle binnedring om ventraal oop te maak. Humeri verskil van M. platyceps en M. mackayi (11) met 'n minder uitgebreide laterale proses en 'n meer proximaal projekteerbare mediale proses.

Ulnae (Fig. 3 E, Ek, en J), soos in M. platyceps, het 'n uiters goed ontwikkelde olikranproses en 'n sigmoïede inkeping, en 'n goed gedefinieerde radioulêre artikulasie (5). Radius is langer en die ruggraat vir biceps superficialis op die as is kleiner as in M. platyceps.

Die skouergordel (Fig. 3 FH) is triradiate: soos in M. platycepsword die glenoïed nie deur 'n nek ondersteun nie; die goed ontwikkelde dorsale en akromionprosesse verskil by ongeveer 105 ° in vergelyking met 120 ° in M. platyceps en ander terrestriële skilpaaie (5) die korakoïed (Fig. 3H.), anders as M. platyceps, is nie saamgesmelt met die glenoïde nie en is meer verleng. 'N Wye kophoek word gewoonlik gekorreleer met 'n hoë liggaamsprofiel (5) wat daarop dui?M. damelipi het 'n lae liggaamsprofiel, iets meer soos seeskilpaaie.

Femora (Fig. 4A) is stewig en wissel van 45 tot 145 mm in aslengte, die kop is groot en halfrond, breër as lank en meer dorsaal op die as gerig as in M. platyceps, sodat dit nie proximaal verby die trochanter majeur uitsteek nie. Die klein en groot trochanters verskil van die femorale kop, maar anders as M. platyceps, het 'n soortgelyke proximale omvang en word ventraal verbind deur 'n benige web om 'n diep intertrochanteriese fossa te sluit.

Enkel-, pols- en syferelemente is ongewoon, maar die paar jongmense is stomp, dorsoventraal dik en buikvlakkig plat soos in M. platyceps (Fig. 4 G en H.).

Skulpfragmente van?M. damelipi is soortgelyk aan dié van meiolaniïede met 'n dun, digte buitenste beenlaag en 'n fyn kansvormige interne struktuur, maar verskil met 'n gladder eksterne tekstuur, en ten minste 'n deel van die rand van die karapace is dorsaal hol. Dermale wapenrusting was teenwoordig op die romp (Fig D en E).

Die grootte van?M. damelipi kan vergelyk word met dié van M. platyceps van die afmetings van die lang bene. Femora en humeri was onderskeidelik so lank as 145 mm en 140 mm, soortgelyk aan dié in AMF57984 met 'n skulplengte van 1 m. Groter skilpaaie was egter aanwesig, aangesien een deel van die skouergordel 'n glenoïedholte met 'n deursnee van 40 mm behou in vergelyking met 30 mm in AMF57984.

Hierdie data toon dat die meiolaniïde bestraling in die suidwestelike Stille Oseaan meer omvattend was as wat voorheen erken is (5). Verspreiding na en tussen eilande van hierdie streek sou maklik deur meiolaniïede bereik kon word. Aardse skilpaaie is hoogs lewendig (21) en sommige, bv. Dipsochelys giganteusDit is bekend dat hulle vir baie weke in die oseane oorleef het sonder toegang tot vars water (22). Alhoewel hulle nie in staat is om gerig te swem nie, is hulle dus die ideale kandidate vir die dryf van die see, wat die verspreiding van die bestaande aardse skilpaaie in die Indiese Oseaan verduidelik (22, 23). Daar is niks uniek aan Vanuatu om te verduidelik waarom meiolaniïede daar oorleef het tot met die koms van mense nie, maar dit nie in ander eilandgroepe, soos Fidji en Nieu -Caledonië, kon doen nie. In die Lord Howe-groep het die styging in die seevlak na die ystyd aansienlik verminder, wat by gebrek aan bewyse van pre-Europese besetting (24) die uitwissing van M. platyceps. For archipelagoes that retained islands of significant size in the Holocene, this cannot be the explanation. A poor or absent fossil record for most islands is the probable reason for a lack of other Holocene meiolaniids so discovery of further populations or taxa should be expected on other southwest Pacific islands where adequate habitat existed. Investigations of first contact human southwest Pacific sites will likely extend the record, and reexamination of bones previously interpreted as marine turtle might reveal that some are in fact those of terrestrial turtles.

The discovery of meiolaniid remains at Teouma provides conclusive evidence that they survived into the late Holocene and that humans encountered them. Relatively large numbers of meiolaniid bones occur, particularly in the basal levels of the Teouma midden, dating to approximately 2,900 or 2,800 cal BP, where they overlay burials dated 3,100 to 3,000 cal BP (14). Some burials were associated with meiolaniid carapace fragments (SI Text). In younger layers, they are absent. Remarkably for a Pacific coastal site, bones of marine turtles are rare in the lower layers. Early colonizers of the western Pacific normally hunted sea turtles and impacted many populations (25). At Teouma, large comparatively heavy bodied and fleshy terrestrial turtles were available and were the preferred prey until their disappearance by approximately 300 y after the initial encounter. Skeletal representation (Table 1) is markedly biased toward legs and associated fleshy parts. We infer that most turtles were killed and butchered elsewhere with mainly the fleshy upper limbs being taken back to the village. It seems probable that the first colonists, who created the cemetery at Teouma, and whose habitation sites have not yet been found, had eliminated proximate populations of turtles.

Hunting undoubtedly contributed to the extinction of ?M. damelipi, but may not have been the only cause. In the Mascarenes (Indian Ocean), where Europeans were the first humans to encounter the terrestrial turtles on Mauritius and Rodrigues, and initial densities were high, intensive exploitation for food rendered all populations extinct in a little more than one century (22). This rapid extirpation of turtles was partly attributed to the introduction of pigs, which prey on young and eggs. Similarly, pigs introduced by Lapita people may have affected the survivorship of Vanuatu meiolaniids. Whatever the exact synergy of factors, meiolaniids were extinct on Efate in Vanuatu within 300 y of the arrival of Lapita people.


4. Quagga


Out of Africa comes this half horse half zebra. You could tell it apart from regular zebras because it had vivid stripes on the front part of the body, then they started to fade, and there were no stripes on the hindquarters. They became extinct before scientists could even decide what species they were. Their extinction came from man hunting them for their meat, hides, and to preserve grass and feed for domestic animals.


Pindai Caves, Once Home to the Lapita People and Extinct Species - History

Ideal conditions within an ancient cave system are revealing a rich history that reaches back to a time before humans settled the island and extends to the present day

Some six million years ago, in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, volcanic activity bubbling up from deep beneath the Earth&rsquos crust formed Kauai, the most ancient of Hawaii&rsquos major islands. Over time, volcanoes dotting the island spewed magma that cooled and turned to igneous rock, forming steep mountains. Rainwater flowed down the mountains, and, as that runoff reached the Mahaulepu Valley on the island&rsquos southeast coast, it encountered fossilized sand dunes, where, through a process called dissolution, a network of caves was formed.

For more than 100,000 years, groundwater seeped in and eroded the limestone. Some 7,000 years ago, the sea encroached and a large portion of the ceiling of one of these caves collapsed, leaving behind a vast oval, mostly open to the sky and filled with brackish water that didn&rsquot dry up until the middle of the twentieth century. It also created what would turn out to be a unique and fortuitous set of conditions that preserved a long, dramatic story of geological change and biological invasions, and of the waves of humans that successively altered the island in radical ways. Paleoecologists and archaeologists working there, surrounded by the high, ancient limestone walls, are beginning to read that record.

Wedged in a crease of hills just above a long white-sand beach favored by sailboarders, the sinkhole sits in a setting so picturesque that Johnny Depp&rsquos Captain Jack Sparrow leaped off the lip of one of its high cliffs in the recent Pirates of the Caribbean Fliek On Stranger Tides. There, everything from a 352,000-year-old lava flow to a Styrofoam cup washed in during a recent hurricane has been preserved. For the past quarter century, husband-and-wife paleoecologists David Burney and Lida Pigott Burney, along with dozens of colleagues and volunteers, have been digging down through the black mud that fills the sinkhole. There they have uncovered millions of fossils&mdashin fact, the site, referred to as Makauwahi Cave, may be the richest fossil site in the entire Pacific region. The upper levels contain thousands of artifacts, ranging from animal bones to stone tools and carved wood, all of which were washed, blown, or thrown into the cave. But despite the richness of the site in terms of the evidence, Burney doesn&rsquot need expensive drilling equipment or a massive dig project to plumb the site&rsquos secrets. &ldquoIt&rsquos the poor man&rsquos time machine,&rdquo he says. Small trowels, a very good water pump to keep groundwater under control, and wood-framed screens, along with a great deal of tenacity, are all that&rsquos required.

On a recent winter day, Burney is shin-deep in the tar-black ooze at the bottom of one of the excavation pits. He typically locates them at the periphery of the sinkhole, against the cave&rsquos walls, where the stratigraphy is clearer. He motions to me to clamber down a 20-foot aluminum ladder and gives me a history lesson as I descend. After the first few rungs, I leave behind the period after Captain James Cook landed on Kauai in January 1778, the first European known to have visited Hawaii. Plastic, glass, and metal artifacts abruptly cease and are replaced by giant boulders, gravel, and sand in the level below, dated to about four or five centuries ago, unmistakable signs of an enormous tsunami which Burney and his colleagues believe originated from a massive earthquake in the eastern Aleutian Islands. This event, no doubt a catastrophe for the people living on the Kauai coast, deposited a great deal of debris and sealed off the prehistoric layers deposited in the cave from those of the later era of Western contact, leaving the material below undisturbed and uncontaminated.

Natives and tourists had long known about Makauwahi Cave, but it was Burney who, in August 1992, first grasped its significance for understanding Hawaii&rsquos long and varied history, when he, Lida, and researchers Storrs Olson and Helen James from the Smithsonian Institution stumbled on the site while on vacation. At the time, the Burneys were at New York&rsquos Fordham University and had a keen interest in ecological history and paleontology. One afternoon, while walking on a nearby beach, Burney spotted fresh footprints that appeared to lead into the brush. Curious but cautious, he followed the prints to a small hole at the foot of a cliff, just big enough to crawl through. Inside, he found himself within a giant oval bowl, but he couldn&rsquot see much else through the dense growth and the afternoon&rsquos lengthening shadows.

The next morning, before the sun had reached the interior, the two couples were back with a bucket augur, a small hand-powered drill that can pull material up from below ground, making only a small puncture in the surface, not greatly disturbing the site. The first bore went down 10 feet, and Burney found three species of extinct land snails, important indicators of ancient environmental conditions. In the second sample was a small bird skull. &ldquoIf you got that much good stuff by drilling two small holes, then I couldn&rsquot imagine what was waiting,&rdquo he says. &ldquoI&rsquove spent much of my life looking for two things&mdashlakes and caves that have fossils in them,&rdquo says the peripatetic scientist, who had flitted in this pursuit from the North Carolina sounds to the Serengeti plains to the jungles of Madagascar before moving to Kauai to devote himself to studying Makauwahi Cave. &ldquoIf you can find a lake inside a cave, it&rsquos more than twice as good because you get the benefit of both types of fossil-forming environments.&rdquo

At Makauwahi, the conditions are remarkable. The alkaline limestone and the acidic groundwater cancel each other out and create the perfect neutral pH. &ldquoThis is the Goldilocks zone&mdashjust right,&rdquo he says. &ldquoEverything in here is preserved. It&rsquos like pages in a diary. And this process has been operating for thousands of years.&rdquo An acidic environment would have destroyed bones, while an alkaline environment would have destroyed plant fossils. But here, not just animal fossils, but also shells, seeds, leaves, and wood, as well as billions of microscopic algae, pollen, and spores are embedded in the layers that extend as far as 33 feet deep to the sinkhole&rsquos floor.

Since they settled there permanently to devote themselves to studying the cave full-time 10 years ago, the Burneys, along with their team, have been working almost year-round to clear the thick tangle of foliage inside the sinkhole and dig small but deep trenches. Each bucket of mud must be hauled by hand up a ladder while a loud water pump keeps the hole from filling up. Once up top, the mud is washed through mesh screens using garden hoses, and the remains are collected for cataloguing and analysis. In the topmost layers, which go down a few feet, the team retrieved eight-track tapes and Polaroid film packs, a bottle that might have contained the opiate laudanum, perhaps used by Chinese workers who snuck into the cave a century ago, and a coin dated to 1895. Below that, the team found a piece of glass and an iron nail, possibly bartered from the crew of a passing clipper ship on its way to or returning from China, probably in the mid-nineteenth century.

Artifacts of the more recent past found in Makauwahi Cave are abundant. But the finds that are proving to be the most exciting are those that reveal the impact the first people to settle in Hawaii had on its ancient environment. Hawaii is one of the last places on Earth to have been settled by humans. Thousands of years after people had made their homes on the tip of South America, the heights of the Tibetan plateau, and even the icy edges of Greenland, no human had yet set foot on this volcanic archipelago. When people pulled double-hulled canoes onto Hawaiian shores for the first time, it marked one of our species&rsquo greatest triumphs of exploration. Yet, until recently, archaeologists have been unsure how and when this feat took place.

The ancestors of today&rsquos Polynesians, who settled most of the Pacific, including Hawaii, were part of what is called the Lapita culture. They fanned out from East Asia more than 3,000 years ago, but questions about their origins and route remain. Archaeologists have found hundreds of sites across the western Pacific littered with artifacts such as stone axes and organic remains that suggest the island-hopping seafarers traveled great distances with goods, plants, and animals from the large islands along the coast of China and Southeast Asia. This collection of materials, dubbed the Lapita package, made colonization possible. &ldquoBut we don&rsquot know where the package comes together,&rdquo says Alan Cooper, an archaeologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

By about 1000 B.C., these people had moved east as far as Samoa and can be identified as early Polynesians. The vast distances required to reach the islands beyond, such as the Society Islands&mdashanother 1,500 miles across open ocean&mdashhalted further successful migration for nearly 2,000 more years. Then the Polynesians were suddenly on the move again, though it&rsquos not clear why, into the central and eastern Pacific, an area as big as North America. They eventually landed on the Hawaiian islands, possibly first on Kauai, not far from Makauwahi Cave.

The timing of these voyages has been hotly debated, largely because archaeological evidence is difficult to recover under the destructive conditions created by the warm and wet climate that dominates the scattered islands of the Pacific, and because of the prevalence of acidic volcanic soils. These two factors wreak havoc on organic material such as the wood, plant remains, and animal bones that can provide firm dates through radiocarbon dating. &ldquoThere aren&rsquot enough bones,&rdquo explains Cooper, &ldquobecause the preservation is a mess. The Pacific is a hard place to work.&rdquo And the ancient seafarers didn&rsquot leave behind texts or inscriptions. But, unlike at many other sites, the conditions inside Makauwahi Cave have preserved a great deal of evidence. &ldquoIt&rsquos a really fantastic snapshot of the environment just before and after humans arrive,&rdquo says Terry Hunt, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon. &ldquoI can&rsquot think of a single site that has yielded as much information about Polynesia in this period.&rdquo

Some of the most prized discoveries in the cave are found below the 400-year-old tsunami layer that Burney believes was deposited in less than an hour. They are the tiny and fragile remnants of ancient fowl. &ldquoThis is where the chicken bones are,&rdquo he says when I am halfway down the ladder, pointing at a dark layer of earth several feet below the tsunami layer. &ldquoWe can be pretty sure they are not mixed with modern stuff. There is no KFC chicken in here at all.&rdquo

When Polynesians set out for new places, chickens were an essential part of the settlement package, providing not just meat and eggs and entertainment&mdashcockfighting is still popular across the region&mdashbut also bones that could be made into tattooing or sewing needles or musical instruments. Polynesians sometimes left dogs or pigs behind, but they invariably carried chickens to their new destinations. Since domesticated chickens are not native to the Pacific Islands, the presence of chicken bones is a clear marker of human activity, and following the movement of chickens provides a handy way to track the spread of settlement across Polynesia. Realizing this, Burney bagged the chicken remains he discovered and sent them to Cooper&rsquos lab. When compared with the DNA from other samples around Polynesia, researchers found that a distinct set of genes characterized the ancient chickens. The resulting DNA map reveals two distinct waves of exploration, one moving northeast toward Micronesia, and the other moving east to Samoa and Hawaii. Rats traveled extensively with Polynesians as well, but they could hop boats back and forth to different islands, making them difficult to track, says Cooper. Pigs and dogs, apparently, did not make it to some outposts, such as Easter Island.

The mud of Makauwahi Cave has also preserved the residue of charcoal that blew into the cave and settled into the muck. Radiocarbon dating of the samples suggests that charcoal is a rare occurrence until A.D. 1200. Its sudden appearance is another marker for human occupation and activity as people began to burn off foliage to plant taro and other staples. Cores taken from ancient stone-lined fishponds on the island produced charcoal that provides comparable dates, clear signs and possible confirmation that humans arrived a good deal later&mdashas much as 800 years later&mdashthan many historians had thought. In the same levels as the chicken bones, the Burneys discovered large quantities of fishhooks made from bone and mother-of-pearl and the shells of 16 different kinds of mollusks. These artifacts are evidence of the earliest stages of ancient Hawaiian culture.

Burning was only one way in which the new settlers transformed Kauai&rsquos landscape. Along with the rats, insects, such as ants, stowed away on their canoes. The combination of human activity and changes wrought by the animals and plants they brought makes it difficult to imagine the island&rsquos environment as it existed before people arrived, but the cave is providing proof that it was once radically different. Standing almost at the bottom of the ladder, Burney says that bones, seeds, and other organic material embedded in the mud around us are below the level of the Polynesians&rsquo appearance on the island, predating their arrival.

The Burneys&rsquo work suggests that, in contrast to the weedy fields where sugarcane was long cultivated, the area around the sinkhole was wooded, dominated by a species of small palm. The trade winds blew birds to the island chain, and though these ancient Hawaiian birds had no predators, being blown back to sea meant certain death. Wings, therefore, constituted a risk for larger birds, and thus flightless species arose. More than 50 species of finches hopped through the forests, each adapted to a tiny ecological niche. Two sorts of small birds called rails crept along the ground looking for the eggs of other species to snag. The only mammals on the island before humans arrived were small bats. Avians filled the ecological niches that elsewhere were occupied by grazing animals such as wild sheep and cattle, which could not survive the long journey across the ocean. &ldquoThe mallard duck gets here and suddenly grows 10 times as large, stops flying, develops a beak like a tortoise, and goes out and eats the vegetation,&rdquo Burney says, gesturing up through the hole. &ldquoIt&rsquos a laboratory of evolution.&rdquo

The island&rsquos most fearsome predator was a type of long-legged owl that caught what flying birds there were in mid-air during the day&mdashthere were no nocturnal rodents to eat&mdashand pierced their skulls with pincer claws. &ldquoYou can tell by the holes in the skulls of the victims,&rdquo says Burney. By now we are standing at the bottom of one of the excavation trenches with cool muck rising halfway to our knees.

Eventually we climb back up, passing the centuries as we go. When we emerge from the pit, Burney&rsquos legs are caked in the black ooze and his black helmet is spotted with dried dirt. He ambles over to the volunteers sorting through the mud using garden hoses and rectangular boxes with one-sixteenth-inch mesh. &ldquoDon&rsquot save every last little snail, but every bird bone and every seed we want to keep,&rdquo he says to one woman. &ldquoThe biggest problem is that people try to screen too much at once,&rdquo he explains. &ldquoJust keep it to a double handful so you don&rsquot miss anything.&rdquo

Archaeologists have long suspected that the arrival of humans on Hawaii spelled doom for innumerable plant and animal species. Nearly four dozen bird species, many of them extinct, have been recovered from Makauwahi Cave, and other excavations, particularly along the coastal plains, confirm the rapid transformation of the environment once people got there. Though the original settlers likely were a small band of 100 people or so, based on genetic data, rats rapidly populated the islands, posing a deadly threat to the large flightless birds vulnerable to scurrying mammals. The rats also quickly ate the seeds of the native palms, while humans may have overexploited the trees for thatch, causing them to almost disappear from the island. Early engravings made by Europeans who began coming to Hawaii in the late 1700s show the area around Makauwahi Cave to be virtually treeless by this point&mdashcoastal plains had been transformed by way of irrigation and ponds, and mass burning had driven the forest back to areas too steep to cultivate. By the time the Europeans arrived, 600 or so years after the islands&rsquo first settlers, Hawaiians numbered perhaps 200,000 or more, and the landscape was a combination of field and forest with few signs of the strange birds that once dominated the chain. One of the surprising finds Burney and his colleague, Australian paleoentomologist Nick Porch of Deacon University, have made is that the accidental introduction of insects, particularly ants, may have devastated the native species of beetles, many of which were wingless and therefore defenseless against the invaders. &ldquoIt was insect Armageddon,&rdquo Burney says. &ldquoWhen people come to a new land, there is always mass extinction.&rdquo

Although today only a few native species of plants and animals survive in the lowlands of Kauai, the Burneys are working hard to change this. The land that includes the cave complex is owned by the Grove Farm Company, but it is now managed by the nonprofit Makauwahi Cave Reserve, which the Burneys created. In combination with their archaeological work, they are trying to bring ancient Hawaii back to life, at least on a small scale. Inside the sinkhole, based on what they have found during more than two decades of excavation, they are slowly replacing plants brought by Europeans with both native Hawaiian and Polynesian species. In acres of plant restorations that Lida Pigott Burney has created outside the cave, she and a host of volunteers have planted examples of native plants the Burneys identified in the cave&rsquos fossil record. These species had retreated into largely inaccessible areas, but can thrive in the lowlands if given a chance. The reserve is also home to a few acres of traditional taro and other early Polynesian crops, as well as native palms and indigenous flowering plants that have replaced what was a 200-year monoculture of sugarcane.

More than 20,000 visitors, including many students, come to Makauwahi Cave each year to rediscover Hawaii&rsquos lost past. There they learn to plant traditional crops such as bananas and breadfruit, and they visit the Burneys&rsquo fenced restoration containing not only newly cultivated native plants, but also a dozen and a half tortoises that mimic the feeding habits of the long-extinct grazing birds and keep invasive weeds at bay. For Burney, the effort is an innovative way to use archaeological and paleontological data to restore native species to the landscape and revive ancient practices. &ldquoI&rsquom just as much interested in the future as the past,&rdquo he says. As we part, Burney is off to feed his chickens before dusk.


Author information

Affiliations

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, 165 Prospect St., New Haven, CT, 06520-8106, USA

Division of Birds, MRC-116, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, USA

Alison G. Boyer, Helen F. James & Storrs L. Olson

School of Geography and Environment, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92-019, Auckland, New Zealand

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Corresponding author


Camelid sacrum in the shape of a canine

When we think about prehistoric art (art before the invention of writing), likely the first thing that comes to mind are the beautiful cave paintings in France and Spain with their naturalistic images of bulls, bison, deer and other animals. But it’s important to note that prehistoric art has been found around the globe—in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia—and that new sites and objects come to light regularly, and many sites are just starting to be explored. Most prehistoric works we have discovered so far date to around 40,000 B.C.E. and after.

Lithograph of the sacrum as illustrated by Mariano Bárcena, published in Anales del Musei Nacional, vol. 2 (1882)

This fascinating and unique prehistoric sculpture of a dog-like animal was discovered accidentally in 1870 in Tequixquiac, Mexico—in the Valley of Mexico (where Mexico City is located). The carving likely dates to sometime between 14,000–7000 B.C.E. An engineer found it at a depth of 12 meters (about 40 feet) when he was working on a drainage project—the Valley of Mexico once held several lakes. The geography and climate of this area was considerably different in the prehistoric era than it is today.

What is a camelid? What is a sacrum?

The sculpture was made from the now fossilized remains of the sacrum of an extinct camelid. A camelid is a member of the Camelidae family—think camels, llamas, and alpacas. The sacrum is the large triangular bone at the base of the spine. Holes were cut into the end of the bone to represent nostrils, and the bone is also engraved (though this is difficult to see in photographs).

Issues

The date of the sculpture is difficult to determine because a stratigraphic analysis was not done at the find spot at the time of discovery. This would have involved a study of the different layers of soil and rock before the object was removed. Another problem is that the object was essentially lost to scholars between 1895 and 1956 (it was in private hands).

In 1882 the sculpture was in the possession of Mariano de la Bárcena, a Mexican geologist and botanist, who wrote the first scholarly article on it. He described the object in this way:

“…the fossil bone contains cuts or carvings that unquestionably were made by the hand of man…the cuts seem to have been made with a sharp instrument and some polish on the edges of the cuts may still be seen…the articular extremity of the last vertebra was utilized perfectly to represent the nose and mouth of the animal.” [1]

Bárcena was convinced of the authenticity of the object, but over the years—due to the lack of scientific evidence from the find spot—other scholars have questioned its age, and whether the object was even made by human hands. One author, in 1923, summarized the issues:

To allow us to state that the sacrum found at Tequixquiac was a definite proof of ancient man in the area the following things must be proven: (1) That the bone was actually a fossil belonging to an extinct species. We cannot doubt this since it has been affirmed by competent geologists and paleontologists. (2) That it was found in a fossiliferous deposit and that it had never been moved since it found its place there. This has not been proved in any convincing manner. (3) That the cuttings of the bone can actually be attributed to the hand of man and that it can never have occurred without human intervention. This has not been proved either. (4) That the carving was made while the species still existed and not in later times when the bone had already become fossilized. [2]

Today, scholars agree that the carving and markings were made by human hands—the two circular spaces that represent the nasal cavities were carefully carved and are perfectly symmetrical and were likely shaped by a sharp instrument. However, the lack of information from the find spot makes precise dating very difficult. It is quite common, in prehistoric art, for the shape of a natural form (like a sacrum) to suggest a subject (dog or pig head) to the carver, and so we should not be surprised that the sculpture still strongly resembles a sacrum.

Sacra from various forms of camel, illustration from: Luis Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda, “The Pleistocene Carved Bone from Tequixquiac, Mexico: A Reappraisal,” American Antiquity, vol. 30, (January 1965), p. 269.

Interpretasie

Because the carving was made in a period before writing had developed, it is likely impossible to know what the sculpture meant to the carver and to his/her culture. One possible way to interpret the object is to look at it through the lens of later Mesoamerican cultures. One anthropologist has pointed out that in Mesoamerica, the sacrum is seen as sacred and that some Mesoamerican Indian languages named this bone with words referring to sacredness and the divine. In English, “sacrum” is derived from Latin: os sacrum, meaning “sacred bone.” The sacrum is also—perhaps significantly for its meaning—located near the reproductive organs.

“Language and iconographic evidence strongly suggests that the sacrum bone was an important bone indeed in Mesoamerica, relating to sacredness, to resurrection, and to fire. The importance attached to this bone and its immediate neighbors is not limited to Mesoamerica. From ancient Egypt to ancient India and elsewhere, there is abundant evidence that the bones at the base of the spine, including especially the sacrum, were seen as sacred.” [3]

As appealing as this interpretation is (and the argument the author makes is quite convincing), it is wise to be wary of connecting cultures across such vast geographic distances (though of course there are some aspects of our shared humanity that may be common across cultures). At this point in time, we have no direct evidence to support this interpretation, and so we can not be certain of this object’s original meaning for either the artist, or the people that produced it.

[1] As quoted in Luis Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda, “The Pleistocene Carved Bone from Tequixquiac, Mexico: A Reappraisal,” American Antiquity, vol. 30, (January 1965), p. 264.

[2] As quoted in Luis Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda, “The Pleistocene Carved Bone from Tequixquiac, Mexico: A Reappraisal,” American Antiquity, vol. 30, (January 1965)

[3] Brian Stross, “The Mesoamerican Sacrum Bone: Doorway to the otherworld,” FAMSI Journal of the Ancient Americas (2007) pp.1-54.

Additional resources:

Luis Aveleyra Arroyo de Anda, “The Pleistocene Carved Bone from Tequixquiac, Mexico: A Reappraisal,” American Antiquity, vol. 30, (January 1965), pp. 261-77 (available online).

Paul G. Bahn, “Pleistocene Images outside of Europe,” Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 57, part 1 (1991), pp. 91-102.

Brian Stross, “The Mesoamerican Sacrum Bone: Doorway to the otherworld,” FAMSI Journal of the Ancient Americas (2007), pp.1-54 (pdf available online).


The Americas

While all the new evidence establishes that Australoids and Polynesians were the first inhabitants of the Americas, it does NOT explain how they got here! The Northern route across the Bering straits somehow doesn&rsquot seem to work for them. These are more logical theories of their migration.

An area of debate revolves on just how far south Polynesians actually managed to get. There is some material evidence of Polynesian visits to some of the subantarctic islands to the south of New Zealand, which are outside Polynesia proper. Shards of pottery has been found in the Antipodes Islands, and is now in the Te Papa museum in Wellington, and there are also remains of a Polynesian settlement dating back to the 13th century on Enderby Island in the Auckland Islands.

There is legend that Ui-te-Rangiora, believed to have been a 7th-century Māori navigator from the island of Rarotonga. In the year 650, led a fleet of Waka Tīwai (War Canoes) south until they reached, "a place of bitter cold where rock-like structures rose from a solid sea", The brief description appears to match the Ross Ice Shelf or possibly the Antarctic mainland, but may just be a description of icebergs and Pack Ice found in the Southern Ocean

Polynesians

Polynesia is a Latinization of Fr. polynésie, coined 1756 by de Brosses from Gk. polys "many" (see poly-) + nesos "island." The term "Polynesia" was first used in 1756 by French writer Charles de Brosses, and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific. But in 1831, Jules Dumont d'Urville proposed a restriction on its use during a lecture to the Geographical Society of Paris. His intention was clearly to distinguish the pure Blacks of the Pacific from the mulatto populations.

The Polynesian people are considered to be by linguistic, archaeological and human genetic ancestry a subset of the sea-migrating Austronesian people and tracing Polynesian languages places their prehistoric origins, ultimately, in Taiwan.

At about 2000 B.C. speakers of Austronesian languages began spreading from Taiwan into Island Southeast Asia. Their speech of the time was not clearly related to Chinese speech of the time and Chinese speakers were all further north on the mainland at the turn of the second and third millennia BC. Taiwan was only later Sinicized via large-scale immigration accompanied by much assimilation of the Austronesian speaking indigenous people during the 17th century AD.

Main Polynesia

American Samoa (overseas United States territory)
Cook Islands (self-governing state in free association with New Zealand)
Easter Island (called Rapa Nui in Rapa Nui, politically part of Chile)
French Polynesia (overseas country, a collectivity of France)
Hawaii (a state of the United States)
New Zealand (independent nation)
Niue (self-governing state in free association with New Zealand)
Norfolk Island (an Australian External Territory)


Pitcairn Islands (a British Overseas Territory)
Samoa (independent nation)
Tokelau (overseas dependency of New Zealand)
Tonga (independent nation)
Tuvalu (independent nation)
Wallis and Futuna (collectivity of France)
Rotuma

Polynesian outliers in Melanesia

Anuta (in the Solomon Islands)
Mele (in Vanuatu)
Bellona Island (in the Solomon Islands)
Emae (in Vanuatu)
Nuguria (in Papua New Guinea)
Nukumanu (in Papua New Guinea)
Ontong Java (in the Solomon Islands)
Pileni (in the Solomon Islands)
Rennell (in the Solomon Islands)
Sikaiana (in the Solomon Islands)
Takuu (in Papua New Guinea)
Tikopia (in the Solomon Islands)
Fiji Island

In Micronesia

Kapingamarangi (in the Federated States of Micronesia)
Nukuoro (in the Federated States of Micronesia)

Subantarctic Islands

Antipodes Islands
Auckland Islands (the most southerly known evidence of Polynesian settlement)



Kommentaar:

  1. Aurik

    Hierdie opsie pas my nie.

  2. Redley

    Na my mening is dit 'n baie interessante onderwerp. Ek nooi almal uit om aktief aan die bespreking deel te neem.

  3. Dru

    Jy kan soek vir 'n skakel na 'n webwerf met inligting oor 'n onderwerp wat vir jou belangstel.

  4. Llyr

    On your place I would try to solve this problem itself.



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