Did ancient Polynesians and Australian Aboriginals get to South America? Did they interbreed with some South American people? Did Native Americans not only arrive in the Americans via the Bering Land Bridge but also by sea? These are some of the questions that science is attempting to answer and the evidence that is being found is somewhat astonishing…..at least to some.
I have long studied the Olmec which I consider to be a fantastic ancient people. They were the first MAJOR civilization in Mexico and Guatemala following a progressive development Soconusco (a region in the SW corner of Chiapas, Mexico) and what is today the modern SW Pacific lowlands of Guatemala. These people lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico in what is today the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. There is speculation they came from the Mokaya or Mixe-Zoque people which some consider pre-Olmec people. But, note this is speculation.
The Olmec are best known for their carvings of colossal heads and other artworks. These people have broad noses, large lips, and some had large eyes. Some of their artwork depictions of themselves clearly look African or Polynesian and one must wonder if these people actually came from Africa or Polynesia! Yet, other artwork depictions look more Oriental such as that depicted in the artistic statue known as “The Wrestler.”
The word “Olmec” is interesting itself as in the Nahuatl language it means “the Rubber People.” Now why would they be known as the Rubber People? Were they possibly exceptionally tall and limber? It’s believed that the Olmec civilization had its beginnings between 1400 and 1200 BCE but other discoveries have pushed that day back to at least 1600-1500 BCE. Further, it appears that the Olmec may have had their roots in early farming cultures of Tabasco which began between 5100-4600 BCE. The reason for this is the early farming cultures of the Tabasco region shared the same basic crops and technologies of the later Olmec people. In addition, the Olmec sculpture known as the “hollow baby” looks particularly oriental in my opinion. It has the typical Oriental eyes and head shape! The Olmec also made face masks from jade that resemble those found in China or Japan. Of course I realize that this is considered “pseudo-science” as most Mesoamerican researchers do not consider such theories as possible. Of course, if the Olmec did come across the western or eastern oceans and their ancestors did not come down from the Bering landbridge then that would change everything! And that is exactly what is beginning to happen, in fact!!
There is a phenomena known as “Population Y” and genetic researchers are beginning to unravel the mystery concerning this mysterious and unknown population that came into the Americas.
Back in 2013 DNA evidence was found in old Native American bones that appears to be Polynesian. This evidence comes from the now extinct Native American people called the Botocudo who were a tribe of hunter-gatherers who once lived in SE Brazil. DNA from Botocudo remains was PARTIALLY analyzed from teeth obtained from 14 Botocudo skulls. Specifically, mtDNA was analyzed. In two adults researchers discovered mtDNA typically associated with Polynesians. It was postulated that ancestors of teh Botocudo interbred with Polynesians before the First Americans arrived across the Bering landbridge 15-20 kya. Further, it must be noted that prior skull comparison studies focusing on skull shapes hinted that two different groups of people entered the Americas with the earlier group being in the Botocundo specimens and a later group from Siberia seen in most Native Americans today. However, the researchers who conducted this study seem to have passed off all this in favor of the mix being more recent such as the slave trade during the European colonization of the Americas.
In another study it was suggested by the DNA evidence that Polynesians from Easter Island and natives of South America may have met and interbred long before the coming of the Europeans to the Americas. Researchers in this study argued that contact between Native Americans and Easter Islanders happened prior to 1500 BCE. This study provided the first direct evidence for such contact.
In yet another study DNA evidence was found to suggest that present-day Amazonians from the Surui and Karitiana tribes have an unexpected genetic link to Asian Islanders! But researchers involved in this study seem to believe this mysterious population came across he Bering landbridge instead of by sea! They theorize an ancient Australian population once lived in a wider area of Asia but it went extinct after having crossed the landbridge into the Americas before the Siberians.
This is all fine and well but I can’t help but notice that all of these studies REJECT a sea migration and relegate this mystery Population Y to having crossed the landbridge between Siberia and Alaska! Now I don’t know about you but from what I’ve seen and can see is that MOST IF NOT ALL people who live on islands surrounded by water seem to have a real knack for seafaring! In fact, such people depend on the sea for food, transportation, and just about everything else. So why should this be any different in the remote past??? Why must everything be connected to the landbridge? One explanation I’ve heard more than once is, “Where are the boats?”. Good question! And I suggest that they are under the present waters of our oceans IF they even still exist!
During Ice Ages sea levels are lower and that is because the waters of the planet tend to get locked up in the ice. As the ice sheets thaw and the sea levels tend to rise as more water turns from ice to liquid. Further, understand that during the last ice age the entire planet was NOT covered over by ice! In fact, in most glacial periods the entire planet was not covered over by ice! Ice Age does NOT mean Planet Earth locked up completely in ice!!
Humans are innovative creatures and of this there is no doubt. That is, in fact, how we have come to be where we are today with our fantastic technology and know-how. I think this has likely ALWAYS been the case, frankly! In fact, I think we have GROSSLY underestimated the intelligence and innovation abilities of our ancient ancestors!! We have sat around and equated brain size with intelligence level but several studies have pointed out that this is NOT necessarily the case at all. These studies have shown that our frontal lobes are no more out of the ordinary for animals our size at all and thus when it comes to intelligence it is more likely NOT brain size but the way in which our brains are wired that explains our intelligence.
If we buy into the Out of Africa Theory then we can only admit that Homo erectus was an intelligent, innovative, and widespread species that came out of Africa and populated most of the prehistoric world! This was an ambitious species of ancient human ancestor and this species MUST have been more intelligent than we believe in order to have done this a survived! After all, Homo erectus coming out of Africa was going into uncharted and unknown territory and the dangers were many YET something enabled this species to face those dangers head on, overcome them, and survive!! In terms of brain size the brain of H. erectus was near our own present brain size.
So here’s what I think happened…………….
Siberians came out of Asia on MORE than one occasion and crossed the Bering landbridge which we know existed MORE than ONCE. These people came into the Americas colonizing and migrating down through North America into Central America and down into South America. BUT they were not the only people coming to the Americas! Other people at various times in prehistory cross the sea waters by some sort of boat or canoe and got to the Americas via the waterways. Some came from Africa. Some came from Polynesia. Some came from China and the Orient. Others came from Australia and Indonesia! These people interbred with the people who were already here in the Americas and it is my belief that all of these people combined represent what we are calling “Population Y.” Thus, the populating of the Americas was far more COMPLEX than we think or perhaps wish to think!! In short, the Americas have always been a sort of “melting pot” and I strongly suspect DNA evidence will show this more and more in the near future.
We seem to cling to this image we have that the Americas were once this pristine land, a EDEN untouched by human hands. But, I think this is the real fantasy! I do not think the Americas were ever untouched by the hands of ancient human ancestors!!
Like I have put forth many times I do not wholly by the Out of Africa Theory! I there were ancient human ancestors everywhere including in the Americas all undergoing different stages of “evolution” which really was not evolution at all but INTERBREEDING AND RETROBREEDING. This is why we find “enigmas” in some species of ancient humans such as Homo erectus and specifically later H. erectus having a larger brow ridge than earlier H. erectus. There is only one explanation for that and it is called back-breeding!!!
I look around at people today and I see so called “modern humans” that I could easily classify as Neanderthals, or Homo erectus, or H. heidelbergensis, or a host of other human species. We have discovered in recent times that the norm in human prehistory has been that MORE THAN ONE human species co-existed. So why should that be any different today??? This is why I say we are NOT all the same! We aren’t!! We are not a one-size-fits-all species! That concept is nothing but political bullshit! And, frankly, that is the problem with anthropology today. POLITICAL BULLSHIT!! We have attempted to take our scientific findings and mold them to the POLITICAL BULLSHIT of our day and that, frankly, isn’t flying with me or a host of other researchers!! We are NOT buying the PC crap and we aren’t going to!!!
Let me end with this little rant…………..someday……….somewhere along the line ANTHROPOLOGY is going to have to grow some BALLS and stand up against the PC gang or it is going to become a science extinct or not even a science at all but a POLITICAL PUPPET!! Our science and out theories will then be not only absolutely worthless but will also be nothing short of a COMPLETE FARCE!! It’s high time to follow the science WHEREVER it leads even if it is deemed offense by YOUR funding source! We MUST return to REAL science void of the PC bullshit and void of the attempt to make our finding conform to the expectations of those who fund our research. If that means finding ways to fund OUR own research THEN SO BE IT!! At least slowly we will get REAL SCIENCE instead of the PC farce we are getting mostly today!!