Saturday, January 30, 2010

302. Aftermath 17: Australia and New Guinea

Three more clues, and then I'll be ready to "solve" the case.

12. The legendary Australian dog known as the "Dingo" is thought to be a relatively recent arrival, judging from fossil remains. According to Wikipedia, the oldest dingo fossils date back roughly 5,000 to 5,500 years in Thailand and Vietnam. Their history in Australia is more recent:
Today, the most common theory is that the dingo arrived in Australia about 4,000 years ago, due to the fact that the oldest known fossils of dingoes were estimated to be about 3,500 years old and were found in various places in Australia, which indicates a rapid colonization. Findings are absent from Tasmania, which was separated from the main Australian landmass around 12,000 years ago due to a rise in sea level. Therefore, archeological data indicates an arrival between 3,500 to a maximum of 12,000 years ago. To reach Australia from Asia, there would have been at least 50 km of open sea to be crossed, even at the lowest sea level. Since there is no known case of a big land animal who made such a journey by itself, it is most likely that the ancestors of modern dingoes were brought to Australia on boats by Asian seafarers (my emphasis).
Another species, considered by some to be closely related to the Dingo is the New Guinea "singing dog," thought to have been genetically isolated for ca 6,000 years.

13. Associated with the introduction of the Dingo, were some other important changes:
Archaeological evidence suggests that from around 5000 BC there were substantial changes in Indigenous Australian population density, settlement pattern and technology. About 4000 years ago the dingo was introduced to Australia from Asia, and this seems to have increased the efficiency of Indigenous Australian hunting. At about the same time a new range of small, sharp-edged stone tools came into use. The population increased and expanded to occupy new areas. There was also a large increase in the distance that objects moved along trade routes.

It is not known if this new technology arrived with a wave of immigrants who brought the dingo with them, or if it arose through technical innovation in Australia (WorldTimelines).

14. Thanks to German Dziebel, I've been made aware of yet another paper on the Australian genetic picture, Revealing the prehistoric settlement of Australia by Y chromosome and mtDNA analysis, 2007, by Georgi Hudjashov et al. Since the Indian-Australian connection has been a matter of fierce debate for many years, it's not surprising that these authors contest previously published findings that appeared to support such a connection (see clues no. 5, 6, 8 & 9 in Posts 299 and 300, below). In other respects, however, their findings are similar:
These results indicate that Australians and New Guineans are ultimately descended from the same African emigrant group 50–70,000 years ago, as all other Eurasians. In other words, these data provide further evidence that local H. erectus or archaic Homo sapiens populations did not contribute to the modern aboriginal Australian gene pool, nor did Australians and New Guineans derive from a hypothetical second migration out of Africa (38), nor is there any suggestion of a specific relationship with India (8727 -- my emphasis).
The most convincing evidence for an original settlement of both New Guinea and Australia by the same group of Out of Africa migrants, ca 50,000 - 70,000 ya, comes from the female (mtDNA) side, as is the case with all the other studies. They argue for a similarly long-term connection on the male (Y chromosome) side as well, and no connection whatsoever with India. Yet, at the same time, with one possible exception, all indications are that New Guinea and Australia have had separate histories ever since the initial arrival in Sahul:
Apart from this potential signal of secondary migration into
Australia, there seem to be no further lineages either on the
Australian Y or mtDNA tree that would provide clear evidence
for extensive genetic contact since the first settlement, except
possibly for a P3 sublineage shared between Australia and NG
(Fig. 2). Thus, Australia appears to have been largely isolated
since initial settlement, in agreement with one interpretation of
the fossil record (10, 11). In particular, there are no lineages
exclusively shared between Australia and India that might have
indicated common ancestry as originally proposed by Huxley (9).
Indeed, we have identified a new Y marker M347 (Fig. 3), which
distinguishes all Australian C types from Indian or other Asian
C types and adds weight to the rejection of the Huxley hypothesis.
The relevant Y phylogeny is summarized in Figure 3:


As you can see, the new Y marker, labeled M347, gives rise to the two Australian subclades, C4a and C4b, which can indeed be distinguished from C5, found only in India. Comparing the above with the map we've already seen, as published in Redd et al, 2002 (see Post 299, below), I'm not sure I see a discrepancy:


What Redd et al were pointing to is the distribution of C*, i.e., the clade on which all the other C haplogroups are rooted. As is evident from Hudjashov's Figure 3, this root clade, based on the mutation marker M130, is found in East Asia, New Guinea, Australia and India, exactly where C* is found in the Redd map, if we pay attention to the red pie chart segments. So what Redd et al. were demonstrating, as far as I can see, is the continuity of the C macrohaplogroup as it appears to have migrated from India, and across SE Asia, to Australia and Melanesia (where in each place, as stands to reason, it would have given birth to subclades). And a big part of the problem is the question of when this migration might have taken place. For Hudjashov et al., this must have happened at the same time as the original Out of Africa migration, ca 70,000 ya. But the coalescence figures Redd et al. came up with suggest an origin for C dating from much later, roughly 8,000 ya.

While Hudjashov et al provide a table of mtDNA age estimates, dating as far back as 65,900 +- 13,200 (for haplogroup P4), they don't provide anything similar for Y, nor do I see, anywhere in their paper, any estimate for the emergence of the all important M130 and M347 mutations. Without such an estimate, one wonders how it was possible for them to conclude that the female and male lines both date to the original Out of Africa migration, and thus, contrary to Redd et al, have the same histories. Nor is it easy to understand, if they indeed did have the same histories, and there was no subsequent immigration event, how the two populations, once united on Sahul, but now on separate islands, are now so different in so many ways, both morphologically and culturally.

16 comments:

German Dziebel said...

I think the chart from Hudjashov et al. provides a good explanation/correlation to the musical similarities you noticed between Australia and North America. There existed a musical tradition, which was very different from polyphony/interlock but of comparable antiquity. Genetically, it's circumscribed as several clades of Y-DNA haplogroup C, which, according to present phylogenies, is one of the first haplogroups to emerge after the out of Africa migration. This tradition only survived on the peripheries of the current geographic range of this haplogroup (Australia and North America) but has possible residual traces in PNG and East Asia. The very fact that it's attested on the most remote ends of the haplogroup C territory suggests that it must have been more prominent in the middle areas in the past. You may end up finding a similar musical style in tribal India, as suggested by the existence of a specialized Indian clade C5.

manju said...

The distribution of Y-Haplogroup C5 in India isn't tribal specific or that it is pronounced in tribes and lower castes. It's observed in similar frequencies across the subcontinent.

DocG said...

German: "The very fact that it's attested on the most remote ends of the haplogroup C territory suggests that it must have been more prominent in the middle areas in the past. You may end up finding a similar musical style in tribal India, as suggested by the existence of a specialized Indian clade C5."

This makes sense. And you have a point with respect to India, because I'm not familiar with the music of every Indian tribal group, and I've certainly been surprised in the past. On the other hand, the independent development of Australian and Amerindian music along parallel lines can't be ruled out. The similarities are not based on features as distinctive as those which characterize P/B.

"There existed a musical tradition, which was very different from polyphony/interlock but of comparable antiquity."

If these two very different traditions are of comparable antiquity, then it becomes very difficult to defend any but a multiregional model of cultural history. On the basis of either OoAf or OoAm, it seems very unlikely that music (or language) could have developed independently in two very different parts of the world. If our history begins in Africa, then it seems almost certain that the music of our most recent common ancestors would have been P/B. If it begins in America, as you believe, it becomes much more difficult to pinpoint an original musical tradition, but there would certainly have been one. If you want to argue that unison/one-beat/iterative style was an independent invention, then it should still be clear that it comes after the establishment of the original style, either in Africa or the Americas. It's hard to see how it could be of comparable antiquity under either model.

DocG said...

Manju: "The distribution of Y-Haplogroup C5 in India isn't tribal specific or that it is pronounced in tribes and lower castes. It's observed in similar frequencies across the subcontinent."

Yes. There is some confusion over the distribution of the C haplogroups. Redd et al. referred specifically to C*, which they found mostly in tribal groups of southern India and Sri Lanka. The map they present traces the "migration" of C* in red, from tribal India to Australia. So German's reference should, as far as I can tell, have been to C* rather than C5.

The picture for Australia was "corrected" by Hudjashov et al, who discovered two new C haplogroups in Australia, C4a and C4b. But they don't say whether or not this directly contradicts what Redd et al claim to have found, i.e., a significant presence of C* in Australia, and a 2% presence in India, among tribal groups. In fact their discussion of the Y haplogroups is confined to only a single paragraph and is incomplete and also vague. They claim that their evidence is inconsistent with Huxley, who lived in the 19th century, but make no reference to Redd et al, whose study dates from only a few years prior to theirs.

You are right about C5. But the real question is the status of C*. And even if C* has been superseded in Australia by C4a and C4b, that still does not rule out a connection between India and Australia, it just makes it more difficult to prove.

German Dziebel said...

"If these two very different traditions are of comparable antiquity, then it becomes very difficult to defend any but a multiregional model of cultural history. On the basis of either OoAf or OoAm..."

I disagree. Again, whichever way we look, out of Africa or out of America, I would argue for an originally subdivided population. Subdivided culturally, subdivided genetically. From this point of view, I like the following paper:

Early modern human diversity suggests subdivided
population structure and a complex
out-of-Africa scenario, by
Philipp Gunz et al. http://www.pnas.org/content/106/15/6094

This model conflates both single origin and multiregional perspectives by suggesting that an original population was complexly organized into fissioning/fusing (dispersing/concentrating) demes that went through periods of isolation and admixture. Descendant populations are, therefore, not a subset of a unified parental population. Descendant populations could even be more diverse than than parental populations because they got to a strong start from the very beginning. Or they could be less diverse than the parental populations because the latter expanded in size after the original dispersal. So, genetic diversity is not a good indicator of age, and this has been my qualm with geneticists since the first time I engaged with them in 1998 or 1999.

The distribution of your two musical "macrohaplogroups" (A and B) is too complementary and pervasive on a worldwide scale. They also seem to be very sharply contrasted in principle: open vs. tense, mellifluous vs. breathless, etc. Hence, I can't help but think that the split into two occurred PRIOR to the original dispersal and that it was a gradual one. Some earliest forms of music (not necessarily attested because it occurred so long ago) were rather neutral along the axes of open vs. tense vocalizing, monophony vs. polyphony, solo vs. group, and then they got specialized into their respective categories after the dispersal through regional isolation. In a way, it's like unison style splitting into polyphonic vs. monophonic varieties in your current and 1966 tree.

So, if I were looking for a homeland based on musical evidence, I would pick an area in which all these polar types are represented. Asia/Australasia and America look better in this regard, than Europe or Africa. According to your 1966 tree, America is represented in all three styles (A, B and C). From our conversations I learned that America has (at least) polyphony, interlock, hocket, panpipe ensembles, drone, breathless solo and one-beat unison (sorry for the laundry list).

My kinship evidence attests to the same sharp divide (remember the confusing chapter in my book called "Dravidian" or "Kariera"?), which I left unresolved because the earliest forms of both types are abundantly attested in America and Asia/Australasia and underrepresented in Africa and Europe.

I know that you believe that P/B "conflates" all other styles. And you may be right, as you know musical evidence far better. However, when you talk about "one original style," I can't help but compare it to an old unilineal evolutionary theories.

German Dziebel said...

The Toba argument is unconvincing to me because, again, polyphony/interlock/hocket are attested all the way in California and South America. So, if some groups of humans luckily escaped the disaster and persevered with their musical tradition through all the troubles and tribulations of a Beringian standstill followed by a long-distance migration, then why would others "over-react" to it to such an extent as to completely transmogrify their music, without even having to cross over to America. Plus, my reading of some ethnomusicological literature on Vanuatu and other regions of Oceania made me think that these sharp musical contrasts seem to change quite easily from island to island and from one isolated PNG location to another. The loss of polyphony/interlock/hocket could, therefore, occur yesterday in some places under local cultural pressures and through internal musical developments and not go back to the primordial catastrophe.

German Dziebel said...

"On the other hand, the independent development of Australian and Amerindian music along parallel lines can't be ruled out. The similarities are not based on features as distinctive as those which characterize P/B."

Would you say that breathless solo in Siberia and in South America is also product of independent invention? You've already committed yourself to interpreting "striking similarities" as signs of common origin. This is fine with me as long as you are consistent and don't employ double standards.

DocG said...

German: "This model conflates both single origin and multiregional perspectives by suggesting that an original population was complexly organized into fissioning/fusing (dispersing/concentrating) demes that went through periods of isolation and admixture. Descendant populations are, therefore, not a subset of a unified parental population."

Thanks for the reference to an interesting article, which makes use of some innovative methods for what could be called "comparative craniology" or better, by analogy with Canometrics: "Craniometrics." :-)

There are three serious problems with this paper:

1. The sample is far too small to be convincing. This is a serious problem with fossil evidence generally, and since the obstacles to improving such samples are so huge, no one seems to mind -- but it matters. A few hundred skulls are not nearly enough to make the point they think they have made.

2. It completely ignores the genetic findings, which point very clearly to a common ancestry for all living humans.

3. The authors completely fail to grasp one of the great lessons the genetic research has taught us, something archaeologists should have recognized a long time ago, but have taken completely for granted: there is a huge difference between the ancestry of AMH generally and the ancestry of living humans. What's the point of applying a study of archaic crania to the problem of contemporary morphological diversity when the great majority of lineages represented by those skulls probably died out millennia ago? The earliest AMH may well have been an extremely diverse group, and in many ways. But what matters in terms of OUR ancestry (rather than that of the earliest "modern" humans) is not these ancient fossils but what I've been calling HBP, which I've gone to the trouble of defining, not simply as the "ancestors" but the "most recent common ancestors" of all living humans. There is a very big difference and it matters.

DocG said...

German: "So, if some groups of humans luckily escaped the disaster and persevered with their musical tradition through all the troubles and tribulations of a Beringian standstill followed by a long-distance migration,"

Interesting comments. But you are making some unnecessary assumptions. First, as I see it, the initial upcoast-downcoast migration from Asia to the Americas in all likelihood preceded the LGM, so there would have been no layover in Beringia, but a continuous nautical voyage all the way to the tip of S. America, with many colonies left in between.

Second, it's important to understand that exactly the same amount of time passed while the Pygmies stayed put (apparently) in their tropical forest for ca 80,000 years, and the Out of Africa migrants made their way across three different seacoasts to finally complete their journey at some point in S. America. The Pygmies would have been relatively unaffected due to their isolation in a safe refuge area and the OoAf voyagers would also have been unchallenged, since there would always be more uninhabited coastline ahead of them so long as they kept moving, moving, moving, which seems to have been their obsession. A conservative culture will remain conservative whether it remains in one place or is continually on the move, so there's no reason to be puzzled over the retention of an "African signature" over such a huge distance. We humans take things one day at time, regardless of where we are or where we go, that's just our way. :-)

"then why would others "over-react" to it to such an extent as to completely transmogrify their music, without even having to cross over to America."

Again, whether a group changes or remains the same has nothing to do with how far they travel in SPACE, but what it is they encounter over TIME. Which is why I posit a major disaster that would have happened to some, but not all. It's the conditions we encounter in life that cause us to change, NOT the amount of space, or time, traveled.

"Plus, my reading of some ethnomusicological literature on Vanuatu and other regions of Oceania made me think that these sharp musical contrasts seem to change quite easily from island to island and from one isolated PNG location to another. The loss of polyphony/interlock/hocket could, therefore, occur yesterday in some places under local cultural pressures and through internal musical developments and not go back to the primordial catastrophe."

Of course. And I have no doubt that's happened many times for many such groups, as they encountered various natural catastrophes, or hostile groups or simply encountered friendly groups whom they learned from or were influenced by. Why not? Localized differences, such as what we find in Oceania, SE Asia and Island SE Asia, are most likely due to localized encounters and events. But large-scale differences are a different matter and must be due either to large-scale events or events that took place very early in human history -- or both.

German Dziebel said...

"The earliest AMH may well have been an extremely diverse group, and in many ways. But what matters in terms of OUR ancestry (rather than that of the earliest "modern" humans) is not these ancient fossils..."

In principle, I agree. Moreover, I'm using the very same argument to defend OOAm: the fact that we have all these crania and lithic tools in the Old World doesn't make us closer to solving the riddle of human origins. What matters are the patterns observed in modern human populations because these are the populations whose origins we're trying to solve. So, if we observe a "continuity" in lithics between MP and UP in South Asia, it must have resulted from convergence, as modern humans (defined by genetic lineages, kinship systems, musical styles and language groups) repopulated this area after the Toba disaster. Same with AMH crania invariably associated with Mousterian tools: all these diverse populations with flickering proclivities for language and cognition were replaced (or died out on their own) by incoming modern humans as defined by the new culture and cognition attested archaeologically worldwide at 45K but not earlier.

Where we disagree (in principle), is that you treat Pygmies and Bushmen as "living fossils" and their musical style as the single most ancient human musical style. I tend to look at it (maybe naively) as a regional end-product of a global musical evolution from ancient forms that, for the most part, haven't survived unsullied. However, the existence of a wide variety of non-P/B musical styles and the existence of striking similarities between these other styles across vast geographic distances suggests that these forms did exist and most likely outside of Africa. (I would say the same thing about genetic data.)

DocG said...

German: "Where we disagree (in principle), is that you treat Pygmies and Bushmen as "living fossils" and their musical style as the single most ancient human musical style."

To call P and B living fossils simply because they've maintained essentially the same musical language since the Paleolithic would be roughly the same as calling Europeans and Hindus living fossils because they still speak Indo-European languages, which arose during the Neolithic. Granted the Paleolithic and Neolithic aren't the same, but the basic principle is. And anyone who likes to paint animals would also be a "living fossil" since animals were painted during the Paleolithic as well. ACtually, anyone who paints anything at all can be considered a living fossil since painting is also a tradition practiced by some of our earliest ancestors.

Just because certain people maintain venerable traditions does NOT make them living fossils, please.

And I don't "treat" them as anything at all. I've deduced the antiquity of their musical style based on a very careful evaluation of the musical evidence. And I am certainly not the only one to have had such an idea.

As for the rest, the difference in our orientation, Africa-centered vs. America-centered makes it impossible for me to decipher your meaning and/or your intention when you refer to other musical styles. If modern humans originated in America and music was created by modern humans, then we could look to the Americas to see if we could find a likely candidate for a survival of that original musical tradition. And we would be almost forced to assume that all other musical traditions are developments from the original one. The same argument has been made for language and it's equally valid.

If you do not endorse a phylogenetic view of human origins and evolution that's another matter -- but it seems to me as though you do. Different languages and musical styles as well as other aspects of culture do not simply appear out of nowhere, they have antecedents.

German Dziebel said...

"To call P and B living fossils simply because they've maintained essentially the same musical language since the Paleolithic would be roughly the same as calling Europeans and Hindus living fossils because they still speak Indo-European languages, which arose during the Neolithic."

The Indo-European languages of Europe and the Hindi language have diverged vastly from each other and from the reconstructed proto-Indo-European level. No single IE language (ancient or modern) provides a simple model for the proto-IE language. As reconstructed now, proto-IE phonology has features of Sanskrit when it comes to the stop system but, when it comes to the vowel system, it's other languages that are considered more conservative (Sanskrit merged several PIE vowels into "a"). Laryngeals are only attested in Hittite (we're lucky we discovered it) and are inferred from their effects on neighboring vowels in other languages.

It's rarely if ever one language is accorded the status of an absolute retention from the past.

The phylogenetic method in linguistics involves the reconstruction [sic!] of unattested [sic!] stages of language evolution on the basis of recurrent similarities in underlying phonological, morphological and grammatical structures.

There's also taxonomic method associated with Greenberg and Ruhlen, which involves global comparisons of sound shapes associated with similar meanings. Geneticists usually align their trees with linguistic phylogenies based on the taxonomic principle. However, the vast majority of linguists consider taxonomic methodology unreliable and misleading. Only reconstruction can securely attest for a common phylogenetic node.

I'm just trying to think about musical evolution in the same way.

"If you do not endorse a phylogenetic view of human origins and evolution that's another matter -- but it seems to me as though you do."

Yes, I do. One of the principles of phylogeny is continuity. When you postulate a sharp break between A and B styles caused by an external force it's an example of non-phylogenetic thinking.

DocG said...

German: "Would you say that breathless solo in Siberia and in South America is also product of independent invention? You've already committed yourself to interpreting "striking similarities" as signs of common origin. This is fine with me as long as you are consistent and don't employ double standards."

I don't go only by "striking similarities," but by analyzing a wide range of evidence, including differences as well as similarities -- and cultural context as well. The most convincing cases are the ones, such as P/B, where we find a practice that is both complex and highly distinctive, involving many parameters, not just one or two.

"Breathlessness" is distinctive, but it's only a single parameter and thus the various similarities we see may not necessarily be due to common descent in every case. When we find this practice widespread among peoples who share many other common features, both musical and cultural, and a common geographical range, as with the paleosiberians (including Lapps and Ainu) then I don't have a problem claiming that we are dealing with a common tradition, stemming from a common source.

When we find a similar practice here and there in a completely different part of the world, with no sign of an organizing pattern to give us a clue as to its meaning, then we have less to go on and have to be more cautious.

I definitely see the possibility of a connection, because there is certainly a historical connection of some sort between paleosiberians and American Indians, but musically there is not enough of a pattern and not enough evidence to take it any farther than pure speculation. If there were a way to test -- and develop -- such a hypothesis that would make it much more useful.

DocG said...

German: "The Indo-European languages of Europe and the Hindi language have diverged vastly from each other and from the reconstructed proto-Indo-European level. No single IE language (ancient or modern) provides a simple model for the proto-IE language."

You're missing the point. There are archaic elements in any language that stem from the deepest roots in its history and persist to the present day. Some of these may reflect the language family it (supposedly) belongs to, but others no doubt reflect even deeper traditions going all the way back to the origins of language itself. The use of tone in tone languages may be one of those. But even more archaic is the fact that every language can be broken down into phonemes, based on the contrast of distinctive features; every language is also characterized by distinctively articulated morphemes, each with a unique meaning; and of course many other elements, such as grammar, syntax, markedness, etc. Since all languages share such elements, it stands to reason that they are archaic, and since they are an important aspect of the culture of all modern humans then all modern humans would be, according to your definition: living fossils.

What makes Pygmies and Bushmen NOT living fossils is the fact that they, like every other group (with the exception of today's bankers and hedge fund managers, I suppose) are capable of adapting to new situations, when necessary for their survival. The fact that they adhere more closely than most other peoples to certain traditions stemming from the traditions of our common ancestors makes them traditionalists, NOT "living fossils" which is a crude insult.

German Dziebel said...

"there is certainly a historical connection of some sort between paleosiberians and American Indians..."

From the point of view of neutral markers, Paleosiberians and northern American Indians share a few very distinctive features, which makes some geneticists consider the former as an offshoot of the latter. Alternatively it could be the result of a early Holocene admixture, which would your musical evidence speak to an earlier stratum in Paleosiberians that was not affected by the admixture with Paleoindians.

DocG said...

German: "From the point of view of neutral markers, Paleosiberians and northern American Indians share a few very distinctive features"

What I find especially interesting is the abrupt cultural discontinuity between Amerindians and Paleosiberians. If there was a simple, uninterrupted flow from Siberia to North America as is usually assumed (or in the other direction, as you prefer to believe), then what accounts for the many differences, including some really striking musical differences?

There are also similarities, as you say, and some are very interesting. But there is no real continuity, as one would expect. I deal with this problem in my "Echoes" essay, and once again I am obliged to Stephen Oppenheimer for presenting a scenario that takes this into account -- and makes a good deal of sense.