Aha. A confession…. Because I’m just winging this, learning this much of mateiral through independent research, I wasn’t precisely clear on the development of the bow & arrow, and how the technology dispersed. Apparently it came about 64,000 years ago in South Africa. Apparently this date and place was nailed down when I was slacking back in 2008. A new paper walks through the steps that led to the bow & arrow.
So why are people like Paul Mellars of Cambridge still arguing that humans left Africa only after Toba explosion 60,000 years ago? In this Nature article, he states humans followed the coastlines rapidly with their new technologies, including bow and arrows, all of the way to Australia. As far as I’m aware of, the Australian aborigines didn’t even have the bow and arrow. That technology wouldn’t have been arbitrarily dropped at the Wallace Line. It seems obvious that there were human waves of dispersal both before and after Toba.
However, the other side of the argument in that Nature article is Petraglia, whose argument seems stronger to me until he states, “no one has ever argued for Neanderthals in India, ever,” in arguing that whatever artifacts he finds in Jurreru Valley must be made by modern humans.
Okay. How about Denisovans? Or another archaic human? The funny thing is towards the end of the article, which feels a little exciting. Petraglia has sympathizers who are proposing just that.
The pre-Toba artefacts from the Jurreru Valley look nothing like the Arabian ones, says Anthony Marks of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, who studied the Jebel Faya material. And the archaeologist who analysed the oldest relics from the Jurreru Valley and provided key support for the claim that they are the handiwork of modern humans is no longer so sure. Chris Clarkson of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, a frequent collaborator of Petraglia’s, now thinks they might be the work of an unidentified population of archaic people.
This is definitely something to be followed.