Population Changes in New Guinea

Population Changes in New Guinea - In the Discovery Channel...

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In the Discovery Channel series World’s Lost Tribes: New Adventures of Mark and Olly , explorer Mark Anstice and journalist Ollie Steeds travel to Western New Guinea. Upon arrival, they come into contact with the Kombai, a so-called stone age tribe whose first meeting with the modern world was only twenty-five years ago. (Discovery Channel) Their way of life has remain unchanged for more than ten thousand years. In actuality, there are numerous amounts of indigenous people who live in New Guinea. Furthermore, the people of New Guinea were the ones who set out and spread across the vast Pacific Ocean, settling in the multitude of islands in present day Polynesia. Why, unlike many of their neighbors (most notably the Aborigines of Australia to the south), have so many native Polynesian tribes survived to the present day? New Guinea is located in the southern hemisphere, east of the Malaysian and Indonesian archipelagos, between the South Coral Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is placed in the continent of Australasia, a combination of the words Australia and Asia. Australia consists of both the Australia and New Zealand land masses as well as the many island chains dotted all over the Pacific Ocean (except the Hawaiian island chain.) Australasia provides a “natural experiment” to showcase how geography has influenced population increases and decreases throughout history. Geographic variables such as climate, physical landscape and types of local plant and animal species all play a critical role in shaping population. Oceania is marked by thousands of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Understanding the diversity of these islands can take the scope of an encyclopedia. In terms of people and animals, Oceania perhaps contains one of, if not the most diverse areas on earth. Even the peopling of Oceania, with its numerous myths and theories can take up an entire book. Generally speaking, the peopling of Oceania did not begin until around 1200 B.C. when a group of fishermen from the Bismarck Archipelago north of New Guinea set forth eastward. The
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peopling of Oceania finished about 1,700 years later in A.D. 500, with the last few islands settled by A.D. 1000. (Diamond 55) The significance of the peopling is that all migration out towards the islands of Oceania stemmed from a single point. Thus, the ancestors of modern Polynesians share a common genetic heritage. Like identical twins, who are known to actually look different after living in different environments for extended periods of time, the development of the Papua New Guineans and the myriad Polynesians was affected by their environments and led to different outcomes for each group. The main competing theory for this idea of migration comes from Thor Heyerdahl. He believed that the currents of the southern hemisphere would have been too strong for a civilization that was not technologically advanced to sail against. In theory, Heyerdahl’s hypothesis makes sense. Due to the Coriolis Effect, ocean currents in the southern hemisphere flow counterclockwise.
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