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Author Topic: Archaic Australian Crania  (Read 2104 times)
Robert Henvell
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Posts: 124

« on: May 21, 2009, 08:21:07 PM »

The robust,archaic Coobool Creek,Kow Swamp [ca 16.8-8.4Ka],
WLH 50 [ca14Ka] and Cossack [ca 6.0Ka] skulls are anomalous,
when compared to the older WLH 1,WLH3 and Tasmanian crania.
Stimulated luminescence measurements dated the sediments by
the Kow Swamp remains and cultural material to ca 22-17Ka [T
Stone,2003].This method does not record the date of the burial.

Kow Swamp skulls have flat receding foreheads,thick vaults,
heavy supra orbital ridges and prognathic faces.Some mandibles
have huge teeth and jaws [A Terne,1977].Kow Swamp 1 and5
have been cited as evidence for the cultural modification of the
frontal bone [A Durband,2009].S Webb[in J Flood,2001] suggests
that replacement of the exterior and interior tabular bone of the
massive WLH 50 skull with diplasic tissue might be related to
genetic disorder.It could have been  defense against malaria.
Regardless of the pathological change WLH 50 has very robust
cranial characteristics [A Durband,2009]. C Stringer [1991]
noted that WLH 50 had affinities with Qafzeh/Skhul skulls.
The cranial morphology of Cossack man,which was recovered
In the warm climes of NW Western Australia,shares a number
of features with the Kow Swamp specimens [J Flood,2001].

T Stone [2003] proposed that the struggle for survival during
The LGM had altered the characteristics of the Kow Swamp
and Coobool Creek skulls.This is difficult to rationalize.There
is no definitive of cranial change among Tasmanians during
the LGM.New Guinea highlanders  have robust features,
heavy bones,and strong supraorbital ridges.They share some
traits in common with Qafzeh/Skhul,Patagonian Tierra del
Fuegens,and a number of the more archaic Australian crania
P Ferdinando [2002].The Talgai skull from SE Queensland
belongs to a 15 year old male,who suffered a severe blow
to the head ca 11??Ka.The reconstruction of the crania
is sub-standard.The rugged archaic skull is robust with a
retreating low forehead and prognathic face.His palate and
teeth are very large.Deformation may have emphasized
these traits [Macintosh,1967].

Ca 18-16 Ka the New Guinea mountain valleys above 3700m
asl were glaciated.Snowline and pollen data imply that
temperatures in the highlands were 8-10C lower than and about
1-2C lower in the lowlands [B Mark,2005]The harsher climate    
Conditions “might” have motivated  a group of New Guinea
Highlanders to begin a long trek southward towards Kow
Swamp [blatant speculation].
DNA analysis tends to lend minimal support to this premise.
Most of the genetic studies infer an ancient common
ancestry between the earliest colonists of Australia and New
Guinea.G Hudjashovet [2007] identified an mtDNA
Kalumburu,north Queensland,sample,which exhitited most of
The basic mutations,that are characteristic of haplogroup Q.
This lineage  is deemed to have arrived in Australia from New
Guinea before rising sea level severed [ca 8Ka] the landbridge
between the two countries.

If anyone has sighted detailed cranial information on New
Guinea highlanders,could they please supply a reference or
article.Any comments on the above would be appreciated.


Palanth Member
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Posts: 59

« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 06:15:23 PM »

Sorry, I have not studied the early New Guinea/Australian crania. However it might be pertinent to your research to review some of the papers by Marta Lahr @ Cambridge. She has studied some possible causes for 'cranial robusticity'. Somewhere I have one of her papers discussing robusticity versus latitude in Patagonia/Tierrs del Fuego.
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