How Many "First Australians" Were There?

New research suggests ancestors of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Melanesian peoples arrived in a planned, coordinated migration. The mathemetical models used take three sets of data into account. First, fertility, longevity, and survival data from hunter-gatherer societies around the globe. Second, "hindcasts" of past climatic conditions from general circulation models -- basically the reverse of what scientists use to forecast future climate changes. Third, the long-established principles of population ecology. Combining these three, the scientists ran a number of simulations, to estimate how many people would have needed to arrive to found a sustainable Australian population.

The results suggest that the first Australians arrived with a settler population of at least 1,300 people. Any fewer than that, and they probably would not have survived, per the mathematical models. The probability of survival was also large if people arrived in smaller, successive waves, averaging at least 130 people every 70 or so years over the course of about 700 years. Either way, the settling of Australia was no accident. It was not one storm-tossed canoe washing up on a new shore. It was a planned and coordinated effort to migrate to a new homeland.

How long is this necklace?

Answer: just under 15 feet long (4.9 meters)! This Philippines “kamagi” necklace actually 12 necklaces strung together. The places where each necklace comes together is marked by small, colored stones. The individual necklaces are pretty impressive on their own. Because they are made of smooth, interlocking beads the necklaces are flexible, almost snakelike (as you can see in the second photo).

A Map of Australia's Languages (Before Colonization)

Australia once was home to 4% of the world's spoken languages. A lot considering the continent's relatively low population density.

As the FIFA women's world cup comes to an end, here is a map of all countries that have ever qualified for the tournament! Since the women's world cup was first held in 1991 there have been eight tournaments countries could have qualified for. Side note: countries that qualified due to being the host are counted for this map.

Earth During the Last Ice Age

Lake Chad was much larger, Indonesia was a minicontinent, and the Bering Land Bridge was walkable!

Feathers were highly valued in Hawai'i and were an important part of their religion. Feathers were used in representations of the gods. A high-status cloak made of feathers, called an 'ahu 'ula, was a marker of prestige and power. 'Ahu 'ula were worn with feathered helmets, or mahiole -- a chief would have been decked from head to toe in feathers! When Hawai'i became a kingdom in 1795, they were influenced by the monarchies of Europe, and eventually gave themselves a coat of arms. On it were two figures wearing red and yellow 'ahu 'ula and a mahiole.

Easter Island, called Rapa Nui by its inhabitants, is famous for its megalithic statues. A recent analysis in PLOS One of the statues’ distribution across the island suggests they were placed away from living areas and near freshwater sources. Water is a very limited resource on Rapa Nui. The analysis only tells of the connection between the statues and freswater sources. The reason why, the deeper meaning behind why the statues were placed near freshwater, can only be hypothetical now because it has been so long since the culture that created them vanished.

Aftershocks from Hawaii Island's largest earthquake, in 1868, continue to the present day. It was estimated to be a 7.9 on the Richter scale and the earthquake and resulting tsunami caused 77 deaths.

How Big Was That Empire?

Now you can compare all the largest empires that have ever existed, by geographic area. Thank you modern geography!

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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