July 16, 2012 | David F. Coppedge

Boat Men or Float Men

Alleged human ancestors may have drifted to islands without boats, an evolutionist claims.

Hominins did not need boats to settle island,” wrote Jeff Hecht at New Scientist.  He was thinking about the ancestors of The Hobbit, Homo floresiensis.  But the suggestion of “hominins” drifting out to sea on flotsam to islands without planning to do so could extend to true humans like Neanderthals, too, even though they had access to boats 100,000 years ago in the evolutionary timeline.  “The new finding suggests that in both cases the hominins could have reached the islands without boats.”  How exactly? – “hominins may have arrived as castaways, carried on floating debris after floods.

Lest readers find the hypothesis of two guys from UK hopelessly implausible, Hecht reminded them that other evolutionists have suggested that’s how rats got to the islands of Indonesia.  Small elephants might have swum across the channel.  The short article did not refer to any examples in recorded history of castaways floating on debris from floods or tsunamis and landing on islands, ready to start building a new civilization.

One problem with the idea is getting enough fertile couples to arrive simultaneously to establish a stable population.  You need about five young couples to get a population going for 500 years.  Robinson Crusoe was a dead end, in other words; so was the Swiss Family Robinson.  To overcome the problem, the two guys from UK suggested “throwing in between one and four additional castaways every 50 years” to increase the odds.

Evolutionary anthropologists sure don’t give our ancestors much credit.  If Neanderthals didn’t learn from the last castaways to stay out of the storm, they deserved the Darwin Award for vacationing by accident on the Isle of Debris.  Actually, if those members of Homo were like the ones we know, they would have established shipping lanes for a lively seafaring trade with the islanders in short order – no tens or hundreds of thousands of years required, no need to throw in more castaways every 50 years.

Exercise: count the weasel words in the article: may have, suggests, could have, etc.

 

 

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