Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sunday, Mar 4th, Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia


When I first became interested in the origins of man, the common theory was that all homosapiens (us) moved out of Africa about 60,000 year ago.  Then, finds in Central and Far East Asia, dated to 70-120,000 years, questioned the theory.  The current theory, confirmed recently with an examination of 5,000 teeth from even earlier skulls found all over the world, is that our earliest ancestors and our direct relatives all came from Africa in two main movements.

One took place between 2 million and 500,000 years ago.  This one involved mostly homoerectus and its cousins, and they ended up almost everywhere.  The second started about 200,000 years ago, and really accelerated at the 60,000 year mark - and involved homosapiens.  The early-leavers in the second group made it to Europe, Russia and China.  Those late-leavers in the second group made it all the way to Australia and Melanesia, using a landbridge through the Wallace line, which didn't submerge until about 8,000 years ago.

Along the way, they left the ancestors of the young woman (Deep Skull) whose 40,000 year old skull was found in Niah Cave in Northeastern Sarawak- where we went today.  It was a grueling bus to boat to trail six-hour hike (four of it inside a series of caves with flashlights and slippery footings).   Pat smartly bailed an hour into it (her knee is hurting).  I went on, slipped three times, and came back dripping wet with sweat. 

But it was the kind of adventure we all love, testing the limits of our patience and endurance, and allowing us to experience the environments in which our long ago ancestors lived.  Stone tools, bones, and cave paintings are what we crave to see in their natural environment.  No natural history museums for us, take me to where they lived.

We also got to see the current denizens of the cave.  Bats, millipedes, scorpions, starlets and their prized nests, and hundreds of unique trees and plants in the jungle along the way.  No crocodiles, though, the tide was too low.

Back at the hotel, Pat got a medical massage from one of our fellow travelers whose a nurse with chinese medicinal herbal skills.  I took a shower, and am hoping to avoid leg cramps.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Sunday, Mar 4th, Mirs, Sarawak, Malaysia.

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