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Bonebed in India and Malays on the sail

25 March 2012

At http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2012/03/graveyard-of-prehisto… … Indian sources report the discovery of a fossil graveyard of repltiles embedded in a layer of mudstone in central India. There are hundreds of fossilised bones from the Upper Triassic in the bonebed – reptiles that thrived prior to the emergence of the dinosaurs. Palaeontologists suggest they had gathered near a river when a flash flood drowned them. When the waters receded the bodies lost their flesh and their bones were percolated by water to account for the dismemberment that can be seen. One other way of looking at it would be a catastrophic flood event that churned the water and disarticulated the bones as interestingly the greater part of the deposit is formed of fossil vegetation and tree trunks.

At http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2012/03/indonesian-eves-colon… … ocean riding Malays and Indonesians reached the Maldives and Sri Lanka and some of them seem to have sailed further to the west, reaching landfall in Madagascar, the huge island off the coast of Africa – as recently as 1200 years ago. In other words, they were riding the currents of the ocean at the same time Vikings were striking out across the North Atlantic – a coincidence?

Anthropologists have been fascinated by Madagascar, the Malagasy Republic, since Europeans first ventured into the Indian Ocean. It was not people until a late date – and was closely followed by a population explosion. Scientists say they have traced mitochondrial DNA back to just 30 Indonesian women – and these people travelled 8000km to get there. A much smaller biological contribution came from nearby Africa. The settlement, it is thought, began around 830AD, during the period of the Srivijaya Empire in Sumatra. Malays from SE Asia were also involved – but the language has antecedents in SE Borneo. They brought to Madagascar rice, bananas, yams, and taro, the xylophone, and outrigger boats. The possibility is that the currents carried them beyond their destination in the Indian subcontinent and they ended up on Madagascar unintentionally. Of course it could have been a purposeful act of colonisation of an unoccupied land but they could hardly have gone to Madagascar on a trading mission as it was empty of humans.

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