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The First Boat People
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The First Boat People concerns how people travelled across the world to Australia in the Pleistocene. It traces movement from Africa to Australia, offering a new view of population growth at that time, challenging current ideas, and underscoring problems with the 'Out of Africa' theory of how modern humans emerged. The variety of routes, strategies and opportunities that could have been used by those first migrants is proposed against the very different regional geography that existed at that time. Steve Webb shows the impact of human entry into Australia on the megafauna using fresh evidence from his work in Central Australia, including a description of palaeoenvironmental conditions existing there during the last two glaciations. He argues for an early human arrival and describes in detail the skeletal evidence for the first Australians. This is a stimulating account for students and researchers in biological anthropology, human evolution and archaeology.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; Prologue; 1. Going to Sunda: Lower Pleistocene transcontinental migration; 2. Pleistocene population growth; 3. From Sunda to Sahul: transequatorial migration in the Upper Pleistocene; 4. Upper Pleistocene migration patterns on Sahul; 5. Palaeoenvironments, megafauna and the Upper Pleistocene settlement of Central Australia; 6. Upper Pleistocene Australians: the Willandran people; 7. Origins: a morphological puzzle; 8. Migratory time frames and Upper Pleistocene environmental sequences in Australia; 9. An incomplete jigsaw puzzle; Appendices; References.

About the Author

STEVE WEBB is Professor of Australian Studies at Bond University, in Queensland, Australia. He has previously carried out a pioneering palaeopathological study of Aboriginal health patterns prior to European colonisation, and has previously published Paleopathology of Aboriginal Australians (1995; ISBN 0521 460441). His research now concentrates on Australian regional human evolution, reasons for the extinction of Australia's megafauna, Upper Pleistocene migration and the earliest human settlement of the continent. His particular focus is on palaeoenvironmental change accompanying the last two glaciations in Central Australia to understand more fully megafaunal extinction in the region, and the timing of the first human entry into Australia.

Reviews

Review of the hardback: 'Steve Webb is an excellent expert of the Australian Biological Anthropology. The First Boat People concerns how people travelled across the world to Australia. It traces movements from Africa to Australia, offering a new view of population growth at that time, challenging current ideas and underscoring problems with the Out of Africa theory of how modern humans emerged. A most interesting book which describes all facets of the topic.' Journal of Comparative Human Biology

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