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Accuracy of dating using science

From: Bharadwaj, Jaganath (
Date: Fri Mar 13 1998 - 10:41:43 PST

Here is a piece from the BBC, which gives us food for thought, before we
decide to wholeheartedly accept contemporary scientists' dating for the
Azhwars and Acharyas.  


Scientists have found fossils and stone artefacts in Indonesia which
they think could have belonged to the earliest sea-faring humans. 

The findings, published in the scientific journal, Nature, push back the
dates for human water-crossings by as much as 800,000 years. 

The stone tools were discovered on the island of Flores in east
Indonesia by archaeologists from the University of New England. 

They expected them to belong to our modern ancestors - early homo

Only intelligent humans could possibly have crossed the 25 kms of deep
water that separated the east coast of Bali and the island. 

<Picture: [ image: Skull of homo erectus]>Skull of homo erectus.  But
using sophisticated dating techniques, the scientists found that the
tools were at least 800,000 years old and must have belonged to our much
earlier ancestors, homo erectus. 

The BBC science correspondent said although homo erectus was not
normally credited with much in the way of intelligence or technical
skills, the archaeologists think that these early humans must have been
resourceful enough to build sea-worthy craft, probably from bamboo, and
use them to make repeated crossings to and from the island. 

Until this discovery it was thought that the first human seafarers were
homo sapiens - and the earliest sea crossings were thought to be the
colonisation of Australia from Indonesia only about 40,000 years ago. 

The archaeologists think that scientists have severely underestimated
the capabilities, intelligence, and language of homo erectus, and that
it is now time to re-assess the facts, and possibly re-write the