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26 September 2016


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Today at Gembogl station an ancient Klinki Pine that has been standing in the middle of the station's playing field for generations will go down with a huge feast and celebration. No one knows exactly who and when the tree was planted there.

But ancient folk tales passed through generations was that the tree seedling was brought up from the Ramu over the Bismarck Range and planted there by a lady when rested there for the night. She later went on to settle at Womkama where she became the mother of the current Simbus.

Mathias Kin in his current book 'My Simbu' also mentioned Wokama as the source where many of current Simbus come from based on his interview with older people in South Simbu. He also covered the Womkama story too in his book. Although this is only a folktale the story of Womkama and the Klinkii Pine does have a link that ancient Simbus do migrate up from Ramu. My thoughts only.

I've read somewhere that the Enga migrated up from the Ramu and Sepik areas and either displaced or conquered the inhabitants of the area where they now live. Whether that was part of a circulatory migration pattern I don't know.

I think most places in the world were gained by invasion at some stage. I love those legends of the early inhabitants of Ireland Garry, the little dark Fir Bolg and then the big Tuatha de Danaan (the goddess Dana's people) who a lot of people say still live there in the shadows.

There were small people on Tasmania that were possibly a precursor population to the Aborigines. The Tasmanians, by the way, were in the process of decline when the first Europeans arrived, their technologies were going backwards, not forwards. Evolution apparently works forward and backwards.

Phil, - not trying to be facetious, but I can see your point.
At Kuk heritage site near Baisu in Hagen I remember talking with some of the experts at an open day and they were of the opinion that the people at Kuk who had been among the first gardeners in the world were the ancestors of the people who now inhabit the same area. They said there was evidence of continuity in agricultural methods etc.
I would think that Daniel's Engan ancestors had the ability to make stone carvings. the skill may have been lost, but it is not unknown for cultures to decline and rise again. While there is evidence of migration in the Hagen- Waghi area it was often of a circular nature, Jika and Yamka moving up from Nebyler, but maybe they had moved down decades earlier. Some of the Hagen tumbuna stories have references to Engan women.

We adopted the ‘Ambum Stone’ the stone carving of an anteater as our logo for the Enga Writers Association.

Anthropologists do not know what race of people had carved it as well as arrow heads, pestles and mortars found in the Enga Cultural Centre in Wabag.

The ancient people had probably used the pestles and mortar to ground seeds but where that race disappeared to is a mystery.

I am about the ninth generation as far back as I can trace my ancestry but beyond that it’s impossible to go any further. The current Engan race had dug the stone carvings out of the ground and had worshipped and offered pig sacrifices to them.

That distant Engan race which carved the stone objects on display at our cultural centre here in Wabag is a mystery yet to be uncovered.

Hi Phil,
I have worked with many knuckle draggers too and if you mentioned Dickens, Hardy, Hemingway, Orwell or Huxley the response was often "Who does he play for ?"

I still enjoy the quotation often attributed to Gore Vidal or George Bernard Shaw or Oscar Wilde...." America is the only nation to go from barbarism to decadence and bypass civilization"

The existence of a 'breathe easy' gene among Melanesians explains a lot Garry - or are you being facetious too.

While presuming that some of the comments here referring to Neanderthals are made with a sense of humour or sarcasm added, it can be noted that the original study referred not only to Neanderthals but also to “Denisovans”. This Denisovan genetic variant that many Melanesians inherit is a genetic variant that helps Tibetans breathe easy at high altitudes. This variant is also found among some Han Chinese.

Do those with a higher Neanderthal percentage end up in politics or the police or do they come from a completely different line of evolution?

There's too much money business going on in those two professions.

And every now and then we get some primate aping on the top seat like a self-ordained king.

What is meant by civilisation? PNG can be proud of its ancient cultures, its ancient agriculture, but I think that civilisation is a loaded term.

I was once at a graduation in Hagen where the late Fr Robert Lak, then Governor or WHP, was the main speaker. We knew each other well and were good friends.

During his speech Fr Robert told the assembled crowd that they should be proud of their culture. Referring to the scientific findings at Kuk agricultural research station, Fr Robert told his audience: "Do not forget, our ancestors were gardeners and had agriculture when Fr Garry's ancestors were still living in caves!"

My turn to speak came later. Some of the audience who did not know us well wondered if I was upset by Robert's remarks. I said, "Fr Robert spoke the truth your ancestors were gardeners before my ancestors."

And I added with a smile, "But my ancestors discovered Whiskey before your ancestors!" (The word Whiskey comes from the Gaelic "Uisce Beatha"). They laughed.

I'm afraid I have to disagree.

I know lots of non-Africans who carry much more than 1 - 6% of Neanderthal DNA.

I can give you names and addresses if you are interested.

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