Translation of Chapter 3 of "Myths and Genes" (Moscow: URSS Publishers, 2011)


Here we expose our understanding of how and when folklore motifs of Old World origin probably penetrated into the New World. African – Southeast Asian, Australian, Melanesian – South American parallels (Shed Skins, Rainbow Serpent, etc.) can be interpreted as the relics of the early out-of-Africa migration to the East (Australia reached 40,000 b.p.) and possibly at the same time as a particular early "stage" in development of mythology. Almost up to the end of Upper Paleolithic (about 12,000 bp, not calibrated), the Asian Pacific Belt was occupied by the people with protomorphic physical traits related to Australian aborigens and to Papuans as well as to the Pleistocene people which skulls have been found in Brazil, Colombia, Florida, possibly Patagonia. The relics of these people’s mythology survived in Australia – Melanesia, in Eastern South America and to a lesser degree in Tierra del Fuego. In North America, some motifs (at least the Loon-woman myth of the NE California) find spectacular parallels in South America and can be interpreted as isolated survivals of the same complex. The typically Melanesian mythologies are found across the New Guinea and Bismark Archipelago while Fiji largely reminds Polynesia. Australian mythology also demonstrates the New World parallels which look “archaic”, but it lacks others, known both in South America and in New Guinea.

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Available from: A. Korotayev