The "Best Case" for Alien Astronauts...

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A review of what always seemed to me the most intriguing case for the idea extraterrestrial intelligence visited the earth in ancient times. Never mind Erich von Daniken, whose enthusiasm for the mysterious played fast and loose with interpretation and historical context... here's the Nommo.

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The "Best Case" for Alien Astronauts...

  1. 1. The “best case” for ANCIENT ASTRONAUTS
  2. 2. Certainly NOT Erich von Daniken...
  3. 3. ...or even more recent “ancient technological civilization” enthusiasts
  4. 4. The Dogon The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, near the city of Bandiagara. The population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000. The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. The past century has seen significant changes in the social organization, material culture and beliefs of the Dogon, partly because Dogon country is one of Mali's major tourist attractions.
  5. 5. Anthropologists From 1931 to 1956 the French anthropologists Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen studied the Dogon. In 1946 Griaule spent thirty- three days in conversations with the Dogon wiseman Ogotemmêli, the source of much of Griaule and Dieterlen's future publications.
  6. 6. They reported that the Dogon believe that the brightest star in the sky, Sirius (sigi tolo), has two companion stars, pō tolo and ęmmę ya tolo.
  7. 7. IT DOES – or at least one. Sirius is a binary system (two stars). We can see ‘Sirius A’, Sirius B is a white dwarf invisible to the naked eye. “The problem of knowing how, with no instruments at their disposal, men could know the movements and certain characteristics of virtually invisible stars has not been settled, nor even posed.” – Griaule.
  8. 8. The Sirius Mystery Robert Temple’s 1976 book The Sirius Mystery argues the Dogon's system reveals precise knowledge of cosmological facts only known by modern astronomy: Sirius is part of a binary star system whose second star, Sirius B, a white dwarf, takes 50 years to complete its orbit. The existence of Sirius B had only been inferred to exist through mathematical calculations in 1844. Temple then argued that the Dogon's information, if traced back to ancient Egyptian sources and myth, indicated an extraterrestrial transmission of knowledge of the stars. Importantly, neither Griaule nor Dieterlen had ever made such bold claims.
  9. 9. The Nommo The Nommo are ancestral spirits described as amphibious, hermaphroditic, fish-like creatures. Folk art depictions show humanoid upper torsos, legs/feet, and a fish- like lower torso and tail. The Nommos are also referred to as “Masters of the Water”, “the Monitors”, and "the Teachers”. The Dogon reportedly related to Griaule and Dieterlen a belief that the Nommos were inhabitants of a world circling Sirius. They descended from the sky in a vessel accompanied by fire and thunder. After arriving, the Nommos created a reservoir of water and subsequently dove into the water. The Dogon legends state that the Nommos required a watery environment in which to live.
  10. 10. "We have in the Dogon information a predictive mechanism which it is our duty to test, regardless of our preconceptions. “If a Sirius-C is ever discovered and found to be a red dwarf, I will conclude that the Dogon information has been fully validated." - Robert Temple
  11. 11. In 1995, gravitational studies indeed showed the possible presence of a brown dwarf star orbiting around Sirius (a Sirius-C) with a six- year orbital period.
  12. 12. Deep Breaths
  13. 13. Walter van Beek In a 1991 article in Current Anthropology, Walter van Beek concluded after his research among the Dogon: "Though they do speak about sigu tolo they disagree completely with each other as to which star is meant; for some it is an invisible star that should rise to announce the sigu [festival], for another it is Venus that, through a different position, appears as sigu tolo. “All agree, however, that they learned about the star from Griaule”
  14. 14. Is the supposed "advanced" astronomical knowledge of the Dogon a mixture of over- interpretation by commentators and cultural contamination? The Dogon had more than one opportunity to come into contact with travelling astronomers.
  15. 15. Objections "The obviously advanced astronomical knowledge must have come from somewhere, but is it an ancient bequest or a modern graft? Although Temple fails to prove its antiquity, the evidence for the recent acquisition of the information is still entirely circumstantial.” – James Oberg James Clifford notes that Griaule sought informants best qualified to speak of traditional lore, and deeply mistrusted converts to Christianity, Islam, or people with too much contact with whites. Griaule's daughter Genevieve Calame-Griaule argued Van Beek did not go "through the appropriate steps for acquiring knowledge" and suggested his informants may have thought that he had been "sent by the political and administrative authorities to test the Dogon's Muslim orthodoxy."
  16. 16. Epilogue: Whatever A more recent study using advanced infrared imaging concluded that the probability of the existence of a triple star system for Sirius is "now low" but could not be ruled out because the region within 5 AU of Sirius A had not been covered.
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