Scientists from Australian National University tested a skull found in northern New South Wales in late 2011, revealing it to be from a Caucasoid male born around 1650—much too early to be a part of Cook's expedition. Australia was first sighted by European explorers in early 1606 by the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon. Over the rest of the century, there are records of several Dutch expeditions exploring the northern, western, and southern coasts—but not the east. (Some writers claim that the Portuguese may have discovered Australia earlier, but they offer no definitive proof.)
Could the Dutch, or some other European power, have explored the eastern coast of Australia before Cook's 1770 voyage? Or can the skull be explained away?
- "White man's skull has Australians scratching heads," AFP
- "Mysterious Caucasian skull found in Australia challenges the country's history of colonization," New York Daily News by Carol Kuruvilla