THE DOGAN: DID ANCIENT ASTRONAUTS GIVE COSMIC KNOWLEDGE TO PRIMITIVE AFRICANS?
The Dogan are an ancient people of Mali in Northwestern Africa. Presumed by anthropologists to be root African humans, they inhabit an almost inaccessible, inhospitable desert south of Timbuktu and south of the Niger River on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert.
Because there are no paved roads, no electricity, no surface water and little contact with the outside world, the Dogan Territories in the Hombori Mountains have been called the "end of the earth." Indeed, the word Timbuktu - in the 16th century a thriving metropolis of a million Muslims and now reduced to a crumbling village of only 10,000 - is synonymous with barren desolation at the end of nowhere.
Anthropological studies by the French in the 1930s and more recently by British anthropologist Robert Temple, have revealed a stunningly complex and sophisticated Dogan society.
But what has amazed and mystified researchers most is the fact that the Dogan have a quite unusual and extensive knowledge of the star system Sirius.
For centuries the Dogan have held as their most sacred religious tradition a body of knowledge of the star Sirius which should be impossible for any primitive tribe to know.
They consider, for example, that the most important star in the sky is Sirius B, a small star that orbits the bright star Sirius. But Sirius B is invisible to the unaided eye and was only photographed via telescope for the first time in 1970.
Their ancient drawings show the Helical rising of Sirius with the Sun and Sirius joined together. They show the rings of Saturn and the four major moons of Jupiter as well as the elliptical orbit of the invisible star Sirius B around Sirius and relate that, not only is it a dense and heavy star, which it is now known to be - far more dense than earth - but correctly note that the elliptical orbit is completed once every 50 years, an event they celebrate at exactly the proper moment, even if only once or twice in a person's entire lifetime!
Robert Temple suggests that the only access a primitive African people could have had to such sophisticated knowledge of a distant and invisible star system would be through the visit to our planet in ancient times of extraterrestrial beings who somehow described and explained from whence they had come.
To add to the mystery are strange cliff dwellings that were carved into the Hombori mountains above the Dogan villages many centuries ago.
But the rooms are far too small for normal size humans to live in. Dogan legend has it that these dwellings were inhabited by a long-vanished people they call "the little blue men."
Was it from them that the Dogan received their remarkable knowledge of the cosmos?