The Dogon are a tribe indeginious to west Africa
. An anthropologist
named Marcel Griaule
went to live among them in the 1930's, and, according to his account, he ultimately became trusted enough by them for the priest
caste of the Dogon to reveal to him of Sirius A
, a star that can easily been seen in the heavens, and, more remarkably, its twin star, Sirius B
, which certainly cannot be seen with the naked eye. Supposedly, they said that a race of fishlike entities called the Nommo
came down from the Sirius
system and instructed the Dogon.
The Dogon and Sirius have been used to lend support to many semi-crackpot
theories, including ultra-intelligent, astronomy
crazy civilizers from Atlantis
, and, of course, aliens
(it seems like they keep showing up everywhere!).
There are some more conventional theories as to how the Dogons could have known about Sirius A and B. Some have argued that creating a telescope
is pretty easy, and the Dogons could have accidently made one, seen Sirius B, lost their knowledge of the telescope, and remembered Sirius B. If you ask me, this is pretty unlikely, although, of course, plausible. Another theory is that the Dogon learned of Sirius from Christian
missionaries, which is another fairly strange and unlikely theory--why is there no record of said missionaries, and why in heaven's name would they have told the Dogon of Sirius, even if they somehow someway knew?
The most convincing and most likely explanation is one far more likely than those previous, and, for that matter, Atlanteans or aliens: as Kamamer points out, in all likelihood, the knowledge was brought to the Dogon by Marcel Griaule, probably not even intentionally. Griaule was very interested in astronomy, and he actually took star maps and charts along with him on his trip in order to prompt the natives about their knowledge of the stars. Griaule definitely knew about Sirius B, and he may have simply been overenthusiastic about asking and prompting the Dogons. Furthermore, later anthropologists visited the Dogon in order to try to clarify this whole business. The only Dogon who knew of Sirius B were the people who originally told of it to Marcel Griaule, and when they were queried about it, their answers often were contradictory. It is most likely that this was simply a classic case of an overenthusiastic scientist finding the percise result he wanted to hear.