Clarkson, Chris, Ben Marwick, et al: Buried tools and pigments tell a new history of humans in Australia for 65,000 years

Chris Clarkson, Ben Marwick, Lynley Wallis, Richard Fullagar & Zenobia Jacobs

Buried tools and pigments tell a new history of humans in Australia for 65,000 years‘, The Conversation, 20 July 2017 updated

A report of work in the Kakadu area which pushes the date of the earliest humans in Australia back from 47 000 to 65 000 years ago. The work was done in coooperation with the Mirarr people.

Thousands of artefacts were found and studied along with rock art and pigments used in painting, and fragments of vegetable matter used as food. The artefacts ‘indicate that the earliest Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia were innovative people who – like humans everywhere on earth – developed solutions to new problems and engaged in symbolic and artistic expression’. The evidence suggests it is possible that humans co-existed with megafauna.

The significance of the study of early humans in Australia is clear:

Australia is the end point of early modern human migration out of Africa, and sets the minimum age for the global dispersal of humans. This event was remarkable on many fronts, as it represented the largest maritime migration yet undertaken, the settlement of the driest continent on Earth, and required adaptation to vastly different flora and fauna.

The piece is a summary of a report (paywall) in Nature. More from ABC News, Fairfax, Guardian Australia, Nine News.

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