According to a new study, early humans penetrated the Australian Outback 10,000 years ago. From what researchers deducted, the settlers first took over the coastal regions of the continent, slowly advancing to the wilder interior.
During an excavation mission of an ancient rock shelter, a team of researchers unearthed new evidence that indicates that early humans penetrated the Australian outback earlier that it was theorized. The team is excited about the discovery because it shows an unprecedented technological level for humans during the later Pleistocene era.
Scientists established that humans first set foot on the Australian continent approximately 50,000 years ago. However, the rate at which they dispersed on the new territory is still up for debate, most theories saying that the early settlers opted for a coastal route for thousands of years before daring to enter the wild interior of the continent.
The coast was a friendlier landscape as opposed to the wilder, more arid interior, or so the researchers thought. Now, after the Warratyi excavations, experts have reasons to believe that it only took settlers 1,000 years to reach the Australian outback as some of the tools unearthed were over 49,000 years old.
Thanks to the excavation, researchers now know that the daring settlers used gypsum pigments, red ochre, and even advanced bone tools. The team in charge of the digging believes that the new evidence is a game changer.
“This refutes previously held views concerning the timing of cultural and technological innovation for late Pleistocene Australia,” the paper reads.
The findings could also explain the connection between the extinct Australian megafauna and the Aboriginal humans. Animals like the Genyornis newtoni and the Diprotodon optatum fell prey to the Pleistocene humans, their remains being unearthed alongside the primitive tools.
The megafauna was not the only one to suffer because of the humans’ presence. A previous study claims that the Australian outback looked entirely different in the Pleistocene, the now arid wasteland being filled with lush forests. The authors of the paper suggested that the humans burned the flora, contributing to the extinction of plenty of species.
By unearthing more evidence sustaining the theory that Pleistocene humans penetrated the Australian outback more than 49,000 years ago, the researchers are finding it easier to link human presence to the disappearance of the megafauna that populated the remote continent.
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