Australian Prehistory: New Aspects of Antiquity

Science  05 Jan 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4375, pp. 21-28
DOI: 10.1126/science.203.4375.21


Human occupation of greater Australia occurred by 50,000 years ago, probably through deliberate voyaging by a small group of people. Later migrations, if any, are unlikely to have significantly changed the original genetic and cultural make-up While early Aborigines may have hunted extinct megafauna, the data do not support a rapid "Pleistocene overkill" hypothesis. Finally, aspects of Australian Aboriginal economy, especially plant utilization, and technology—the small tool tradition, ground stone hatchets and boomerangs—are of considerable antiquity and probably originated locally.