News of the WeekArchaeology

New Date for the Dawn of Dream Time

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Science  21 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5418, pp. 1243-1245
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5418.1243

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LAKE MUNGO, AUSTRALIA-- A team of researchers claims that a skeleton found here in 1974 represents the oldest human remains ever found in Australia. In the June issue of the Journal of Human Evolution, the team puts the age of the skeleton at 62,000 years. If correct--and some experts are withholding judgment until they see the paper--the date would mean that human beings had reached Australia tens of thousands of years earlier than some archaeologists had thought. It also has implications for the history of modern humans.