In DepthPaleoanthropology

Ancient Australian goes home

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Science  17 Nov 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6365, pp. 853
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6365.853

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In 1974, in the bone-dry Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Site in Australia, scientists stumbled on a human skeleton in the dunes of long-vanished Lake Mungo. Dating revealed that “Mungo Man” was up to 42,000 years old, pushing back the first aboriginal habitation of Australia by tens of thousands of years. Now, the celebrated skeleton is going home. Capping a decadeslong custody battle, an aboriginal funeral service hearse set off on 14 November from the Australian National University in Canberra—where the remains were kept since their discovery—on a 700-kilometer drive across the outback to Willandra Lakes. There, they will be turned over to three tribes, which will decide whether to inter the remains or store them and allow research on the bones to continue.