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Kakadu find confirms earliest Australian occupation

Kakadu find confirms earliest Australian occupation

Picture by Dominic O'Brien. Copyright Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation 2015.

A discovery by a team of researchers, led by ARC Future Fellow, Associate Professor Chris Clarkson from The University of Queensland, has revealed Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 65,000 years—much longer than the 47,000 years believed by some archaeologists—promoting discussion about the timing and ways that modern humans first left Africa.

The researchers, comprising of a team of archaeologists and international dating specialists, found new evidence at the Madjedbebe site on Mirarr land within the Jabiluka mineral lease, surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.

Dating carried out by ARC Future Fellow, Professor Zenobia Jacobs at the University of Wollongong, has revealed that Aboriginal people lived at Madjedbebe at the same time as extinct species of giant animals were roaming around Australia, and the tiny species of primitive human, Homo floresiensis, was living on the island of Flores in eastern Indonesia.

The research, funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Projects grant, has been published in the Nature journal.


Media issued by The University of Queensland.

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