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TOPIC: The First Australians


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Native Aussies observed "supernova-impostor" event in 1800s

A new study has supported the assertion that aboriginal Australians were active observers of the night sky and incorporated significant astronomical events into their oral traditions.
In their paper, astronomers Duane Hamacher and David Frew from the Macquarie University present strong evidence that the Boorong people near Lake Tyrell in northwestern Victoria observed a "supernova-impostor" event in the 19th century, which they incorporated into their oral traditions.

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The oldest ground-edge stone tool in the world has been discovered in Northern Australia by a Monash University researcher and a team of international experts.
Evidence for stone tool-use among our earliest hominid ancestors dates to 3.4 million years ago, however, the first use of grinding to sharpen stone tool edges such as axes is clearly associated with modern humans, otherwise known as Homo sapiens sapiens.
Monash University archaeologist and member of the team who made the discovery, Dr Bruno David said while there have been reports of much older axes being found in New Guinea, the implements were not ground.

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Title: Comets in Australian Aboriginal Astronomy
Authors: Duane W. Hamacher, Ray P. Norris

We present 25 accounts of comets from 40 Australian Aboriginal communities, citing both supernatural perceptions of comets and historical accounts of bright comets. Historical and ethnographic descriptions include the Great Comets of 1843, 1861, 1901, 1910, and 1927. We describe the perceptions of comets in Aboriginal societies and show that they are typically associated with fear, death, omens, malevolent spirits, and evil magic, consistent with many cultures around the world. We also provide a list of words for comets in 16 different Aboriginal languages.

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emu1b.jpg

Australia's oldest painting?
A red ochre depiction of two emu-like birds with their necks outstretched

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Scientists say an Aboriginal rock art depiction of an extinct giant bird could be Australia's oldest painting.
The red ochre painting, which depicts two emu-like birds with their necks outstretched, could date back to the earliest days of settlement on the continent.
It was rediscovered at the centre of the Arnhem Land plateau about two years ago, but archaeologists first visited the site a fortnight ago.

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In a new development set to rock the scientific world, artefacts found in the path of a proposed bypass could be twice as old as previously thought.
A group of Australian archaeologists have discovered a tribal meeting ground that could be further south than any other ancient human habitat to date. The discovery of the remains, that preliminary estimates show could be at least 40,000 years old, would give the scientific world a unique glimpse of a previously unknown period of human occupation this far south on the planet.
The Tasmanian site, which encompasses a series of trenches north of Hobart, along the Jordan River levee, appears to have been used by Aboriginal tribesmen.

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Evidence of what could be Australia's earliest human occupation has been found on the fringe of desert in the country's remote northwest, archaeologists said Tuesday.
Peter Veth, of the Australian National University, said an artefact dated at between 45,000 and 50,000 years old found near the shores of Lake Gregory could be the start of a 25-year study into Australia's first humans.

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Australia Found By The 'Southern Route'
Genetic research indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology have found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines.
Dr Raghavendra Rao worked with a team of researchers from the Anthropological Survey of India to sequence 966 complete mitochondrial DNA genomes from Indian 'relic populations'.

"Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother and so allows us to accurately trace ancestry. We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Indian tribes we sampled that are specific to Australian Aborigines. This shared ancestry suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called 'Southern Route'".

Source: BioMed Central

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Megafauna demise blamed on humans
A fossil study of the extinct giant kangaroo has added weight to the theory that humans were responsible for the demise of "megafauna" 46,000 years ago.
The decline of plants through widespread fire or changes toward an arid climate have also played into the debate about the animals' demise.

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Marsupial Lion
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In a new study, researchers have found ancient rock art depicting the extinct marsupial lion found in the Kimberly region of Western Australia, which hints at what the extinct beasts may have looked like, and suggests that they co-exited with early Australians.
The Marsupial Lion is an extinct species of a carnivorous marsupial mammal that lived in Australia from the early to the late Pleistocene (1,600,000-46,000 years ago).

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