Human Origins Recede in Australia

By Bower, Bruce | Science News, September 28, 1996 | Go to article overview

Human Origins Recede in Australia


Bower, Bruce, Science News


People go way, way back Down Under. That, at least, is the contention of scientists who have uncovered preliminary evidence that humans lived in Australia far earlier than previously thought, sometime between about 116,000 and 176,000 years ago. What's more, the researchers report having found the oldest known artistic renderings, with an estimated age of 58,000 to 75,000 years.

Humans may have traveled over water from Southeast Asia to Australia when an ice age lowered sea levels and narrowed the gap between those land masses, prior to 135,000 years ago, assert archaeologist Richard L.K. Fullagar of the Australian Museum in Sydney and his colleagues. Fullagar's group presented its findings at a press conference last week in Sydney and is slated to publish them in the December Antiquity.

Until now, investigators had placed the earliest human occupation of Australia at around 60,000 years ago. The oldest art had been considered a set of 33,000-year-old cave paintings in France (SN: 1/28/95, p. 52).

"These [new dates] are surprisingly early for a human presence and the making of rock art in Australia," remarks Christopher Chippindale, an archaeologist at Cambridge University in England and the editor of Antiquity. "More work will need to be done to confirm the dates."

Fullagar and his coworkers have conducted excavations since 1992 at a northwestern Australian site called the Jinmium rock shelter. A massive stone wall there contains thousands of small, circular engravings arranged in rows.

The group dated sediment at the site with thermoluminescence, a technique in which soil samples are heated to measure the amount of radioactive energy they have accumulated over time.

Stone artifacts, including some with sharpened edges, and starch grains turned up in soil sandwiched between dates of approximately 116,000 and 176,000 years old. More stone implements and starch remains, as well as red ochre, appeared in sediment dated to 75,000 to 116,000 years old.

The excavations also uncovered a fragment of sandstone containing circular engravings like those on Jinmium's huge stone wall. This find dates to the period from 58,000 to 75,000 years ago, making it the oldest rock art in the world, Fullagar contends. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Human Origins Recede in Australia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.