Humans in Australia 80,000 years ago

Australia, being an island continent, would not have been an easy place to migrate to. If the first known inhabitants of our planet were in the area of Africa, visitors would have arrived by sea to reach Australia.

When scientists first stated that humans found there way to the continent as far as 60,000 years in the past, there was some skepticism. In contrast, humans were first purported to populate the Americas only around 15,000 years ago.

But now archaeologists have uncovered new evidence that could push the date of human habitation back even further, possibly as far as 80,000 years ago. This discovery could push back the human timeline, altering the believed path of human migration around the world.

The findings, unearthed from Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory, involves the finding of a huge cache of 11,000 artifacts.These included ochre and reflective paint, the oldest unbroken ground-edge stone axes in the world, by about 20,000 years, and the oldest known seed-grinding tools in Australia. The artifacts could have shifted around over the years, dating methods suggest the artifacts were older than 70,000 years.

If people arrived in Australia much earlier than previously thought, that must also mean the left Africa much earlier to have traveled their long journey through Asia and Southeast Asia, ending up in Australia. It also means a time of overlap with megafauna is much longer than before- by maybe 20-25 thousand years. It ends the idea that the Aboriginal people  wiped out the megafauna very quickly.

Australia was host to some gargantuan megafauna, large animals like massive diprotodons or marsupial lions. Since many were extinct around the time that humans were believed to have arrived, theorists assumed that humans wiped them out. Those theories can now be called into doubt if humans arrived much earlier. This also bolsters oral histories passed down through Australian aboriginal cultures which suggest that people have lived in Australia for much longer than previously believed.