How humans came to Australia

It was known from the discovery of thousands of stone artifacts and animal bones. They appeared in a cave on the island of Timor. This would explain how humans arrived in Australia. What was your route really?

Researchers from the Australian National University and University College London (UCL) dated and analyzed the artefacts and sediments. They were at the Laili rock shelter in north-central Timor-Leste. They detected a human “arrival signature” from about 44,000 years ago. This suggests that there were no humans on the island before that time.

There is a new theory about how humans arrived in Australia.
There is a new theory about how humans arrived in Australia.

Timor’s theory

“Unlike other sites in the region, the Laili rock shelter preserved deep sediments dating back to between 59,000 and 54,000 years ago. “They showed no clear signs of human occupation.” Dr Shimona Kealy from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific said so.

“We compared markers of human occupation from other sites in East Timor and the nearby island of Flores. We confirm that humans were also absent throughout the broader southern Wallacean Islands region. This is significant. “These islands were a gateway for ancient humans crossing into Australia.”

Co-author of the study is Professor Sue O’Connor. She said the island of Timor has long been considered a springboard for the first human migration. It was between mainland Southeast Asia and Australia and New Guinea. But the new findings challenge this theory. So how did humans get to Australia? «The absence of humans on the island of Timor before at least 50,000 years ago is significant. “These first humans arrived on the island later than previously believed,” she says.

Many objects found in caves gave the clue.
Many objects found in caves gave the clue.

New route

«The first humans arrived in Australia using the island of New Guinea, instead of the island of Timor. That’s what researchers previously thought.

“This prompts a reassessment of the route and timing of the earliest human migration through Wallacea and Sahul. “Migration to the islands was ongoing and occupation of the southern islands occurred thousands of years after initial settlement in Australia.” The research is published in Nature Communications.

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