NOW

Newly Discovered Aboriginal Artifacts Tell Fascinating Story About Hunting Giant Animals

The bones of some really big animals have been found in an undisturbed rock shelter.

03/11/2016 11:48 AM AEDT | Updated 03/11/2016 3:20 PM AEDT
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
AFP / Getty / Digitally altered
This is a diprotodon in the Flinders Ranges. Would you fight it?

The bones of fearsome megafauna have been found in an undisturbed Aboriginal rock shelter dating back 49,000 years.

The find in the arid Flinders Ranges shows that not only were Aboriginal Australians settling the outback 10,000 years earlier than previously thought, they were also already using ochre, and bone and stone tools.

But let's get back to the megafauna.

Above you can see a diprotodon optatum. It's almost four metres long and while it ate shrubs, we wouldn't want to take it on. After all, wombats can be pretty darn persistent when they want to take a bite out of you.

In the shelter, which is still being excavated, they also found egg shells from the Genyorni bird, which is shown to scale with a human below.

STR New / Reuters / hemis.fr via Getty Images/ Digitally altered
Would you take eggs from this bird?

Eggs bennedict anyone?

La Trobe University research archaeologist Giles Hamm told the ABC it was a surprise as previously, there was no strong evidence megafauna interacted with humans.

"We didn't expect it -- I had no idea," Hamm said.

"I thought it was originally a red kangaroo because I thought it was the thigh bone. There was no way we expected to find a giant, extinct megafauna in that deposit. We had never found that before in Australian rock shelter sites. It was quite an extraordinary moment."

Hamm said they'd only excavated one fifth of the shelter and had uncovered thousands of artifacts including this sharpened bone tool which is now Australia's oldest bone tool.

Giles Hamm

More On This Topic

Advertisement
Advertisement