How evolving landscapes impacted First Peoples’ early migration patterns into Australia

May 02, 2024

New research led by the University of Sydney offers fresh understanding of the migration patterns of Australia and New Guinea’s First Peoples, and where they lived in the 40,000 years following humanity’s arrival on the then combined continent. Led by Associate Professor Tristan Salles from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney, the research model factors-in evolution of the landscape, driven by climate, during the time of human dispersal. This is a novel approach; previous studies of migration patterns have relied heavily on archaeological findings. “One aspect overlooked when evaluating how people spread across the continent is the evolution of the Earth’s surface which took place as people migrated,” Associate Professor Salles said. “Yet landscapes and landform are deeply engraved in Aboriginal culture.”

Predicted human presence across Sahul 35,000 years ago.

New research led by the University of Sydney offers fresh understanding of the migration patterns of Australia and New Guinea’s First Peoples, and where they lived in the 40,000 years following humanity’s arrival on the then combined continent.

Using a dynamic model charting the changing landscape, researchers have provided a more realistic description of the of the areas inhabited by the first humans to traverse Sahul: the landmass combining what is now Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. 

Led by Associate Professor Tristan Salles from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney, the research model factors-in evolution of the landscape, driven by climate, during the time of human dispersal. This is a novel approach; previous studies of migration patterns have relied heavily on archaeological findings.

“One aspect overlooked when evaluating how people spread across the continent is the evolution of the Earth’s surface which took place as people migrated,” Associate Professor Salles said.

“Yet landscapes and landform are deeply engraved in Aboriginal culture.”

The source of this news is from University of Sydney

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