Category Archives: AUSTRALIA

Charred Leftovers Show What Food Australians Ate 65,000 Years Ago

Charred Leftovers Show What Food Australians Ate 65,000 Years Ago

Contaminants of different plant food aged between 65,000 and 53,000 years ago have been discovered in North Australia by researchers.

The remains, which are preserved as pieces of charcoal, were found in debris from ancient cooking hearths at Madjedbebe—a sandstone rock shelter thought to be Australia’s oldest Aboriginal site.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications, the scientists, with the help of local Aboriginal elders, were able to identify 10 different plant foods by analyzing the preserved charcoal. These included various fruits and nuts, palm stems and “roots and tubers.”

“We were able to recover small pieces of charcoal from the earliest layer occupation at Madjedbebe. These pieces represent the rubbish from people cooking and sharing meals at Madjedbebe, 65,000 to 53,000 years ago,” Anna Florin, an author of the study from the University of Queensland, Australia, told BBC. “They only preserved through chance.

These specific food scraps came into contact with ancient cooking fires and turned into charcoal. They represent the earliest evidence for the use of plant foods outside of Africa and the Middle East.”

“Identification is done by comparison of the ancient remains to modern reference material under very high-powered microscopy,” Florin said. “The modern reference material was collected on Mirarr Country in western Arnhem Land. Elders and co-authors May Nango and Djaykuk Djandjomerr identified the plants that might have been used in this area 65,000 years ago.”

The authors say the findings demonstrate that Australia’s earliest known human population consumed a range of plant foods, including those that required processing.

“By working with Nango and Djandjomerr, the team was also able to explain how the plants were likely used at Madjedbebe,” Florin said in a statement. “Many of these plant foods required processing to make them edible and this evidence was complemented by grinding stone technology also used during the early occupation at the site.”

“The First Australians had a great deal of botanical knowledge and this was one of the things that allowed them to adapt to and thrive in this new environment,” she said. “They were able to guarantee access to carbohydrates, fat and even protein by applying this knowledge, as well as technological innovation and labor, to the gathering and processing of Australian plant foods.”

The researchers say that the latest finds predate existing evidence for such practices in Sahul—an ancient continent which once comprised of Australia, New Guinea, Tasmania and the Indonesian island of Seram—by more than 20,000 years.

Some experts have suggested that the early movements of humans through the islands of Southeast Asia into Sahul were facilitated by access to high-calorie foods.

The Madjedbebe sandstone rock shelter.

“These results suggest that dietary breadth underpinned the success of early modern human populations in this region, with the expenditure of labor on the processing of plants guaranteeing reliable access to nutrients in new environments,” the authors wrote in the study.

“It was once thought that humans moved quickly and easily through Island Southeast Asia, eating a buffet of easy-to-catch marine resources,” Florin told BBC. “However, as this and other archaeological evidence is beginning to show, human populations in this region were deploying skillful foraging strategies to survive and move into new environments. The voyage of early modern humans through Island Southeast Asia and into Australia and New Guinea is one of the great journeys in human history.”

The ancient plant foods are just one of several significant discoveries that have been made at Madjedbebe. For example, the site contains evidence of the earliest grindstone technology outside of Africa and the first recorded use of reflective pigments anywhere in the world. Furthermore, the site is significant because it has pushed back the known timing of human movement into Australia.

“Madjedbebe continues to provide startling insights into the complex and dynamic lifestyle of the earliest Australian Aboriginal people,” Chris Clarkson, another author of the study from the University of Queensland, said in a statement.

Discover the Breathtaking Opal Gemstone Called ‘Rainbow Tree’ from Australia

Discover the Breathtaking Opal Gemstone Called ‘Rainbow Tree’ from Australia

Opal stones are always incredible to see, and this one is no exception.

This is a Boulder Opal that’s known as the ‘Rainbow Tree’ From Queensland, Australia and it’s pretty amazing. It’s so astounding to witness this natural piece of crystal, created from the Earth.

Most crystals, like this opal, are formed by the molecules in a liquid that hardens as they cool down. Gemstones like diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, are made from cooling magma that cools down slowly and then hardens.

We all remember that diamonds are highly sought after and this is mainly because they are harder to source than other more common stones.

Opal stones are also quite pricey, although, not as pricey as the rare types of diamonds out there. The price of an opal depends on what type of opal it is, as well as the quality and the size.

White opal isn’t going to be too expensive, but a darker opal will be more expensive since it can be laborious to find. Opal is mainly found in Australia in Lightning Ridge as well as in Coober Pedy, Mintabie, and Andamooka.

This beautiful crystal is made up of silicon dioxide and water mixed together, and as the water flows over sandstone, it ends up gathering silica and broken down fossils.

Then, the water evaporates and what’s left is pure silica which creates opal. Opal ends up having a very kaleidoscopic array of different colors and can look at the northern lights or even like the ocean in some cases.

Opal can be used in jewelry and some of the finest pieces are used in rings, earrings, pendants and more.

These beautiful iridescent stones are also used in natural therapies. The energy of opal stones can help to create harmony and balance in our own personal energy systems and meridians.

In massage therapy or reiki, crystals like opal can be placed around or on a person to enhance and balance their energy. People also collect crystals like opal to add to their home environments to bring the energy of the stone into their home.

Opal has been said to have an energy that can help those who are dealing with infections, fevers, PMS, and birthing. By holding the crystal, you may feel these subtle energies as you hold it, which can help you draw on your own strength.

Opal has also been appreciated as it increases creativity and self-expression, as well as implementing self-worth and self-esteem. Opal is also the birthstone for October and can be given as a gift to celebrate the 14th year of marriage. The word opal comes from the Sanskrit word Upala, which means precious stone.

Also, the Greeks called it Opallios, which means “to perceive a change of colour” and as you can tell by looking at it, opal does change colour in the light which is one of it’s best features and which is why people love it so much.

Holding opal stones up to the sun or light and moving the stone back and forth with unfold so many brilliant colours that will amaze you. Traditionally Greek people thought that opal would give a person foresight and better insight.

During the medieval ages, women with lighter hair would wear opal to prevent themselves from losing their hair and colour. Many people say that they sleep better when they have a crystal such as an opal under their pillow and that they have fewer bad dreams.

It never hurts to try it out, even on yourself.

If you don’t already have a love for crystals, you may just develop one and desire to start collecting some crystals of your own to treasure and enjoy.

40,000-Year-Old Tree Shows What Happened During Earth’s Last Magnetic Pole Reversal

40,000-Year-Old Tree Shows What Happened During Earth’s Last Magnetic Pole Reversal

Trees are living memorial statues, and we can learn a lot from their rings. A tree can tell you if the winter was wet or if the area was affected by hurricanes or fires.

One particular tree attracted the attention of everyone. It was found in Ngawha, on New Zealand’s North Island. According to experts, the tree had a record of a reversal of Earth’s magnetic field. It’s actually an Agathisaustralis, also known as “kauri.”

The tree was found during excavation work for the expansion of a geothermal power plant.

Ngāwhā Generation is a subsidiary of Top Energy. They gave the kauri tree back to iwi. Of course, they agreed to take samples and study the segments.

The tree was buried 26 deep into the soil. It has eight feet in diameter and 65 feet in length. According to its carbon dating, the tree lived for 1,500 years. The giant thrived between 41,000 and 42,500 years ago.

Alan Hogg, from New Zealand’s University of Waikato, notes that they have never seen anything like this. According to him, the Ngāwhā kauri is unique. The tree lived when the magnetic field almost reversed. The magnetic north and south went off but didn’t complete a full reversal.

Experts note that Earth’s magnetic field is generated by the iron in the core. It produces electric currents that go far into space. The field acts as a barrier that protects Earth from the solar wind. It’s actually a stream of charged particles from the Sun that may remove the ozone layer in case it affects the atmosphere.

When reversed, the magnetic field weakens and caused higher radiation from the Sun going through. Extinction events in the past are often linked to these magnetic field reversals.

The rings of this tree have a full record of a near-reversal. It’s the first tree that lived during the entire event and was eventually found.

Hogg said, “It’s the time it takes for this movement to occur that is the critical thing…We will map these changes much more accurately using the tree rings.”

In the past 83 million years, 183 magnetic pole reversals took place.

The kauri tree revealed during the expansion of the Ngāwhā Generation geothermal power plant.  Chris Turney from the University of New South Wales led the analysis of the tree. He is an expert in paleoclimatology and climate change. His research is funded by the Australia Research Council.

He said, “The precious thing is this huge, lonely tree grew for some 1700 years across a remarkable period in our planet’s history when the Earth’s magnetic field flipped some 42,000 years ago, a period known as the Laschamp Excursion. Funded by the Australian Research Council we’re undertaking detailed measurements of the radioactive form of carbon through the tree rings.”

Each process is completed in 7,000 years. Monika Korte, the scientific director of the Niemegk Geomagnetic Observatory at GFZ Potsdam in Germany explains that it’s a slow process in which the field strength weakens, and the field becomes more complex. It shows more than two poles for a while, and then becomes stronger and aligned in the opposite direction.

NASA explains that magnetic field reversals happen at random intervals. The reversals developed a pattern in the last 20 million years. One reversal happens once every 200,000 to 300,000 years. The last one took place around 780,000 years ago.

Scientists didn’t expect the magnetic north pole to move, but it did recently. They updated the World Magnetic Model which represents our planet’s magnetic field. The WMM is used by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.K. Ministry of Defense and many civilian systems.

“Because the Earth’s magnetic field has a major effect on how much radiocarbon is formed in the upper atmosphere, these precious analyses will allow us to investigate the magnitude and rate of change when the magnetic field reversed during the Laschamp; something not possible before and of great interest given recent changes in the Earth’s magnetic field,” Turner explained.

Earth’s oldest known meteor crash site found in Australian Outback

A 2.2-billion-year-old crater is Earth’s oldest recorded meteorite impact

Throughout its life, our planet has been pummelled by countless asteroids and comets – even more so than the crater-ridden Moon. Today, thanks to Earth’s continually changing surface, there are remarkably few scars left to tell the tale.

Australia’s relatively stable and ancient landscape not only harbours potentially the largest of those blemishes, but scientists now think it also contains the oldest… by a long, long shot.

“When the age came back at 2.229 billion years, that blew our hair back,” geochemist Aaron Cavosie from Curtin University in Australia told ScienceAlert.

“We’ve known about this crater for almost 20 years, but nobody realised it was the oldest until now.” The Yarrabubba crater is a massive indent in the Western Australian outback, roughly 70 kilometres wide (44 miles).

The impact was always assumed to be ancient, but modern geological dating suggests this particular case is over 200 million years older than the next oldest impact. If humans represent the tip of your fingernail on the timeline of your outstretched arms, this would place the Yarrabubba collision smack dab in the centre of your chest, roughly half the age of Earth.

Researchers drew the estimated shape of the vanished Yarrabubba impact crater over this Google Earth image of Western Australia. The structure may be part of the oldest known impact crater on Earth.

We know this because when the meteorite hit, it sent a high-pressure shock wave through the area, rattling atoms and damaging minerals on a minute level.

“After the shock wave passes through rocks, they are compressed like a spring,” Cavosie told ScienceAlert.

“When they release, the instantly heat up, to temperatures higher than that found in a volcano. This makes some rocks in the centre of impacts vaporise, while others just melt at high temperature, often over 2,000 degrees C (3,600 F). “

Uranium is steadily converted to lead at a known pace, but when these crystals are shocked and heated up, they are suddenly rid of all lead, re-setting the ‘isotopic clock’.

Winding back the billions of years on this timeline is notoriously difficult because it essentially requires a collection of tiny isotopic traces in the crystal structure of grain no more than the width of a hair. Luckily enough, Yarrabubba had just what the researchers were looking for.

“[The] crater was made right at the end of what’s commonly referred to as the early Snowball Earth, a time when the atmosphere and oceans were evolving and becoming more oxygenated and when rocks deposited on many continents recorded glacial conditions,” says the earth and planetary scientist Chris Kirkland from Curtin University.

This means that when the meteorite hit Earth over 2 billion years ago, it may very well have collided with a continental ice sheet, kicking up huge amounts of rock, ash and dust – like a major volcanic eruption.

Running simulations, the authors calculate this situation would spread between 87 trillion and 5,000 trillion kilograms of water vapour into the atmosphere. Since water is an efficient greenhouse gas, this might have helped modify the climate and thaw the planet.

This is just a potential scenario; the exact climate conditions of this time are still under debate. Even still, the authors argue that considering Earth’s atmosphere contained only a fraction of today’s oxygen, “a possibility remains that the climatic forcing effects of H2O vapour released instantaneously into the atmosphere through a Yarrabubba-sized impact may have been globally significant.”

Impact craters like this one are precious windows into Earth’s past, and yet there are only about 190 of these structures in the world, some of which are hard to differentiate from tectonic deformation.

Palaeoclimate scientist Andrew Glikson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that while he considered the team’s dating “excellent”, in his opinion the oldest known impact structure was in Greenland 800 million years earlier, although there’s currently fierce debate over whether this impact structure was actually made by a meteorite.

Regardless of the results of that debate, research on Yarrabubba shows that extremely old impact events may very well have affected our climate history on a large scale.

“These kinds of discoveries re-write pages in the history books, and inform us about the early evolution of Earth,” Cavosie told ScienceAlert.

“That feeling never goes out of style.”

Scientists discover humans may have been living in Australia for 120,000 years

Scientists discover humans may have been living in Australia for 120,000 years

When did the first people arrive in Australia?…did they follow the routes we’re told about?

Makes sense, doesn’t it?…coming down through Papua New Guinea, the Asian corridor to the top end of Oz, where we’re told the earliest evidence is found…but another site may push human migrations back even further…

A site filled with blackened stones in southern Victoria, Australia has raised the possibility that humans existed on the continent 120,000 years ago — twice as long as the previously established timeframe of early human life in the land “down under.”

Moyjil research has discovered a blackened stone, which scientists believe has been fractured by heat making it a possible hearthstone from a fireplace.

It seems when the topic comes up, it’s met with skepticism or almost claims of mental impairment…It’s safe to assume that anyone traveling, exploring or whatever to an unknown land would hug the coast…food is plentiful and fresh water can be found relatively close by…That’s where I believe the evidence would lie…think about it like this… you are at the beach all set up and the tide starts rolling in. What do you do?..you move further up the beach…

Some common counters are always along the lines of…show the evidence…it can’t be proven etc…and, to be honest, it’s probably a valid argument…but in some circumstances, the evidence may be difficult to produce…

As recently as 10,000 years ago…Tasmania was cut off from mainland Australia due to rising sea levels…

An example is a place an hours run south from Wollongong. During the ice age, the Shoalhaven and Crookhaven Rivers flowed across what is now the continental shelf. Silt deposits at the Nowra Bridge exceed 70 meters (with freshwater shells at that depth) and indicate that the river would have been flowing at the bottom of a 100m gorge.

The sea reached its present level approximately 6,000 years ago and from this time numerous archaeological sites survive…

In the past, scientific research suggestive of human habitation in Australia up to 120,000 years ago had been considered and then rejected.

Several habitation sites have produced discoveries pointing to a much earlier than expected period, but the controversy led to more conservative dating. The new finding should cause a rethinking of all relevant archaeological sites…

As far as I’m aware at no point has Asia and Australia been connected…or at least not recent enough as to allow a foot crossing…so at some point a sea voyage occurred, granted not a long one, but one all the same…

Research and analysis are still ongoing…but I think there’s a good chance a missing piece of the puzzle could be under the waves…

One other find of interest is a gene that potentially shows interbreeding with species not yet discovered…