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History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings
news stories about archaeology from around the world together on one site.
From finds in ancient Egypt to new discoveries in anthropology, History
Buff wants to know. And feel free to stop by History Buff's
Author Interviews for Q&As with authors of historical fiction. Enjoy!
historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the
past as it's unearthed and reimagined and brought to life. I spend a
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Kangaroo Bones Could Solve Aussie Aborigine Mystery
By Brandon Keim
Aborigines arrived 45,000 years ago, spreading across the continent with startling rapidity. Then, in anthropological terms, they cooled their heels for the next 40,000 years: no significant population expansion. No fundamental changes in lifestyle.
That changed 5,000 years ago. Populations shot up. Settlements increased in number, and their inhabitants grew more sedentary. Scientists can't explain it.
"What's going on? Why change then? There's no obvious environmental or ecological correlate. There's no climate change," said Doug Bird, a Stanford University anthropologist who's helped devise an ingenious investigative workaround: kangaroo fossil analysis.
Bird's team recently published a study on "fire stick farming," a traditional method of ecosystem management still used by aborigines in Australia's Western Desert. By burning old-growth spinifex grass, making it easier to hunt lizards; cookpot-friendly kangaroos and emus fatten themselves on grasses flourishing on newly cleared lands.