AUSTRALIA

Aboriginal - Arrival Of The Dingo

 
Some time after 6000 years ago, the dingo appears in Australia and new small tools are added to the existing tool kit. dingoes were certainly introduced from Asia, probably deliberately but possibly as castaways, and dingo bones first appear in faunal deposits between about 3500 and 4000 BP. The origin of the new small tools is more debatable. The concept of the 'Australian small tool tradition' was first developed in the 1960s, in seeking an appropriate name for the 'microlithic' industry of Puntutjarpa, and was eventually used to describe those tools considered small enough to require hafting. Included within the small tool tradition are backed blades, points, tulas and burren adzes. These tool types vary considerably, both in terms of geographic location and the timing of their appearance. It is generally agreed that these small tools were added to the existing Australian tool kit some time between about 6000 and 4000 BP, but there is much debate about the exact chronology, distribution and origin of each type. They may have been independently invented in Australia or may have derived from diffusion of ideas and possibly migration of people from outside. Why were the dingo and distinctive, new small tools suddenly added to all Australian industries except those on Tasmania and other distant offshore islands, and why are different new tools found in different parts of the continent? Was Australia completely isolated from Asia after the rising of the seas, or did new people migrate to or visit the island continent, adding fresh elements to Aboriginal culture?
 
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Stone tools, the historical documents from which prehistory is written, will be discussed first. The outstanding feature of the new small tools is the symmetry and delicate trimming of tiny, slender blades made from fine-grained stone.   
 
POINTS
 
 
Stone points are generally presumed to have been hafted onto the tip of a spear as projectile points. They occur with trimming on one or both faces (unifacial or bifacial) but one variety does not predate the other, since at some sites, such as Yarar in the Northern Territory, they are in use simultaneously.
 
The evidence from the Yarar rock-shelter showed that unifacial and bifacial pointes were of similar dimensions, averaging 3.5 centimetres in length. The function of both would seem to have been as spear points. Among the broken points there were far more butts than tips, indicating that spears with the tips broken off were rehafted in the shelter, where the broken butt was discarded. They are small enough to have been arrow tips, such as those found so widely in North America, Asia and other parts of the world, but thee is no evidence that the bow and arrow ever reached Australia. It was certainly not visible in Australia in the eighteenth century when Captain Cook arrived, whereas stone-tipped spears were still in use then in northwestern Australia. The bifacial points of the Kimberleys range from less than 3 centimetres to over 10 centimetres long; they are all spear points, and museum examples exist of 3-centimetre-long stone points hafted onto a spear handle, with only 2 centimetres projecting out of the gum hafting. such tiny spear points would be less likely to shatter on impact than the longer variety.
 
Symmetrical, pressure-flaked bifacial points with serrated edges belong particularly to the Kimberleys and Arnhem land, and many are works of art. They were traded long distances, suggesting they were regarded more as status and ritual objects than as utilitarian spear points. Indeed, in historic times some magnificent specimens have been made from glass and porcelain, the porcelain coming from insulators on the overland telegraph line - which soon lacked many of its insulators. Such finely made Kimberley stone points were used 1000 kilometres away to circumcise boys in the desert. Other symmetrical points, such as the unifacially trimmed 'pirri' typical of south Australia, were confined to prehistoric times, and Aborigines, when consulted about their function, had no knowledge of what they wee and deemed them to have been made in the Dreamtime (figure 15.2).
 
Points occur in a broad vertical band across the centre of the continent, but are absent from the western coast and rare on the eastern. In contrast, from the west to the east of the continent, south of the tropical monsoon belt (apart from a few isolated finds in Cape York and the Top End of the Northern Territory), there is a concentration of a different, distinctive new tool type: backed blades. Dortch's claims of backed blades at Miriwun in the Kimberley were rejected after inspection as 'probably varieties of abruptly trimmed points'.
 
Backed blades are tiny blades, or 'flakelets', which have one edge blunted by steep retouch to form a back, resembling a miniature pen knife (figure 15.3). Many different forms have been distinguished on the basis of small variations in shape, but they are usually divided into just two main varieties. Bondi points and geometric microliths. Bondi points are named after Bondi Beach, where they were first discovered in 1899, they are slender, asymmetrical backed blades, tapering to a point, more than twice as long as they are wide. Geometric microliths are broader and are made in a wide range of geometric shapes, such as triangles, trapezoids and half-circles. Both varieties of backed blade are usually 'microlithic', which means 'small stone' and refers to a tool of less than 3 centimetres in the longest dimension. They also appear to have similar functions. Their major function, it has been suggested, was as spear barbs, mounted in rows on the sides of the shafts of 'death spears'. In historic times death spears wee used in fighting and hunting and were lethal weapons that caused great loss of blood. when they penetrated the victim's body, often they could not be extracted except by being pushed right through (figure 15.4)
 
A few death spears survive in museums, and they have as many as forty stone barbs, generally set with gum into grooves on the sides of the shaft. The barbs are made of sharp, unbacked quartz flakes, without secondary working. Archaeological evidence (from sites such as Sassafras and Currarong) suggests that about 2000 years ago, backed blades gradually disappeared, while the use of quartz flakes increased. It seems probably that earlier versions of death spears were barbed with backed blades. This interpretation is supported by the huge number of backed blades found, which is consistent with their use in rows rather than as individual tools, and by two discoveries. In excavations at Graman, backed blades were found and that they still retained traces of hafting gum on the thick, blunted back. And at Seelands, two-thirds of the excavated geometric microliths had one end broken off, a type breakage consistent with their use as spear barbs.
 
Death spears wee used right across the south of the continent in historic times, the same region in which backed blades are found in huge quantities, although the distributions of death spears and backed blades elsewhere in Australia do not exactly coincide. In the south of Australia, backed blades are very common. The excavation of Curracurrang rock-shelter, south of Sydney, produced over 1000, and in the days before legislation made private collecting of Aboriginal artefacts illegal, one collector found 7000 in an area of 2 to 3 square kilometres of sand dunes at Kurnell on Botany Bay, and another collected 20,000 from a small area near Lake Torrens in South Australia.
 
Points and backed blades were often hafted to form composite tools. The term 'composite' here refers to the fixing of small stone flakes and blades into a handle, generally by means of a groove, hafting gum or twine. Thus the small tool tradition is characterised by the introduction of composite tools, which are added tot he existing tool kit. The use of hand-held tools continues; there is technological evolution, not revolution. 
 
ADZE FLAKES
 
Some existing tools became much more widely used at this time. In particular, the use of adze flakes increases. These may be an Australian invention. Small, flaked stone adzes or adze flakes are woodworking 'chisels (figure 15.5) and are not to be confused with the large ground and polished adzes found in Asia and the pacific, which were never part of the Australian tool kit. Adze flakes have continued in use to the present day in the Western Desert, where Aborigines use these chisel tips set in spinifex gum on the end of a stout handle or a spear-thrower, to shape hardwoods like mulga into shields, dishes and the like. There are two sorts of adze flake: the 'tula', on which retouch and use-wear occur on the edge opposite the striking platform (the distal end), and the 'burren adze', on which use occurs on the lateral edges. 'Tula' is the word used by Wongkonguru Aborigines of the Lake Eyre region of south Australia for this type of adze. The two forms of tula adze (figure 15.5) were originally thought to be two different tools, but then it was discovered that the smaller, step-flaked one was the worked-out 'slug' of the original tool, which gradually became smaller and smaller with constant resharpening. Where stone is in short supply, tools are resharpened again and again until they become too small to use and are discarded.
 
Adze flakes appear in late Pleistocene horizons at two sites in Western Australia at Puntutjarpa, about 10,000 years ago, and in 12,000-year-old layer of Devil's Lair (one specimen). however, these are not the classic tula adzes nor are they worn-out adze 'slugs'. In fact, they resemble small, steep-edged scrapers. So there is as yet no good evidence for a Pleistocene antiquity for the distinctive woodworking adzes characteristic of the drier parts of Australia over the last few thousand years. The typical tool of Aboriginal desert people, the tula adze is largely confined to aid Central Australia, but some found in southeast Queensland, for example at Caloola with bifacial points, are interpreted by McNiven as resulting from diffusion (information flow) from inland regions. The burren adze is more widely distributed, occurring on Cape York and the east coast. The adze flake was probably an Australian invention, to solve the problem of working the tough timbers of the desert.
 
TOOL DISTRIBUTION AND CHRONOLOGY
 
After considerable homogeneity in technology in Pleistocene Australia, there is a bewildering diversity over the last 5000 years. New tools appear and others that were rare before suddenly become common. Thus ground-edge axes are found all over mainland Australia (but not Tasmania) during the last few thousand years, trimmed thumbnail scrapers occur in some Pleistocene industries but become much more widespread in the small tool phase. There is great regional cultural diversity, but apart from the association of the tula adze with desert regions, it is impossible to equate different tools with different environment. If particular tools were developed to cope with particular environments, why are backed blades so numerous on the coast of New south Wales but not on the Queensland coast? And why are they also found in great quantities in the arid salt desert of South Australia but not in the Tanami Desert of Central Australia? And why are stone points so abundant in the Kimberleys and Arnhem Land, but not in the similar tropical environment of Cape York?
 
It is equally difficult to equate the use of these tools with cultural or linguistic groups, and their distribution bears no apparent relation to known major culture areas. Culture areas are regional groupings of interacting Aboriginal societies possessing broadly similar languages, social organisation and customs, material culture and art styles, ways of life and environment (figure 15.6). There is a general correlation between culture areas and major drainage basins, which has been explained by Peterson on the grounds that a drainage basin is unified by its river system and bounded by its watershed; the water supply determines plant cover and hence available food and Aboriginal population density.
 
ORIGIN OF THE NEW ELEMENTS
 
It has been widely believed that there were one or more migrations of newcomers into Australia, 4000 to 5000 years ago, who brought new tools together with the dingo, which first appeared on the continent at about the same time. Much of the speculation over the last two decades about such migrations has been based on very little evidence, and much of it has been found to be wrong. Since 1975, the dates of three key events have been revised: the time of the first appearance in Australia of backed blades, of points, and of the dingo. It is time to take a fresh look at the whole question of the origins of these new elements that appeared in Australia after the rising of the sea.
 
Until recently it was thought that the dingo was in Australia by 7500 years ago, the point industry by 7000, and backed blades by 6000, but it has now emerged that all these dates are too high. The dingo's arrival was dated from the presence of a few fragments of bone in the lower levels of the Mount burr rock-shelter in south Australia, sandwiched between layers that, in the jumble of rocks and cracks in the deposit, a few pieces of bone could well have fallen into an earlier level. Moreover, there were only a few fragments of dingo bone in the lower level, in contrast to an abundance of it in the higher, younger levels.
 
Klim Golan, who did his Ph.D. on the dingo, has examined and rejected the Mount Burr evidence. The earliest dates then for the dingo in Australia cluster between 3500 and 3000 BP, and Gollan considers its absence from Devil's Lair significant, where the whole deposit predates 5000 BP. Dingo bones are associated with backed blades and unifacial pebble tools in Wombah Midden on the north coast of New south Wales at 3230 BP, and dingo remains in Madura Cave on the Nullarbor Plain in Western Australia date to 3450 BP. A date of 3170 BP has been obtained for dingo at Fromm's Landing on the Murray River, again associated with backed blades. It is not known how long it took the dingo to spread across the continent, but Gollan estimates a maximum lag time of 500 years from its first entry in the north, which he therefore puts at probably not before 4000 BP. (The dingo's spread may in fact have been much quicker, since the fox, once introduced into Victoria, took only sixty years to reach the Kimberley coast on the other side of the continent.)
 
The chronology of point technology has been the subject of recent debate. Bowdler and O'Connor argued in 1991 that recent evidence from the West Kimberley indicated an emergence of the small tool tradition thee at around 4500 BP, while in the East Kimberley it occurred rather later, with dates in the order of 3500 BP. (In the Victoria River district between the Kimberley and Arnhem land research work has suggested they appear around 3000 BP.) Bowdler and O'Connor concluded that 'data from the Kimberley suggest that the Australian Stone tool tradition in this part of Northern Australia dates to no earlier than 4500 BP, and that is inception is probably associated with the introduction of the dingo. This seems to us to be in agreement with data from elsewhere in Northern Australia, and indeed Australia generally. The only piece of evidence apparently to the contrary is that from Nauwalabila I in Kakadu National Park. It is believed that this evidence is not only aberrant, but also that it could be subject to reinterpretation, which would bring it into line with the evidence presented here.' However, whilst the 7000 BP dates for the first occurrence of points in Arnhem Land have now been re-evaluated, they are still in the order of 5000 years, and that from Nauwalabila I is almost 6000 BP.
 
In several Arnhem Land sites excavated by Scrire, there was a clear change in the sequence from a core tool and scraper industry in the lower sand to an upper shell midden containing remains of estuarine animal species and points. At first the change in industry was equated with the change in environment: the appearance of points at sites like Nawamoyn and Malangangerr was originally correlated with the base of the midden dated to 65000 to 7000 years. Further analysis of the data has revealed that the first points do not appear until halfway up the middens, some 4000 to 5000 years ago. This agrees with their appearance in the Tyimede 2 site at about 5000 BP, and points appear in a variety of other sites, from Queensland to south Australia, between 5000 and 4000 years ago. However, at one Kakadu site, Nauwalabila I, the first point is in spit 27, dated to 5860 =- 90 B). This is only 5 centimetres below charcoal from spit 24, which gave a date of 4040 +- 100 BP, and Bbowdler and O'connor have argued that there was downward displacement of artefacts through treadage and scuffage, as has been found at some other sandy sites. The excavators, Rhys Jones and Ian Johnson, on the contrary, maintain that 'no deep site has been excavated with such precision', that there has been no loss of stratigraphic integrity, and that the appearance of the first point in the sequence is accompanied by other associated technological changes. This stand-off has been resolved by an elegant analysis by Hiscock, who has shown that the distribution of points at Nauwalabila I reflects sampling factors, and that small sample size affects the likelihood of spit containing rare artefact types such as points. Only 1 square metre was excavated. Points are a very rare artefact form, with no points being found in spits with fewer than 500 artefacts, whether about, below or between spits which do contain points. The probability of points being present relates directly to sample size, and it is possible that points may have been in use well before their appearance in spit 27, in view of the small assemblage sizes at those levels. In other words, the lowest point gives only a minimum agree for the introduction of that implement type, it it can be ascertained whether or not vertical displacement has occurred. Once cannot make any assumptions that absence of points in the lower levels of a small test excavation indicates a real absence of that implement type. This caution applies to Widgingarri and other sites on which Bowdler's argument is based and, equally, to trying to estimate the timing of the initial occurrence of backed blades.
 
Independent invention of backed blades in southeastern Australia has been proposed on the grounds that the largest numbers and oldest dates come from there, and the dates tend to be younger further from Sydney, suggesting that they diffused from eastern New South Wales. However, the concentration of backed blades in the southeast may simply reflect the greater number of sited excavated there. Almost 70 per cent of backed blade dates come from New South Wales, although that State represents less than one-seventh of the area of Australia over which they are distributed. Another factor that argues against local invention of backed blades in southeastern Australia is the lack of any prototypes from which these new tool types might have developed. Instead, they are suddenly added to the flakes and core tools of the earlier industry. The nearest things to prototypes from which these new tool types might have developed. Instead, they are suddenly added to the flakes and core tools of the earlier industry. The nearest things to prototypes for backed blades in Australia are the small tools found in some late Pleistocene sites, such as Miriwun in Western Australia.
 
New items do appear in Australia relatively suddenly more than 4000 years ago, for which thee are no obvious local prototypes. One of these new elements was the dingo, which must have come from overseas, and when we turn to Asia, we find not only the possible original homelands of the dingo but also possible prototypes for backed blades and points.
 
ORIGIN OF THE DINGO
 
After studying the dingo for several years, Professor Macintosh of Sydney University concluded that 'its ancestry and affinities remain enigmatic'. Later, a study by Gollan suggested that the dingo resembles the Indian dog much more closely than any from southeast Asia. The Indian pariah dog looks like a brother, or at least a cousin, of the dingo. In fact, the closest affinities to the dingo Gollan found were the skeletons of prehistoric dogs from India, such as those from Burzahom in Kashmir, and in particular the domesticated dogs from the Indus civilisation city of Harappa, dating from 3500 to 4000 years ago.
 
In 1985, Dr Laurie Corbett of the CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology published eight ears of research on more than one hundred canid skulls from Asia. His verdict was that the Australian dingo, far from being unique, is virtually indistiguishable from the wild dogs found throughout South and Southeast Asia, which are all descended from the Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes).
 
When the dingo was brought to Australia, it was domesticated or semidomesticated; Gollan believes that 'About 4 thousand years ago a founder population of domestic dogs was introduced into Australia. These dogs were the genetic base for the subsequent feral population of Dingoes.' The major role of dingoes seems to have been the use of their pups as pets by adults, as a release for the affection and nurturing behaviour that would normally be lavished on children. In an environment that could not support a large human population, and where babies who could not be fed had to be killed, a woman who had recently lost a child or who was barren or beyond the age of child-bearing would carry a dingo pup wrapped around her waist. At night the dogs also served as a blanket, and a very cold night in outback Australia is still called a 'five dog night'. In Central Australia, on cold desert nights, when the temperature often drops below freezing point, Aborigines depended greatly on their dogs for warmth.
 
Dingoes also have an important place in ritual and mythology, and several coastal middens, such as Kioloa and Murramarang in New South Wales and Mallacoota in Victoria, contain burials of dingoes, evidence of the value and status of at least some. Dingoes wee habitually taken as pups from the wild, to which they would eventually return. They did not create the dog overpopulation problem that modern Aboriginal camps have suffered since the acquisition of European hunting dogs, for these latter dogs never return to the wild and the dog population continues to increase. The effect of the importation of the dingo was profound. It can scarcely be coincidence that the other main carnivores, the thylacine and the Tasmanian devil, became extinct on the mainland after the dingo's arrival there, but survived in Tasmania, which the dingo never reached. The thylacine would have been no match for the dingo, which has been known to kill even German shepherd dogs in pre-mating fights. They would also have been competing for the same prey, and this may well have been the main cause of the extinctions.
 
INVISIBLE ARRIVALS:
LANGUAGE AND TECHNOLOGY

It has been suggested that the distribution of Aboriginal languages in Australia can best be explained by an influx of new people 4000 to 10,000 years ago, speaking a language termed by linguists 'proto-Australian', from which modern Aboriginal languages are descended. However, there is no sure way of telling whether proto-Australian was brought to Australia with the dingo about 4000 years ago or was spoken at Lake Mungo 40,000 years earlier.

There were about 250 distinct Aboriginal languages, usi8ng the criterion that who forms of speech that are mutually intelligible should be considered dialects of one language. Sadly, more than half these languages are no longer spoken, and only about twenty are still being learned by children. almost all belonged to the same language family - Australian - in the same way that most of the languages of Europe and western Asia belong to the Indo-European family. Thus two languages could be as different from each other as Russian and English and still belong to the same language family. within an Aboriginal language there would often be several different dialects, which could be understood by other speakers of the language, usually the contiguous neighbouring groups. This situation compares with Scandinavia, where Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible dialects of one Scandinavian language.

All but two or three Aboriginal languages have now been shown to be descended from one ancestral stock: proto-Australian. Australian languages have been classified in a variety of different ways, but it is agreed that the languages of southern Australia are very similar, whereas there is much more diversity in the extreme north. The languages of nine-tenths of the continent have been grouped together and termed Pama-Nyungan, after the words for 'man' at the northeastern and southwestern ends of the linguistic region.

Similarities between languages are assessed by comparing grammar, vocabulary and the sounds used. For example, although grammatically very different, the non-Pama-Nyungan languages of Arnhem Land and the Kimberley region are genetically related to Pama-Nyungan, with which they share similar verbs and sound systems. both derive from one ancestral language (proto-Australian), but non-Pama-Nyungan languages have developed in a different direction and undergone more radical changes. Only two languages show no links with other australian languages: those of the Djingili of the Barkly tableland and the Tiwi of Bathurst and Melville Islands. Tasmanian languages are inadequately recorded, but there is no evidence that Tasmanian was not a language of the Australian family.

Languages outside Australia have been examined by a number of linguists, but little has emerged suggesting possible links with Australia. In Papua New Guinea there are several dozen language families, with a total of 800 or 900 languages (about 20 per cent of all the languages in the world), but none of these languages appears to be genetically related to the Australian languages. The only suggested links with Australia that deserve to be taken seriously are the Dravidian languages of southern India. similarities between Australian and Dravidian languages were noticed as far back as 1856 by Bishop Caldwell. There are remarkable superficial similarities, especially in the sound system, but a thorough study suggests no genetic connections. In fact, it is probably impossible ever to demonstrate a genetic connection between Australian and any other language family, since languages change at such a rate that after 3000 to 4000 years of separation, genetic links are no longer visible. for example, over only the last 2000 years the original language of France, Gaulish, was replaced so completely by Vulga Latin, the language of the invading roman army and the ancestor of modern French, that the existence of Gaulish would be unknown were it not for the records - written in Latin - of the conquest of Gaul.

In summary, almost all the 250 modern Aboriginal languages are genetically related and are descended from a single ancestor, called proto-Australian. There is no way of telling whether proto-Australian was spoken by the earliest Australians or introduced by later migrants, but it was probably spoken over a much longer time than proto-Indo-European. Thus, although proto-Australian could have been introduced with the dingo about 4000 years ago, it is more likely that it was the language of the original Pleistocene colonists, and that the great diversity of modern Aboriginal languages developed as the colonists spread over the continent. If so, the development of Aboriginal languages would mirror that of tool types, as there is considerable uniformity over the continent in early times but great diversity later. And some of the differences noted in the languages of Arnhem Land and the Kimberley region may reflect influences on these tropical Australians from their Asian neighbours. No evidence exists of any connection between proto-Australian and any sister language in Asia, but the time involved means that languages that were originally similar could by now have changed out of all recognition.  

CONCLUSION

The dingo was imported into Australia some time between about 4000 and 3500 years ago, most probably about 4000 years ago. The most likely provenance is south or southeast Asia. Domesticated or semidomesticated dogs could well have been taken by traders in their canoes, for as long as 8000 years ago there was a well-developed trading network in the southeast Asian region. The presence of microliths in the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, 270 kilometres from the nearest land, implies that a marine network had developed also in the Indian Ocean. Thus contact between the Indian subcontinent and Australia could have been by way of a series of islands, such as the Andamans and Java.

The appearance of the dog and of specialised small tools in Australia but the absence of Neolithic elements, such as pottery and food production, suggest that the main migrations were in pre-Neolithic times, from a society of hunter-gatherers rather than cultivators. The different distribution of backed blade and point industries in Australia can be neatly explained by two main migration routes: one through Australia's north in the region of Arnhem land by people using stone projectile points, and the other via the northwest coast by people using backed blades. The latter would be a natural landfall for people coming from the Indian Ocean, so the Indian subcontinent may have been the original homeland of both Australian backed blades and the dingo. The point industries could derive from the same source, or could have filtered down from Japan and northeast Asia, where projectile points were widespread in late Pleitocene times.

Those who believe in an independent Australian origin for the specialised new tools have suggested that the small tools of Sulawesi and java might be the result of migration from Australia, rather than the other way round. while migrations are not necessarily just a one-way phenomenon, the idea of such exports from prehistoric Australia seems rather far-fetched in view of the extremely limited range of Aboriginal watercraft in historic times. pacific voyages, in contrast, had large outrigger sailing canoes and reached Tonga and Samoa by 5000 years ago. The wide and apparently rapid spread of backed blades across Australia may be best understood, according to Peter White and Jim O'Connell, as a 'stylistic phenomenon analogous to Solutrean points in the French Palaeolithic or Clovis and Folsom points in northern America. The extraordinarily rapid spr4eaad of the new tolls throughout Australia and their local variations in size, shape, raw materials and numbers are all compatible with this idea; so too is the fact that both major classes (points and backed blades) occurred over almost the entire range of Australian environments, though not throughout any major environmental zone ... some factor other than pure economy is necessary to explain this.

One factor not mentioned by Whaite and O'Connell is that both backed blades and points are parts of composite weapons of warfare, that is, death spears and stone-tipped spears. New weapons tend to spread faster than other artefacts, and it is probably no coincidence that the spear-thrower, or woomera, seems also to have made its first appearance in Australia bout the same time as the new small tools. Indeed, roger Luebbers has suggested that the development of the new stone tools may have been directly related to the adoption of the spear-thrower, since points and backed blades would have made better spear tips and barbs than simple flakes. The spear-thrower, which increased the distance a spear could be thrown to more than 100 metres, was probably invented independently within Australia, and its distribution and chronology merit further investigation .

It is also probably no coincidence that these new weapons appear at the time the sea had risen to drown huge tracts of land. About 2.5 million square kilometres of continental shelf around Australia were lost to the hunters, but the effects on the Sunda shelf were particularly dramatic. Here, a peninsula the size of India was suddenly turned into the world's largest archipelago. The tremendous loss of territory, particularly if it happened fairly rapidly, may well have been what triggered migration and conflict, bringing new technology, new tools and new ideas to Australia, and at least two dingoes. There is no evidence for a great influx of new people, and the new elements were added to the traditional Australian way of life, changing but not radically transforming it.  

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