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Dingoes Reached Australia More Recently Than Previously Thought

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Researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Australian National University have uncovered new evidence that dingoes arrived in Australia between 3348 and 3081 years ago – more recently than previously thought.

A more precise date for the arrival of dingoes in Australia is important as it answers questions about the relationship between dingoes and Aboriginal people, as well as the dingoes’ possible role in the extinction of animals such as the Tasmanian devil and Tasmanian tiger on mainland Australia.

The timing of the arrival of dingoes has been the subject of great debate, with estimates ranging from about 4000 years ago based on archaeological deposit dates to as much as 18,000 years ago based on DNA age estimates.

Now direct radiocarbon dates on dingo bones from Madura Cave on the Nullarbor Plain have allowed scientists to paint a clearer picture of when dingoes first inhabited Australia.

“The dingo is the only placental land mammal aside from rats, mice and bats to have made it over water to reach Australia prior to European arrival, and their arrival provides the only evidence of external visits by people to mainland Australia after first Indigenous settlement 65,000 years ago,” said Prof Jane Balme of UWA.

“Because Australia is separated from South-East Asia by water, with the minimal distance between the two more...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.