Category: Australia

More than 40,000 years ago, Australia used to be home to many species of giant kangaroos. One, the
short-faced kangaroo, had a single-toed clawed foot (modern-day kangaroos have three toes), and weighed more than 260 pounds (118 kilograms, modern-day kangaroos reach only 200 lbs). And the short-faced kangaroo had a box-shaped head. A recent study of the short-faced kangaroo’s odd skull shape found that it was specifically adapted to eat
tough foods like mature leaves, stems, and branches when other food sources were scarce.

That makes the short-faced kangaroo very similar to the modern-day giant panda. They both have thick jaws, and specialized skulls, evolved for eating the toughest plants that other animals can’t.
When times are hard, the short-faced kangaroo and the giant panda both have a competitive edge.

One of the earliest sites showing Aboriginal occupation of northwestern Australia — dating to some 50,000 years ago — has been discovered at the Drysdale River catchment in the Kimberley region of Australia. They also found evidence of an early ax production industry at the Minjiwarra site, which had previously been interpreted as a dune feature indicating a break in Aboriginal occupation.

The “dune feature” is actually a sedimentary flood feature which built up over 50,000 years. It preserves early, intermediate and more recent occupation by Aboriginal people. Minjiwarra was settled even through the peak of the Ice Age 19,000 years ago, when environmental conditions were especially cold and dry.

Smallpox breaks out in Sydney, 1789.

Annette Kellerman demonstrating her diving skills at Glenelg baths, 1905.

A recent study, which compared various computer simulations, determined that the founder population must have had at least

  1. 300 people
  2. 1300 people
  3. 2800 people
  4. 4500 people

A laughing man in Australia, ca. 1900

via reddit

Aborigines whose language in the Yolŋu Matha linguistic family, in Australia, often practiced exogamy, marrying outside their group. This meant mothers and fathers would speak different languages of Yolŋu Matha – deliberately – so the child would grow up speaking at least two languages.

This was actually a good thing, because there are about six languages in the Yolŋu Matha family, some mutually intelligible, divided into about thirty clan varieties and perhaps twelve different dialects, each with its own Yolŋu name. Having groups where members could speak multiple languages presumably helped groups communicate, and survive.

Aborigines whose language in the Yolŋu Matha linguistic family, in Australia, often practiced exogamy, marrying outside their group. This meant mothers and fathers would speak different languages of Yolŋu Matha – deliberately – so the child would grow up speaking at least two languages.

This was actually a good thing, because there are about six languages in the Yolŋu Matha family, some mutually intelligible, divided into about thirty clan varieties and perhaps twelve different dialects, each with its own Yolŋu name. Having groups where members could speak multiple languages presumably helped groups communicate, and survive.

Refrigerators being manufactured in Australia, 1957

via reddit

Toowoomba motorcycles club, Queensland, Australia, circa 1933.