Navigation Links
Climate change nothing new in Oz
Date:9/23/2013

While we grapple with the impact of climate change, archaeologists suggest we spare a thought for Aboriginal Australians who had to cope with the last ice age.

"The period scientists call the Last Glacial Maximum, or LGM for short, is the most significant climatic event ever faced by humans on this continent," Associate Professor Sean Ulm from James Cook University in Cairns said.

Research recently published in the Journal of Archaeological Science sheds new light on the ways Aboriginal civilisation met the challenges of extreme climate change during the Last Glacial Maximum, which peaked around 20,000 years ago.

"The magnitude of change was phenomenal," said Professor Ulm, a lead researcher on the project and Deputy Director of JCU's Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science.

"Lakes dried up, forests disappeared, deserts expanded, animals went extinct and vast swathes of the Australian land mass would have been simply uninhabitable."

Annual temperatures plummeted by as much as 10 degrees below present-day levels, with massive reductions in rainfall. Glaciers appeared in the Snowy Mountains and Tasmania.

"This was a time of massive change," Professor Ulm said. "Sea levels fell more than 120 metres during the LGM, exposing much of the continental shelf and connecting mainland Australia to Papua New Guinea and Tasmania."

Australian researchers from James Cook University, the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales teamed up with colleagues from Oxford University in the United Kingdom and Simon Fraser University in Canada to use advanced geospatial techniques to analyse archaeological radiocarbon dates from across Australia.

"We are trying to understand how people responded to these extreme conditions," Professor Ulm said.

The researchers found that during times of high climatic stress, human populations contracted into localised environmental 'refuges', in well-watered ranges and along major riverine systems, where water and food supplies were reliable.

Co-leader of the study, Alan Williams from the Fenner School of Environment and Society at The Australian National University, said surviving the last ice age required Aboriginal communities to adapt to massive change.

"As much as 80 per cent of Australia was temporarily abandoned by Aboriginal people at the height of the LGM, when conditions were at their worst," he said.

"Along Australia's east coast, people contracted to refuge areas with good water supplies most likely the result of increased summer snow melt coming off mountain ranges like the Victorian Alps, or glacier-fed river systems such as those of the central highlands of Tasmania."

Professor Ulm said that while those better-watered areas would have provided more reliable resources, Aboriginal people needed to make significant changes to their way of life in order to survive.

"The archaeological evidence reflects major changes in settlement and subsistence patterns at this time," he said.

"Many previously occupied areas were abandoned.

"There were changes to hunting practices, the types of food people were eating, and the technologies they were using, to deal with new circumstances.

"We expect there would have been huge impacts on social relationships and religious beliefs as well, but these types of changes are much harder to detect in the archaeological record.

"One thing we can say for sure is that extreme climate change results in the fundamental social and economic reorganisation of society.

"This was certainly true in the past and will be true in the future."


'/>"/>

Contact: Linden Woodward
linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au
James Cook University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. EcoHealth Alliance announces new award from USAID to combat disease emergence and climate change
2. New world map for overcoming climate change
3. Report: Climate change to shift Kenyas breadbaskets
4. Grassroots action in livestock feeding to help curb global climate change
5. Climate change may speed up forests life cycles
6. Climate change will upset vital ocean chemical cycles
7. Extreme weather, climate and the carbon cycle
8. Study questions natures ability to self-correct climate change
9. Tom Bowmans Climate Report delves into Arctic methane controversy
10. Looking to the past to predict the future of climate change
11. UCSB study finds climate change is causing modifications to marine life behavior
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is ... partnership with VoicePass. By working together, ... experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different ... engines increases both security and usability. ... excitement about this new partnership. "This ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... 2016 WearablesResearch.com , a brand of ... results from the Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables ... consumers, receptivity to a program where they would receive ... insurance company. "We were surprised to see ... Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because ...
(Date:5/3/2016)...  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric identification ... Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system for ... can process multiple complex biometric transactions with high ... face or iris biometrics. It leverages the core ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company ... to the medical community, has closed its Series A ... Nunez . "We have received a commitment ... capital we need to meet our current goals," stated ... us the runway to complete validation on the current ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... (EDC) software, is exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its ... Annual conference. ClinCapture will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... of the QB3@953 life sciences incubator to ... health. The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created ... a key obstacle for many early stage organizations - ... of the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... report to their offering. ... from $29.3 billion in 2013. The market is expected to grow ... 2015 to 2020, increasing from $50.6 billion in 2015 to $96.6 ... during the forecast period (2015 to 2020) are discussed. As well, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: