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|
James Cook University