Journal article

New ages for human occupation and climatic change at Lake Mungo, Australia

JM Bowler, H Johnston, JM Olley, JR Prescott, RG Roberts, W Shawcross, NA Spooner

NATURE | NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2003

Abstract

Australia's oldest human remains, found at Lake Mungo, include the world's oldest ritual ochre burial (Mungo III) and the first recorded cremation (Mungo I). Until now, the importance of these finds has been constrained by limited chronologies and palaeoenvironmental information. Mungo III, the source of the world's oldest human mitochondrial DNA, has been variously estimated at 30 thousand years (kyr) old, 42-45 kyr old and 62 +/- 6 kyr old, while radiocarbon estimates placed the Mungo I cremation near 20-26 kyr ago. Here we report a new series of 25 optical ages showing that both burials occurred at 40 +/- 2 kyr ago and that humans were present at Lake Mungo by 50-46 kyr ago, synchronously..

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University of Melbourne Researchers