A toilet break has led to one of the most important prehistoric discoveries ever made in Australia.
While surveying gorges in the northern Flinders Ranges, Giles Hamm, a consultant archaeologist and doctoral student at La Trobe University and local Adnyamathanha elder Clifford Coulthard found the oldest known evidence of Aboriginal settlement.
“Nature called and Cliff walked up this creek bed into this gorge and found this amazing spring surrounded by rock art,” Hamm told the ABC.
“A man getting out of the car to go to the toilet led to the discovery of one of the most important sites in Australian pre-history.”
In the rock shelter, known as Warratyi, the pair found artefacts and fossils which shows Aboriginal Australians settled there between 49,000 and 46,000 years ago — 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.
Other discoveries included tools like stone axes and the earliest-known use of ochre, as well as clues that suggest the people hunted megafauna such as giant wombat-like Diprotodon optatum.
The ABC has more.
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