Aboriginal Science & Knowledge

WESTERN Australia is home to the world’s oldest-known axe, with a stone fragment previously recovered near Derby proving to be 10,000 years older than axes found in other parts of the world.

DEMAND for WA’s native plant seeds is increasing for purposes ranging from revegetating former mine sites to high-end restaurants which use Aboriginal food plants in their cuisine.

NATIVE reptiles in the remote East Kimberley have been taught by scientists and Indigenous Rangers to avoid dining on toxic cane toads (Rhinella marina), which would otherwise make for the natural predator’s last meal.

THERE is a lot to be learned from Indigenous Australians in the world of science, and developments throughout 2015 are a prime example.

ABORIGINAL rangers have joined forces with scientists to determine for the first time the distribution and abundance of dugongs (Dugong dugon) that inhabit the Kimberley’s remote waters and act as a food source for indigenous people.

ONE of Australia’s oldest Indigenous languages is being immortalised in a speech register with work underway in the Western Desert to document formal ways of speaking before the knowledge is lost forever.

IN MODERN society dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend” but according to an archaeological review early Aboriginal society sported a similar relationship between women and dingoes (Canis lupus dingo).

WA NATURE lovers daunted by the cost of electric exclusion fencing and other methods of protecting threatened species from predators may be interested to know of another, perhaps cheaper, method of combating pests practised by desert Aborigines.

THE most cutting edge technology is meeting ancient Kimberley rock art in the most comprehensive study of its kind, with researchers hoping the findings may date the art as among the oldest in the world.

ANTHROPOLOGICAL and historical research with Aboriginal artists and Traditional Owners along the Canning Stock Route has illustrated the importance of dreamtime stories as carriers of important ecological knowledge.

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