Human Migration Mystery Solved? Lost Land Between Australia and Indonesia

Human Migration Mystery Solved? Lost Land Between Australia and Indonesia
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

Imagine venturing underwater off the coast of Australia, only to discover a hidden landscape once teeming with life. This isn't science fiction, but a captivating possibility revealed by a groundbreaking study.

Around 70,000 years ago, a vast region now submerged beneath the waves could have supported a thriving population of up to half a million people. This lost land, encompassing an area larger than New Zealand, wasn't just any undersea expanse; it may have held the key to human migration from modern-day Indonesia to Australia.

Scientists have discovered a lost landmass off the coast of Australia that could have supported a population of up to half a million people. (Image credit: Carley Rosengreen/Griffith University)

Kasih Norman, lead author of the study and archaeologist at Griffith University, paints a picture of this submerged "Atlantis." "We're talking about a landscape over 100 meters deep," she explains, "that once connected Kimberley and Arnhem Land, regions now separated by a vast bay." This ancient landmass, part of the supercontinent Sahul encompassing Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania, raises a crucial question: could it have been inhabited?

Despite its size, this submerged shelf remained largely unexplored and assumed uninhabitable. However, Norman's research, published in Quaternary Science Reviews, challenges this notion.

By combining intricate seafloor maps generated by sonar with data on changing sea levels over 70,000 years, the study unveils a dynamic history. Key findings include:

  • 71,000-59,000 years ago: Sea levels were 40 meters lower, exposing a "necklace of islands" near Timor, easily accessible from Southeast Asia.
  • 29,000-14,000 years ago: During the last ice age, a dramatic drop in sea levels (over 100 meters) created an extensive landmass connecting Australia and New Guinea. This period potentially witnessed peak human habitation.

Norman's research not only rewrites our understanding of ancient Australia but also offers crucial insights into early human migration. The close proximity of this submerged landmass to modern-day Indonesia strengthens the case for Southeast Asian origins of Australian Aboriginal populations.

Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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