Before Farming

Human origins in Australia

the skeletal evidence

Before Farming (2006), 2006, (1), 1–28.

Abstract

This paper commences with a review of the anatomical and genetic evidence for the origins of Aboriginal Australians. Recent controversies surrounding the developmental age and sex of some Pleistocene individuals are reviewed. An updated description and new analyses of the morphological evidence for gracile and robust Pleistocene populations is provided utilising descriptive anatomy, metrics and multivariate analysis. Thirty-four cranial and dental features are outlined that differentiate gracile and robust Australians. Most metrical differences between them are moderate to large on a global scale. We also describe features in robust and gracile Australians that are unusual or apparently unique by contemporary human standards. At least four of them appear not to have been documented in modern humans until now.

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Curnoe, Darren

Thorne, Alan