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Australia colonised over 50,000 years ago

AAP logoAAP 26/09/2016 David Sigston

Queensland scientists believe Australia may have been colonised more than 50,000 years ago.

The research, by James Cook University scientists, mapped the positions and permanency of water bodies to determine human movement.

"The findings suggest that a series of well-watered routes across Australia, particularly in the Channel Country in western Queensland, could have made possible the rapid human occupation of the continent's arid interior," said JCU Professor Sean Ulm.

JCU Professor Michael Bird said there was still debate over when and how Australia was colonised.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world, according to Prof Bird.

Aboriginal people initially arrived in Australia in the northwest or north as early as 55,000 years ago, before moving southeast to the Willandra Lakes region in western NSW, according to the study.

The results of the study have been published in the US National Academy of Sciences official journal.

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