Aboriginal Aussies knew about meteors: StudyMarch 15th, 2011 - 6:02 pm ICT by ANI
Melbourne, Mar 15 (ANI): While the night skies play important roles in many traditional cultures around the world, a new study has found that Aboriginal dreamtime folklores used to link meteorites to impact craters and the origins of life, thousands of years before modern science.
Duane Hamacher from Sydney’s Macquarie University found that the Arrernte and Luritja people of central Australia had an unusual strong focus on meteors, meteorites and impact craters, reports ABC Science.
He examined Arrernte and Luritja dreamtime stories collected by early explorers, missionaries and scientists travelling through Alice Springs and Hermannsberg.
He said the Arrernte and Luritja knew about the nightly and yearly movements of stars, and was surprised to see how many stories feature meteorites as origins of life.
“You wouldn’t expect to know that without some scientific training,” he said.
According to Hamacher, one story spoke of life coming from two rocks that fell out of the sky.
“These rocks were people described as stars falling to the ground; they were like Adam and Eve,” he said.
“Another described how the egg of life was accidentally dropped from the sky, falling to the ground and breaking into pieces, bringing life to the Earth,” he added.
The Djaru of Western Australia believe Wolfe Creek crater, also known as Kandimalal, was caused by a cosmic impact, representing the spot where the Rainbow Serpent (whose eyes are seen as a meteor) crashed to the Earth.
Another tale tells of the Henbury crater field in the Central Desert, which was caused by a fragmented nickel-iron meteoroid leaving 13 craters as it impacted.
“Aboriginal people wouldn’t camp anywhere near the site, wouldn’t go into the craters, or collect water from them, because they feared the fire devil would rain iron on them,” said Hamacher.
“It happened a little over four thousand years ago. Since Aboriginal people have been here a lot longer than that, it’s almost certain someone saw it,’ he added.
According to Hamacher, one elder said his great grandfather witnessed the event, describing it as the fire devil coming from the Sun.
“Even into the early 1900s, the link between meteorites and craters wasn’t considered proper science [by scientists]. Rocks didn’t just fall out of the sky. It turns out, yes they do!” he said.
The finding appears in a paper published on the pre-press website arXiv.org. (ANI)
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Tags: abc science, aboriginal dreamtime, adam and eve, alice springs, central australia, central desert, dreamtime stories, early explorers, hamacher, impact craters, life thousands, macquarie university, meteors meteorites, nickel iron, night skies, origins of life, rainbow serpent, traditional cultures, two rocks, wolfe creek