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Re: place names and fossils



> --Some Aborigine people were shown drawing of
> scientific restorations  
> of Diprotodon: they said it looked like a Bunyip,
> and they also  
> identified the fossils as "Bunyip bones." Diprotodon
> lived in  
> Australia until about 10,000 years ago, and its
> appearance seems to  
> match descriptions of the Bunyip.

Obviously, this does not imply late survival of
diprotodonts. The more bread-and-butter explanation
would be that the natives have preserved knowledge of
diprotodonts (of which they must have had a lot, being
valuable prey items anda conspicuous animals) under
the "bunyip" label for all the time. Information
regarding the liwing animal would be watered down and
"mythified" in time, but when the term is stuck to
material evidence (such as bones), it can remain
unchanged for longer, especially in societies so rich
in oral tradition (the significance of names and
naming in understanding and categorizing the natural
world is higher in many Aboriginal societies than in
most others, even for hunter/gatherers).

Another reason to collect and aim to preserve as much
as possible of these peoples' traditions as still
possible... the Tjapwuring language for example is
sadly extinct, essentially prohibiting to get behind
the original stories of the "mihirung".

Regards,

Eike




        
                
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