In a nutshell – ancient food scraps provide clues to past rainfall
Ancient food scraps found at Australia’s earliest site of human occupation, in the Kakadu region, are helping researchers generate rainfall records dating back 65,000 years.
Magela Creek floodplain (Mirrar Counntry). Photo courtesy of the University of Queensland.
Using the nutshell of anyakngarra – also known as pandanus – a team of researchers [including UC Professor Jamie Shulmeister and doctoral candidate Nicholas Patton] led by Dr Florin worked alongside Mirarr Traditional Owners to develop a novel method to investigate past rainfall at the site called Madjedbebe.
“Using the scraps from meals eaten tens of thousands of years ago, we can now tell a localised story of climate change and explore its effects on communities through time,” said Dr Florin.
“The nutshells hold evidence in their composition for the amount of water available to them when they were growing and can be used to understand past rainfall,” she said.