1 Oct 2010

Anthropologists find traces of highly mobile society in PNG 50,000 years ago

2:52 pm on 1 October 2010

A new study of ancient campsites in Papua New Guinea has unearthed important findings about the development of modern humans.

Stuff.co.nz reports that the study found people in PNG's Ivane Valley near Kokoda about 49,000 years ago were highly adaptable and at the forefront of global colonisation.

The team from New Zealand, Australia and PNG found groups of people in remote highlands regularly moved through rugged terrain to exploit plant food resources.

The team uncovered campsites where people made stone tools, hunted small animals and gathered high energy nuts during the last ice age - 15,000 years before so-called modern humans colonised Europe.

The findings suggested a deliberate modifying of the landscape, most likely to clear forest and promote plant growth.

The team says its findings challenge some current notions about what stage humans became modern in their thinking and behaviour.