Handed-down tales tell of ancient sea level rise | Science News

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Handed-down tales tell of ancient sea level rise

Australian Aborigines’ oral histories may include accounts of sea-level rise more than 7,000 years old

12:45pm, September 22, 2015

WATERY TALES  A member of an Aboriginal community in Australia’s Northern Territory discusses local tales of ocean deluges with a visiting researcher. New research suggests such accounts describe actual sea-level rises dating to more than 7,000 years ago.

Australian Aborigines relate some of the oldest memories in the world, a controversial new study suggests.

Aboriginal groups from every part of Australia’s coastline tell stories of long-ago deluges that can be traced to real events caused by rising sea levels at various times between around 7,250 and 13,070 years ago, two Australian researchers report September 7 in the Australian Geographer. Scientists have established that the sea rose to its present level Down Under between about 18,000 and 7,000 years ago.

Marine geographer Patrick Nunn of the University of the Sunshine Coast in Sippy Downs and linguist Nicholas Reid of the University of New England in Armidale consulted previous estimates of when rising seas reached specific depths at different locations around the continent. From that data, the researchers calculated the approximate timing of ocean incursions described in

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