Australia's First Naturalists: Indigenous Peoples' Contribution to early Zoology

Australia's First Naturalists: Indigenous Peoples' Contribution to early Zoology

Would Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson have ever crossed the Blue Mountains without the help of the local Aboriginal people? The invaluable role of local guides in this event is rarely recognised.As silent partners, Aboriginal Australians gave Europeans their first views of iconic animals, such as the Koala and Superb Lyrebird, and helped to unravel the mystery of the egg-la...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Australia's First Naturalists: Indigenous Peoples' Contribution to early Zoology
Author:Penny Olsen
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Australia's First Naturalists: Indigenous Peoples' Contribution to early Zoology Reviews

  • Lisa

    The ornithologist Penny Olsen is the author of beautiful books about science and nature, and I've reviewed two of them:

    Now she has teamed up with anthropological historian Lynette Russell from the Monash University Indigenous Studies Centre to explore the contribution of Australia's Indigenous people to the body of knowledge we call zoology. Most Australians are familiar with the legacy

    The ornithologist Penny Olsen is the author of beautiful books about science and nature, and I've reviewed two of them:

    Now she has teamed up with anthropological historian Lynette Russell from the Monash University Indigenous Studies Centre to explore the contribution of Australia's Indigenous people to the body of knowledge we call zoology. Most Australians are familiar with the legacy of 19th century naturalists Joseph Banks and John Gould (and some of us who read

    also know about the contribution of Elizabeth Gould too). But the silent and mostly unacknowledged partners in this enterprise drew on a body of knowledge that was sustained over millennia.

    Through successive generations, using rock art, storytelling, dance and song, Australia's First Peoples passed on their extensive knowledge of animal behaviour, habitat, breeding habits and anatomical structures of fauna from land, sea and air, along with the seasonal appearance and uses of flora. For example,

    Even a quick flick through the copious illustrations in this book makes it obvious that colonial explorers, collectors and naturalists were documenting the knowledge and practices of Indigenous Australians in various ways. On page 14, for instance, there is a reproduction of an 1813 engraving called Smoking Out the Opossum by John Heaviside Clark and M. Dubourg (you can see a print of it

    ); and page 24 shows Nicholas Chevalier's 1862 drawing 'Aboriginal family hunting malleefowl near Echuca, Victoria (which you can see

    ). Early European explorers and settlers documented, for example, the annual feast of Bogong Moths in diaries and journals, and the ethnographers Walter Baldwin Spencer and Francis Gillen made extensive records of

    In Chapter One Olsen and Russell make the crucial point that

    so while there is evidence in cave deposits of

    from small mammals, birds and lizards, if it had not been for these contemporaneous European observations there would be no archaeological evidence of insect use.

    Apart from the use of fire, other hunting methods included

    The successful hunt was not only used for food, but also for

    which obviously also involved knowledge about skins, sinews, bones and other body parts. The same was obviously also true of flora and fauna gathered by the women, who were taught from one generation to another, the sophisticated knowledge of seasonal produce across vast geographical areas and habitats. And the eel 'farms' of the Gunditjmara People of the Western District in Victoria, relied on knowledge of the predictable behaviour of the eels in order to engineer the waterways and wetlands to ensure a good catch. All of these activities required knowledge that was in the era of early zoology called 'natural history'.

    There are some claimed elements of Indigenous knowledge that are contested. Rock art in Northern Australian that depicts extinct megafauna is not necessarily accepted as evidence, because dating shows that the paintings were done after the megafauna became extinct. However,

    To read the rest of my review please visit

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.