The Aboriginal people believe they have lived in Australia since the beginning of all things. Archaeologists have dated their occupancy to many tens of thousands of years and much of the Aboriginal mythology harks back to these earliest of times. Stories and legends were expressed in everyday life through art, song, and dance - verbally handed down by word of mouth from these ancient times. Here is a selection of fascinating mythology including some that have startling explanations.
The Bunyip is a large mythical creature from Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, and waterholes. Their terrifying bellowing cries and shrieks heard only at night, frightened Aborigines to the point where they would not approach any water source where a Bunyip might be waiting to devour them. The word Bunyip is usually translated by Aboriginal Australians today as "devil" or "evil spirit" Across Aboriginal Australia there are at least nine regional variations to descriptions of the Bunyip, the most prevalent being that of a huge fearsome creature, furry, half-human half-beast with a long neck and a head like a bird. Various written accounts of Bunyips were made by Europeans in the early and mid-19th century, as settlement spread across the country, but none of these were scientifically verified - Australians now consider the existence of the Bunyip to be mythical.
A Scientific Explanation?
In-1830, the discovery of fossilized bones, unearthed in the Wellington Caves, south of Wellington, New South Wales, changed the way scientists understood ancient fauna forever. British anatomist Sir Richard Owen identified the fossils as the gigantic marsupials Nototherium and Diprotodon (shown above). The Diprotodon sometimes is known as the Giant Wombat or the Rhinoceros Wombat is the largest known marsupial ever to have lived. Along with many other members of a group of unusual species collectively called the "Australian megafauna" At the same time, settlers observed "all natives throughout these districts have a tradition of a very large animal having at one time existed in the large creeks and rivers and by many it is said that such animals now exist” – the Bunyip These giant marsupials lived in Australia up until around 25,000 to 50,000 years ago so it is very possible that they co-existed with early Aborigines for many thousands of years. Bones of butchered animals have been unearthed from early human settlements and identified as being the diprotodon.