SYDNEY (Reuters) - Axheads and grinding stones from a cave in Australia's far north suggest humans arrived on the continent about 65,000 years ago, or 18,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to research published on Thursday.
A technique called luminescence dating was used to date the ancient tools which were found in a rock shelter at the bottom of a cliff, on the edge of a sandy savannah plain some 300 km (186 miles) east of Darwin.
Finding of a new minimum age for the arrival of humans in Australia pushes back the origins of aboriginal culture, the world's oldest continuous civilization, from a previously agreed consensus of around 47,000 years ago.
Scientists believed that humans first left Africa some time between 100,000 years ago and 60,000 years ago, Clarkson said.
Clarkson's paper was published in the journal Nature, which last month turned the understanding of human origins on its head, with a study showing fossils discovered in Morocco to be 300,000 years old, about 100,000 years older than any other human remains previously found.