Animals of Arid Australia: Out on their own?
- Views Icon Views
- Chapter PDF
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
The Aboriginal songline or Dreaming track system may be examined from the point of view of an adaptive strategy for high mobility which makes it possible to map consumers on resources in a dominantly dry continent with highly variable weather patterns. The Dreaming track adaptation operates on four main principles: acquisition of Dreaming track songs; complex social organisation; reciprocity; and information flow. Such an adaptation may have been prompted by the intense aridity of the last glacial maximum of 18,000 years ago, or perhaps by about 6,000 years ago when the current climatic regime became established. The archaeological evidence for its presence at these times is inconclusive. However a strong case for the Dreaming track system being in place can be made by about 1500 years ago in western New South Wales and about 1200 years ago in the Northern Territory. At a global scale, the Dreaming track system can be seen as a social and economic institution which provided an adequate supply of resources for Aboriginal people and was an alternative for the adoption of horticulture in Australia.