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Aboriginal Martu of Australia helped kangaroos thrive

Aboriginal Martu peoples of Australia were in news in the first week of August 2014.

Aug 8, 2014 16:13 IST
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Aboriginal Martu of Australia: Fires lit by them helped kangaroos thrive

Aboriginal Martu peoples of Australia were in news in the first week of August 2014. They were in news because in a study published in the journal Human Ecology found that their practice setting small grass fires to catch lizards actually boosted kangaroo populations.

The study was conducted by the Brian Codding and three other anthropologists Douglas Bird, Rebecca Bliege Bird and Peter Kauhanen.

The Martu people have been setting such fires for at least 2000 years to expose burrows dug by 2-foot-long sand monitor lizards, which they then drag from the holes, cook and eat. The fires set by the Martu people average about 10 acres.

In the fires’ aftermath, different types of vegetation grow, aiding kangaroos. For example, the marsupials hide from predators such as dingoes in older bush grass and eat shoots and fruits in areas of younger vegetation.

About Martu people

Martu are an Australian Aboriginal people of the Western Desert. Their lands include the Percival Lakes and Pilbara regions in Western Australia.

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