The Therapeutic and Preventive Potential of the Hunter-Gatherer Lifestyle

Insights from Australian Aborigines
  • Kerin O’Dea


Prehistorians believe that Aborigines came to Australia from Southeast Asia at least 40,000-50,000 years ago (1). Until European colonization of Australia just over 200 years ago, Aborigines lived as hunter-gatherers all over the continent under widely varying geographic and climatic conditions, ranging from the tropical coastal regions of the north (latitude 11-20° S), through the vast arid regions of the center (latitude 20-30° S), to the cool-temperate regions of the south (latitude 30-43° S). The more fertile coastal areas, both north and south, could sustain larger populations than the arid inland or desert areas. Each tribal group hunted and gathered food in a defined territory, which could be as vast as 100,000 sq km in the desert regions or as small as 500 sq km in fertile coastal country (2).


Bleeding Time Wild Plant Food Traditional Lifestyle Organ Meat Kimberley Region 
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© Humana Press, Totowa, NJ 1994

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  • Kerin O’Dea

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