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Mungo Lady and Mungo Man

Marsupial bones emerging from the Lake Mungo lunette. Photograph © Ian Brown

Mungo Lady and Mungo Man are perhaps the most important human remains ever found in Australia. Their discovery re-wrote the ancient story of this land and its people and sent shock-waves around the world.

These 42,000 year old ritual burials are some of the oldest remains of modern humans (Homo sapiens) yet found outside of Africa. Mungo Lady is the oldest known cremation in the world, representing the early emergence of humanity's spiritual beliefs.

Mungo Lady and Mungo Man are particularly special to their Aboriginal descendants who still live around the Willandra Lakes area. The Paakantji, Ngyiampaa and Mutthi Mutthi people are proud of what the ancient remains prove of their endurance in the land and survival from the distant past. Many believe that Mungo Man and Mungo Lady returned to teach something to all people.

The return of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man put Lake Mungo on the world map. They led to the establishment of Mungo National Park and the recognition of the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area as a place that is important to all humanity.