AN ABORIGINAL Dreaming story about a star crashing to earth with a noise like thunder has led to the discovery of an ancient meteorite crater in central Australia.
A Sydney astronomer, Duane Hamacher, found the bowl-shaped crater in Palm Valley, about 130 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs, by searching on Google Earth.
He was inspired to look there after learning of traditional stories told by the local Arrernte people about a star that had fallen into a waterhole called Puka in the valley.
I remain somewhat dubious. Obviously, the Aboriginals couldn’t have known about that particular crater from firsthand experience, but it suggests that they possibly witnessed other meteorites making similar craters and deduced from there. Trouble is, they’ve also had years and years of Western contamination that could go unrecognized.