Continuing the ideas from the previous episode, students will see the way that Lake Mungo was used by the traditional owners to provide food. The episode also looks at some fauna that has since become extinct.

Ancient fauna (1:59)

Episode 7 – Ancient fauna

Warning – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following video may contain images and voices of deceased persons.

(gentle music)

[Screen reads: Question? How has Lake Mungo environment changed over time?]


Melissa Ellis, Geography teacher, Southern Cross School of Distance Education] Lake Mungo didn't always look as it does today. The lake and the surrounding environment have gone through many changes over time. 40,000 years ago, Lake Mungo contained fresh water, and the area was full of wildlife. The variety of wildlife provided an excellent food supply for the people who lived on its shores.

So what was the environment like at the time of the Lady Mungo and Mungo Man?

Harvey Johnston – Archaeologist, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

The lake was full of water. There was a lake filled with fish, and we know that because the fish remains around the edge of the lake. There were shellfish in the water, there was yabbies in the water, there was water birds around the edge of the lake.

We know all this from the archaeological traces. so, there was a variety of animals there. The lake at the time of Lady Mungo and Mungo Man was 42,000 years ago, so, it was a full lake, but also a lake that was slowly, also, it had been filled for many thousands of years and was getting towards a drying phase.

[Screen reads: Fact. Biodiversity means the variety of plants and animals in a particular area]

Ivan Johnston – Discovery Ranger, Mungo National Park

At that period of time, we would have had a lot of fresh water animals, especially food. It would've had cod, perch, fresh water mussels, giant kangaroos, giant emus, giant wombats, dingoes, and also Tasmanian tigers.


Diprotodons were large marsupials who lived around the Lake Mungo area. They look like giant wombats. It is theorized that Aboriginal people may have hunted these and other mega fauna for food. Diprotodons became extinct about 25,000 years ago.

(gentle music)

List of sources and acknowledgements

  • Image: Magalania lizard chasing glenyornis. Retrieved from

  • Image: Recreation of mega fauna. Provided by ©Australian Postal Corporation 2008. Designer: Peter Trusler.

  • Video: 45,000 years at Lake Mungo. Provided by National Parks and Wildlife

  • Image: Willandra Lakes 45000 years ago. Image retrieved from

  • Image: Recreation of Lake Mungo. Provided by Giovanni Caselli

  • Image: Diprotodon. Provided by Giovanni Caselli. Source of human figures by Giovanni Caselli

  • Video: Building the Lake Mungo lunette. Provided by National Parks and Wildlife.

  • Narration. Voice over by Melissa Ellis, Southern Cross School of Distance Education.


NSW Government Public Schools, Learning Systems, DART connections, Southern Cross School of Education. Virtual Excursions 2017.

[End of transcript]

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