Although the people who settled in Mesopotamia are often credited as the first civilization, new research shows that Aboriginal Australians are the oldest known civilization on Earth. The Aborigines can trace their ancestries back to about 75,000 years ago, but became a distinct genetic group around 50,000 years ago. They are believed to have first settled in Australia between 40,000 – 31,000 years ago and are the direct ancestors of a large group of modern-day Australians.
The discovery of the human remains from Lake Mungo in New South Wales, Australia in 1969 show signs of being one of the oldest known cremations. The remains, which are known as the Mungo Woman, have been dated to about 24,700 – 19,030 years ago.