The Coming of the Dingo

Jane Balme, Sue O'Connor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


The dingo, or native dog, arrived in Australia with people traveling on watercraft in the Late Holocene. By the time Europeans colonized the continent, dingoes were incorporated into the lives of Indigenous Australians, integrated into their kin systems and songlines, and used for a variety of purposes, including as companion animals, as guards, and as a biotechnology for hunting. Women, in particular, formed close bonds with dingoes, and they were widely used in women’s hunting. The incorporation of dingoes into Indigenous societies would therefore have had a significant impact on people’s lives. The greater contribution of meat to the diet would have allowed increased sedentism, improved fecundity, and therefore population growth. Such changes are hinted at in the archaeological record and indicate that more analysis of subsistence evidence could identify when and how the dingo–human relationship formed and how it varied in different environments across Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous Australia and New Guinea
EditorsIan J. McNiven, Bruno David
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780190095628
ISBN (Print)9780190095611
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


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