Aboriginal Settlement of Australia and Adaptations to New Environment made it possible for migrants to adapt themselves to new areas with some harsh or unpredictable conditions. The first arrivals to Sahul probably landed near what is now western New Guinea. They would have found the vegetation in the areas where they landed similar to that they had left. However, many of the land animal species—including marsupials such as kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and koalas—would have been unfamiliar to them. As the descendants of the original migrants moved south toward the arid center of the continent, they would have had to make substantial adjustments, particularly to new plant foods. Further adaptations would have been required as they moved into the temperate woodlands of southern Australia.
By 35,000 years ago Aboriginal people had established themselves throughout the continent, although only sparsely in the inhospitable central desert. Over time, Aboriginal groups developed many regional differences in language, religion, social organization, art, economy, and material culture. These cultural differences emerged because of limited interaction between local groups, the desire of neighboring groups to differentiate themselves from one another, and the way each group adapted to the unique topography, climate, and resources of its environment. For example, whereas desert dwellers lived in temporary shelters and wore little or no clothing, Aboriginal people in the far southeastern region of Australia developed more solid housing structures and wore skin cloaks to cope with the cold, subalpine climate. Aboriginal Settlement of Australia and Adaptations to New Environment indicated how a people can unite to defend themselves against climatic changes.