Pteropus is a genus of bats which are among the largest in the world. They are known as fruit bats or flying foxes, among other colloquial names, they live in the tropics and subtropics of Asia, East Africa, some oceanic islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. There are at least 60 extant species in the genus. Flying foxes eat fruit and other plant matter, consume insects as well, they locate resources with their keen sense of smell. Most, but not all, are nocturnal, they navigate with keen eyesight. They have long life spans and low reproductive outputs, with females of most species producing only one offspring per year, their slow life history makes their populations vulnerable to threats such as overhunting and natural disasters. Six flying fox species have been made extinct in modern times by overhunting. Flying foxes are persecuted for their real or perceived role in damaging crops, they are ecologically beneficial by assisting in the regeneration of forests via seed dispersal. They benefit human interests by pollinating plants.
Flying foxes are relevant to humans as a source of disease, as they are the reservoirs of rare but fatal disease agents including Australian bat lyssavirus, which causes rabies, Hendra virus. Nipah virus is transmitted by flying foxes—it affects more people, with over 100 attributed fatalities, they have cultural significance to indigenous people, with appearances in traditional art and weaponry. Their fur and teeth were used as currency in the past; some cultures still use their teeth as currency today. The genus name Pteropus was coined by French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1762. Prior to 1998, genus authority was sometimes given to German naturalist Johann Christian Polycarp Erxleben. Although the Brisson publication predated the Erxleben publication, thus giving him preference under the Principle of Priority, some authors gave preference to Erxleben as genus authority because Brisson's publication did not use binomial nomenclature. In 1998, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature decided that Brisson's 1762 publication was a "rejected work" for nomenclatural purposes.
Despite rejecting the majority of the publication, the ICZN decided to conserve a dozen generic names from the work and retain Brisson as authority, including Pteropus. The type species of the genus is Pteropus niger; the decision to designate P. niger as the type species was made by the ICZN through their plenary powers over biological nomenclature. "Pteropus" comes from Ancient Greek "pterón" meaning "wing" and "poús" meaning "foot." The phrase "flying fox" has been used to refer to Pteropus bats since at least 1759. Flying fox species vary in body weight. Across all species, males are larger than females; the large flying fox has the longest forearm length and reported wingspan of any species, but some species exceed it in weight. Its wingspan is up to 1.5 m, it can weigh up to 1.1 kg. The Indian and great flying foxes are heavier, at 1.45 kg, respectively. Outside this genus, the giant golden-crowned flying fox is the only bat with similar dimensions. Most flying fox species are smaller and weigh less than 600 g.
Smaller species such as the masked, Temminck's, dwarf flying foxes all weigh less than 170 g. The pelage is silky with a dense underfur. In many species, individuals have a "mantle" of contrasting fur color on the back of their head, the shoulders, the upper back, they lack tails. As the common name "flying fox" suggests, their heads resemble that of a small fox because of their small ears and large eyes. Females have one pair of mammae located in the chest region, their ears pointed at the tip and lack tragi. The outer margin of each ear forming an unbroken ring; the toes have curved claws. While microbats only have a claw on each thumb of their forelimbs, flying foxes additionally have a claw on each index finger. A flying fox skull is composed of 24 bones; the snout is made of 7, the cranium of 16, the mandible is a single bone. It has a bulbous braincase. Like all mammals, flying foxes have three middle ear ossicles which assist in transmitting sound to the brain. Flying fox skulls continue to develop.
Compared to adults, young flying foxes have short snouts. Based on the grey-headed flying fox's development, pups are born with some milk teeth erupted: canines and incisors. By 9 days old, all the milk teeth have emerged, with a dental formula of 2.1.2.02.1.2.0 and a total of 20 teeth. By 140 days old, all the milk teeth have been replaced by permanent teeth; the canines are replaced first, followed by the premolars and molars. The adult dental formula is 184.108.40.206.1.3.3 for a total of 34 teeth. The occlusal surface of the molars is smooth but with longitudinal furrows. Flying foxes have large hearts and a fast heart rate: resting individuals have a heart rate of 100-400 beats per minute. Flying foxes have simple digestive tracts, they lack both an appendix. The stomach has marked fundic regions; the megabats, including flying foxes, have the greatest encephalizat
The Rainbow Serpent or Rainbow Snake is a common deity seen as a creator god and a common motif in the art and religion of Aboriginal Australia. It is named for the identification between that of a snake; some scholars believe that the link between snake and rainbow suggests the cycle of the seasons and the importance of water in human life. When the rainbow is seen in the sky, it is said to be the Rainbow Serpent moving from one waterhole to another, the divine concept explained why some waterholes never dried up when drought struck. There are innumerable names and stories associated with the serpent, all of which communicate the significance and power of this being within Aboriginal traditions, it is viewed as a giver of life, through its association with water, but can be a destructive force if angry. The Rainbow Serpent is one of the most common and well known Aboriginal stories, is of great importance to Aboriginal society; the Rainbow Serpent is one of the oldest continuing religious beliefs in the world and continues to be a cultural influence today.
The Rainbow Serpent is known by different names by different Aboriginal sub-cultures. The Rainbow Serpent is known as Borlung by the Miali, Dhakkan by the Kuli, Kajura by the Ingarda, Goorialla by the Lardil people, Kunmanggur by the Murinbata, Ngalyod by the Gunwinggu, Numereji by the Kakadu, Taipan by the Wikmunkan, Tulloun by the Mitakoodi, Wagyl by the Noongar, Wanamangura by the Talainji, Witij by the Yolngu. Other names include Bolung, Julunggul, Langal, Muit, Wollunqua, Wonungar, Yero and Yurlunggur. Though the concept of the Rainbow Serpent has existed for a long time in Aboriginal Australian cultures, it was introduced to the wider world through the work of anthropologists. In fact, the name Rainbow Serpent or Rainbow Snake appears to have been coined in English by Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, an anthropologist who noticed the same concept going under different names among various Aboriginal Australian cultures, called it "the rainbow-serpent myth of Australia", it has been suggested that this name implies that there is only one Rainbow Serpent, when the concept varies quite a bit from one Aboriginal culture to another, should be properly called the Rainbow Serpent myths of Australia.
It has been suggested that the Serpent's position as the most prominent creator god in the Australian tradition has been the creation of non-Aboriginal anthropologists. Another error of the same kind is the way in which Western-educated people, with a cultural stereotype of Greco-Roman or Norse myths, tell the Aboriginal stories in the past tense. For the indigenous people of Australia, the stories are "Everywhen" — past and future. Dreamtime stories tell of the great spirits and totems during creation, in animal and human form that moulded the barren and featureless earth; the Rainbow Serpent came from beneath the ground and created huge ridges and gorges as it pushed upward. The Rainbow Serpent is understood to be of immense proportions and inhabits deep permanent waterholes and is in control of life's most precious resource, water. In some cultures, the Rainbow Serpent is considered to be the ultimate creator of everything in the universe. In some cultures, the Rainbow Serpent is male; some commentators have suggested that the Rainbow Serpent is a phallic symbol, which fits its connection with fertility myths and rituals.
When the Serpent is characterized as female or bisexual, it is sometimes depicted with breasts. Other times, the Serpent has no particular gender; the Serpent has been known to appear as a scorpion or another animal or creature. In some stories, the Serpent is associated with a bat, sometimes called a "flying fox" in Australian English, engaged in a rivalry over a woman; some scholars have identified other creatures, such as a bird, dingo, or lizard, as taking the role of the Serpent in stories. In all cases, these animals are associated with water; the Rainbow Serpent has been identified with the bunyip, a fearful, water-hole dwelling creature in Australian mythology. The sometimes unpredictable Rainbow Serpent replenishes the stores of water, forming gullies and deep channels as the Rainbow Serpent slithers across the landscape. In this belief system, without the Serpent, no rain would fall and the Earth would dry up. In other cultures, the Serpent is said to come to stop the rain. In addition to the identification with the rainbow, the Serpent is identified with a prismatic halo around the moon that can be regarded as a sign of rain.
The Rainbow Serpent is sometimes associated with human blood circulation and the menstrual cycle, considered a healer. Thunder and lightning are said to stem from when the Rainbow Serpent is angry, the Serpent can cause powerful rainstorms and cyclones. Quartz crystal and seashells are associated with the Rainbow Serpent and are used in rituals to invoke it; the identification with quartz crystal results from its prism-like appearance. Stories about the Rainbow Serpent have been passed down from generation to generation; the Serpent story may vary however, according to environmental differences. Tribes of the monsoonal areas depict an epic interaction of the sun and wind in their Dreamtime stories, whereas tribes of the central desert experience less drastic seasonal shifts and their stories reflect this, it is known both as a ben
A legendary and mythological creature traditionally called a fabulous beast and fabulous creature, is a fictitious and supernatural animal a hybrid, sometimes part human, whose existence has not or cannot be proved and, described in folklore or fiction but in historical accounts before history became a science. In the classical era, monstrous creatures such as the cyclops and the Minotaur appear in heroic tales for the protagonist to destroy. Other creatures, such as the unicorn, were claimed in accounts of natural history by various scholars of antiquity; some legendary creatures have their origin in traditional mythology and were believed to be real creatures, for example dragons and unicorns. Others were based on real encounters, originating in garbled accounts of travelers' tales, such as the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, which grew tethered to the earth. A variety of mythical animals appear in the art and stories of the Classical era. For example, in the Odyssey, monstrous creatures include the Cyclops and Charybdis for the hero Odysseus to confront.
In other tales there appear the Medusa to be defeated by Perseus, the Minotaur to be destroyed by Theseus, the Hydra to be killed by Heracles, while Aeneas battles with the harpies. These monsters thus have the basic function of emphasizing the greatness of the heroes involved; some classical era creatures, such as the centaur, chimaera and the flying horse, are found in Indian art. Sphinxes appear as winged lions in Indian art and the Piasa Bird of North America. In medieval art, both real and mythical, played important roles; these included decorative forms as in medieval jewellery, sometimes with their limbs intricately interlaced. Animal forms were used to add majesty to objects. In Christian art, animals carried symbolic meanings, where for example the lamb symbolized Christ, a dove indicated the Holy Spirit, the classical griffin represented a guardian of the dead. Medieval bestiaries included animals regardless of biological reality. One function of mythical animals in the Middle Ages was allegory.
Unicorns, for example, were described as extraordinarily swift and uncatchable by traditional methods. It was believed; the unicorn was supposed to leap into her lap and go to sleep, at which point a hunter could capture it. In terms of symbolism, the unicorn was a metaphor for Christ. Unicorns represented the idea of purity. In the King James Bible, Psalm 92:10 states, "My horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn." This is because the translators of the King James erroneously translated the Hebrew word re'em as unicorn. Versions translate this as wild ox; the unicorn's small size signifies the humility of Christ. Another common legendary creature which served allegorical functions within the Middle Ages was the dragon. Dragons were identified with serpents, though their attributes were intensified; the dragon was supposed to have been larger than all other animals. It was believed that the dragon had no harmful poison but was able to slay anything it embraced without any need for venom. Biblical scriptures speak of the dragon in reference to the devil, they were used to denote sin in general during the Middle Ages.
Dragons were said to have dwelled in places like Ethiopia and India, based on the idea that there was always heat present in these locations. Physical detail was not the central focus of the artists depicting such animals, medieval bestiaries were not conceived as biological categorizations. Creatures like the unicorn and griffin were not categorized in a separate "mythological" section in medieval bestiaries, as the symbolic implications were of primary importance. Animals we know to have existed were still presented with a fantastical approach, it seems the religious and moral implications of animals were far more significant than matching a physical likeness in these renderings. Nona C. Flores explains, "By the tenth century, artists were bound by allegorical interpretation, abandoned naturalistic depictions." The historian Richard Kieckhefer explains, "Magic is not meant to work but to express wishes, or to encode in symbols a perception of how things do or should work." Cryptozoology Lists of legendary creatures List of legendary creatures by type Mythical creature in the New World Encyclopedia
Australian Aboriginal religion and mythology
Australian Aboriginal religion and mythology are the stories traditionally performed by Aboriginal peoples within each of the language groups across Australia. All such myths variously "tell significant truths within each Aboriginal group's local landscape, they layer the whole of the Australian continent's topography with cultural nuance and deeper meaning, empower selected audiences with the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of Australian Aboriginal ancestors back to time immemorial". David Horton's Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia contains an article on Aboriginal mythology observing: "A mythic map of Australia would show thousands of characters, varying in their importance, but all in some way connected with the land; some stayed spiritually in that vicinity. Others came from somewhere else and went somewhere else." "Many were shape changing, transformed from or into human beings or natural species, or into natural features such as rocks but all left something of their spiritual essence at the places noted in their stories."Australian Aboriginal mythologies have been characterized as "at one and the same time fragments of a catechism, a liturgical manual, a history of civilization, a geography textbook, to a much smaller extent a manual of cosmography."
An Australian linguist, R. M. W. Dixon, recording Aboriginal myths in their original languages, encountered coincidences between some of the landscape details being told about within various myths, scientific discoveries being made about the same landscapes. In the case of the Atherton Tableland, myths tell of the origins of Lake Eacham, Lake Barrine, Lake Euramo. Geological research dated the formative volcanic explosions described by Aboriginal myth tellers as having occurred more than 10,000 years ago. Pollen fossil sampling from the silt which had settled to the bottom of the craters confirmed the Aboriginal myth-tellers' story; when the craters were formed, eucalyptus forests dominated rather than the current wet tropical rain forests. Dixon observed from the evidence available that Aboriginal myths regarding the origin of the Crater Lakes might be dated as accurate back to 10,000 years ago. Further investigation of the material by the Australian Heritage Commission led to the Crater Lakes myth being listed nationally on the Register of the National Estate, included within Australia's World Heritage nomination of the wet tropical forests, as an "unparalleled human record of events dating back to the Pleistocene era."Since Dixon has assembled a number of similar examples of Australian Aboriginal myths that describe landscapes of an ancient past.
He noted the numerous myths telling of previous sea levels, including: the Port Phillip myth, describing Port Phillip Bay as once dry land, the course of the Yarra River being once different, following what was Carrum Carrum swamp. The Great Barrier Reef coastline myth in Yarrabah, just south of Cairns, telling of a past coastline which stood at the edge of the current Great Barrier Reef, naming places now submerged after the forest types and trees that once grew there; the Lake Eyre myths, telling of the deserts of Central Australia as once having been fertile, well-watered plains, the deserts around present Lake Eyre having been one continuous garden. This oral story matches geologists' understanding that there was a wet phase to the early Holocene when the lake would have had permanent water. Other volcanic eruptions in Australia may be recorded in Aboriginal myths, including Mount Gambier in South Australia, Kinrara in northern Queensland. There are 900 distinct Aboriginal groups across Australia, each distinguished by unique names identifying particular languages, dialects, or distinctive speech mannerisms.
Each language was used for original myths, from which the distinctive words and names of individual myths derive. With so many distinct Aboriginal groups, languages and practices, scholars cannot attempt to characterise, under a single heading, the full range and diversity of all myths being variously and continuously told, elaborated and experienced by group members across the entire continent; the Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia observes: "One intriguing feature is the mixture of diversity and similarity in myths across the entire continent." The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation's booklet, Understanding Country, formally seeks to introduce non-indigenous Australians to Aboriginal perspectives on the environment. It makes the following generalisation about Aboriginal myths and mythology: "...they describe the journeys of ancestral beings giant animals or people, over what began as a featureless domain. Mountains, waterholes and plant species, other natural and cultural resources came into being as a result of events which took place during these Dreamtime journeys.
Their existence in present-day landscapes is seen by many indigenous peoples as confirmation of their creation beliefs..." "The routes taken by the Creator Beings in their Dreamtime journeys across land and sea... link many sacred sites together in a web of Dreamtime tracks criss-crossing the country. Dreaming tracks can run for hundreds thousands of kilometres, from desert to the coast may be shared by peoples in countries through
A boomerang is a thrown tool constructed as a flat airfoil, designed to spin about an axis perpendicular to the direction of its flight. A returning boomerang is designed to return to the thrower, it is well known as a weapon used by Indigenous Australians for hunting. Boomerangs have been used for hunting, as well as sport and entertainment, they are thought of as an Australian icon, come in various shapes and sizes. A boomerang is a throwing stick with certain aerodynamic properties, traditionally made of wood but boomerang-like devices have been made from bones. Modern boomerangs used for sport may be made from plywood, plastics such as ABS, phenolic paper, or carbon fibre-reinforced plastics. Boomerangs come in many shapes and sizes depending on their geographic or tribal origins and intended function. Many people think of a boomerang as the Australian type, although today there are many types of more usable boomerangs, such as the cross-stick, the pinwheel, the tumble-stick, the Boomabird and many other less common types.
An important distinction should be made between returning non-returning boomerangs. Returning boomerangs are examples of the earliest heavier-than-air human-made flight. A returning boomerang has two or more airfoil wings arranged so that the spinning creates unbalanced aerodynamic forces that curve its path so that it travels in an ellipse, returning to its point of origin when thrown correctly. While a throwing stick can be shaped overall like a returning boomerang, it is designed to travel as straight as possible so that it can be aimed and thrown with great force to bring down the game, its surfaces are therefore symmetrical and not with the aerofoils that give the returning boomerang its characteristic curved flight. The most recognisable type of the boomerang is the L-shaped returning boomerang. Returning boomerangs were used to decoy birds of prey, thrown above the long grass to frighten game birds into flight and into waiting nets. Modern returning boomerangs can be of various sizes; the origin of the term is certain, but many researchers have different theories on how the word entered into the English vocabulary.
One source asserts that the term entered the language in 1827, adapted from an extinct Aboriginal language of New South Wales, but mentions a variant, wo-mur-rang, which it dates to 1798. The boomerang was first encountered by western people at Farm Cove, Australia, in December 1804, when a weapon was witnessed during a tribal skirmish:... the white spectators were justly astonished at the dexterity and incredible force with which a bent, edged waddy resembling a Turkish scimytar, was thrown by Bungary, a native distinguished by his remarkable courtesy. The weapon, thrown at 20 or 30 yards distance, twirled round in the air with astonishing velocity, alighting on the right arm of one of his opponents rebounded to a distance not less than 70 or 80 yards, leaving a horrible contusion behind, exciting universal admiration. David Collins listed "Wo-mur-rāng" as one of eight aboriginal "Names of clubs" in 1798. A 1790 anonymous manuscript on aboriginal language of New South Wales reported "Boo-mer-rit" as "the Scimiter".
In 1822, it was described in detail and recorded as a "bou-mar-rang" in the language of the Turuwal people of the Georges River near Port Jackson. The Turawal used other words for their hunting sticks but used "boomerang" to refer to a returning throw-stick. Boomerangs were used as hunting weapons, percussive musical instruments, battle clubs, fire-starters, decoys for hunting waterfowl, as recreational play toys; the smallest boomerang may be less than 10 centimetres from tip to tip, the largest over 180 cm in length. Tribal boomerangs may be painted with designs meaningful to their makers. Most boomerangs seen today are of the tourist or competition sort, are invariably of the returning type. Depictions of boomerangs being thrown at animals, such as kangaroos, appear in some of the oldest rock art in the world, the Indigenous Australian rock art of the Kimberly region, up to 50,000 years old. Stencils and paintings of boomerangs appear in the rock art of West Papua, including on Bird's Head Peninsula and Kaimana dating to the Last Glacial Maximum, when lower sea levels led to cultural continuity between Papua and Arnhem Land in Northern Australia.
The oldest surviving Australian Aboriginal boomerangs come from a cache found in a peat bog in the Wyrie Swamp of South Australia and date to 10,000 BC. Although traditionally thought of as Australian, boomerangs have been found in ancient Europe and North America. There is evidence of the use of non-returning boomerangs by the Native Americans of California and Arizona, inhabitants of southern India for killing birds and rabbits; some boomerangs were not thrown at all, but were used in hand to hand combat by Indigenous Australians. Ancient Egyptian examples, have been recovered, experiments have shown that they functioned as returning boomerangs. Hunting sticks discovered in Europe seem to have formed part of the Stone Age arsenal of weapons. One boomerang, discovered in Obłazowa Cave in the Carpathian Mountains in Poland was made of mammoth's tusk and is believed, based on AMS dating of objects found with it, to be about 30,000 years old. In the Netherlands, boomerangs have been found in Vlaardingen and Velsen from the first century BC.
King Tutankhamun, the famous Pharaoh of a
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Dreamtime is a term devised by early anthropologists to refer to a religio-cultural worldview attributed to Australian Aboriginal beliefs. It was used by Francis Gillen adopted by his colleague Baldwin Spencer and thereafter popularised by A. P. Elkin, however revised his views; the Dreaming is used to represent Aboriginal concepts of "time out of time" or "everywhen", during which the land was inhabited by ancestral figures of heroic proportions or with supernatural abilities. These figures were distinct from "gods" as they did not control the material world and were not worshipped, but only revered; the concept of the dreamtime has subsequently become adopted beyond its original Australian context and is now part of global popular culture. The term is based on a rendition of the indigenous word alcheringa, used by the Aranda people of Central Australia, although it has been argued that it is based on a misunderstanding or mistranslation; some scholars suggest that the word's meaning is closer to "eternal, uncreated."
Anthropologist William Stanner remarked: "why the blackfellow thinks of'dreaming' as the nearest equivalent in English is a puzzle", said that the concept was best understood by non-Aboriginal people as "a complex of meanings". By the 1990s, "Dreamtime" and "the Dreaming" had acquired their own currency in popular culture, based on idealised or fictionalised conceptions of Australian mythology. Since the 1970s, "Dreaming" and "Dream time" have returned from academic usage via popular culture and tourism and are now ubiquitous in the English vocabulary of indigenous Australians in a kind of "self-fulfilling academic prophecy"; the station-master and amateur ethnographer Francis Gillen first used the terms in an ethnographical report in 1896. With Walter Baldwin Spencer, Gillen published a major work, Native Tribes of Central Australia, in 1899. In that work, they spoke of the Alcheringa as "the name applied to the far distant past with which the earliest traditions of the tribe deal". Five years in their Northern tribes of central Australia, they gloss the far distant age as "the dream times", link it to the word alcheri meaning "dream", affirm that the term is current among the Kaitish and Unmatjera.
Early doubts about the precision of Spencer and Gillen's English gloss were expressed by the German Lutheran pastor and missionary Carl Strehlow in his 1908 book Die Aranda, who noted that his Arrente contacts explained altjira, whose etymology was unknown, as an eternal being who had no beginning. In the Arrernte tongue, the proper verb for "to dream" was altjirerama, i.e. "to see god". Strehlow theorised that the noun is the somewhat rare word altjirrinja, of which Spencer and Gillen gave a corrupted transcription and a false etymology. "The native," they concluded, "knows nothing of'dreamtime' as a designation of a certain period of their history."Strehlow gives Altjira or Altjira mara as the Arrente word for the eternal creator of the world and humankind. Strehlow describes him as a tall strong man with red skin, long fair hair and emu legs, with many red-skinned wives and children. In Strehlow's account, Altjira lives in the sky. However, by the time Strehlow was writing, his contacts had been converts to Christianity for decades, critics suggested that Altjira had been used by missionaries as a word for the Christian God.
In 1926, Spencer conducted a field study to challenge Strehlow's conclusion about Altjira and the implied criticism of Gillen and Spencer's original work. Spencer found attestations of altjira from the 1890s that used the word to mean "associated with past times" or "eternal", not "god". Academic Sam Gill finds Strehlow's use of Altjira ambiguous, sometimes describing a supreme being and sometimes describing a totem being, but not a supreme one, he attributes the clash to Spencer's cultural evolutionist beliefs that Aboriginal people were at a pre-religion "stage" of development, while Strehlow as a Christian missionary found presence of belief in the divine a useful entry point for proselytising. Linguist David Campbell Moore is critical of Spencer and Gillen's "Dreamtime" translation, concluding: "Dreamtime" was a mistranslation based on an etymological connection between "a dream" and "Altjira" which held only over a limited geographical domain. There was some semantic relationship between "Altjira" and "a dream", but to imagine that the latter captures the essence of "Altjira" is an illusion.
The complex of religious beliefs encapsulated by "Dreamtime" is called: "Ngarrankarni" or "Ngarrarngkarni" by the Gija people "the Jukurrpa" or "Tjukurpa" by the Warlpiri people and in the Pitjantjatjara dialect "the Ungud" or "Wungud" by the Ngarinyin people "Manguny" in the language Martu Wangka "Wongar" in North-East Arnhem Land "Daramoolen" in Ngunnawal language and Ngarigo language "Nura" in the Dharug languageIn English, anthropologists have variously translated words translated as "Dreamtime" or "Dreaming" in a variety of other ways, including "everywhen", "world-dawn", "Ancestral past", "Ancestral present", "Ancestral now", "Abiding Events" or "Abiding Law". Most translations of "Dreamtime" into other languages are based on the translation of the word "dream". Examples include Espaces de rêves in Snivanje in Croation. Related entities are known as Mura-mura as Tjukurpa in Pitjantjatjara. "Dreaming" is now used as a term for a system of totemic symbols, so that an indigenous Australian may "own" a spe