Publication Details

Taylor, N. A.S.. How humans adapt to exercising and working in the tropics. Science of Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity in the Tropics 2016: Conference Proceedings; Townsville, Australia: James Cook University; 2016. 11-12.


Human migration to Australia occurred over 62,000 years ago. Those first Australians established one of the oldest continuous populations on the driest of the inhabited continents, surviving the world's longest drought (>10,000 y). Indeed, the traditional owners established a cultural identity and sustainable lifestyle thousands of years before any of the more recognised ancient civilisations. However, our temperature and rainfall variations belie the national stereotype, with temperatures from -23oC (Charlotte Pass, New South Wales) to 50.7oC (Oodnadatta, South Australia), and annual rainfalls from 125 mm (Lake Eyre, South Australia) through to 12,461 mm in the tropical north-east (Bellenden Ker, Queensland). Those climates shaped the variability, quality and quantity of the flora and fauna, and provided unique and diverse adaptation opportunities that influenced the cultural, lifestyle and physiological characteristics of the Aborigines.