Is the Daintree Rainforest the Oldest in the World?

The Daintree Rainforest; a natural paradise home to some of the world’s most spellbinding wonders and unique wildlife. Nestled in Australia’s tropical Queensland region, stretching out thousands of kilometres along the green coastland. It is, in fact, one of the oldest rainforests still existing in the entire world.

Daintree’s Formation

Back millions of years ago, Australia was a warm, humid climate with continuous rainfall all throughout its region. It was a completely tropical country land, with no dry outback or cold climate like nowadays. The continuous rainfall and humid climate was a paradise for rainforests, which soon flooded the entire region in ancient plant life and unique animals. However, over thousands of years, the climate started to change, becoming drier and drier until the majority of the land was unsuitable for rainforest life. The rainforest grew smaller and smaller until only a section was left in the Northeast region of Queensland, now known as the Daintree Rainforest. The Daintree Rainforest is now a ripe old age of 180 million years, which beats the famous Amazon by 10 million years at least.

Its special qualities

Being so old, it comes to no surprise that this natural wonder is jam-packed with ancient and biodiverse wildlife. In fact, it is listed with the most biologically diverse flora and fauna in the entire world. With some species residing here are found nowhere else. With 80% of the entire world’s fern species, 40% of the country’s bird species, as well as 35% of Australia’s mammals, and not to mention 12,000 different insect species. Species such as the Ulysses Butterfly, Boyd’s Forest Dragon, and the Southern Cassowary are unique to this rainforest alone and would be extinct without it.

The ancient species living within are vast, with the 19 primate plants families remaining on earth, there are in fact 12 of them found in this rainforest.

How Humans Discovered it

The first humans to discover and reside in the rainforest were, of course, the traditional owners of Australia; the Aboriginal people. As the rainforest was so vast and thick, there were 18 different aboriginal camps living within the Daintree Rainforest, with enough room not to knock shoulders. They all belonged to the Kuku Yalanji tribe, who co-existed with the rainforest to survive and thrive. They hunted the local native animals, and feed on the vegetation, having vast knowledge on the rainforest. It is said they even used toxic vegetation, having particular methods to cut away the poison before serving it. They existed here for over 9000 years until the European settlers came to Australia. Gold attracted the Europeans to the rainforest, who began mining the area and attacking the local tribes. The first village of the area wasn’t until 1988 and led to a large chunk of the rainforest to perish.

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