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Aboriginal Hunters’ Fires Help Restore an Australian Desert

In Australia in recent decades, the bilby, the bettong, or rat kangaroo, the brush-tailed possum and other medium-sized mammals all disappeared from the Western Desert. It was a mystery: Typically bigger animals vanish first — often only after people show up. But ask the people who lived in this desert for 48,000 years what happened and many will tell you: They left.

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