Sand Balls

or : The Inspiration of Aboriginal Art

As we walked on the beach at Cabe Tribulation, we could see that the sand was disturbed here and there as if by children building small sand castles and then knocking them over. This was puzzling, because there was noone on the beach apart from us.

As we approached one of the areas of scuffed sand, we could see that it consisted of little balls of sand, obviously scraped together off the surface of the beach. The sand balls were arranged in the vicinity of a small hole.

As we looked at different patterns, we fancied that we could, with a little imagination, see figures in the sand ball patterns.

It also occurred to us that the patterns resembled some of the aboriginal art which we had seen in tourist shops, and that this type of art may have been inspired by the sand ball patterns which presumably exist on beaches all around Australia.

We speculated on what sort of creature was making the patterns, and tried creeping up slowly on patterns in the hope of catching the artist at work. After several fruitless attempts, he was spotted!

The crab presumably searches through the top layer of sand for vegetable matter, and builds it into a ball so that it does not repeat the examionation of that sand. It then starts a new ball of sand nearby, thus creating a pattern of lines of scoured sand containing the balls.

Bennett's theory on the Origin of Aboriginal Art - voila!

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