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That descent the groups agree in tracing, not from some real or idealised human parent, but from some animal, plant, or other natural object, as the kangaroo, the emu, the iguana, the pelican, and so forth. Persons of the pelican stock in the north of Queensland regard themselves as relations of people of the same stock in the most southern parts of Australia. The creature from which each tribe claims descent is called "of the same flesh," while persons of another stock are "fresh flesh." A native may not marry a woman of "his own flesh;" it is only a woman of "fresh" or "strange" flesh he may marry. Nor may he eat an animal of "his own flesh;" he may only eat "strange flesh." Only under great stress of need will an Australian eat the animal which is the flesh—and-blood cousin and protector of his stock.[1] Clearer evidence of the confusion between man and beast, of the claiming of kin between man and beast, could hardly be.

But the Australian philosophy of the intercommunion of Nature goes still farther than this. Besides the local divisions and the kindred stocks which trace their descent from animals, there exist among many Australian tribes divisions of a kind still unexplained. For example, every man of the Mount Gambier local tribe is by birth either a Kumite or a Kroki. This classification applies to the whole of the sensible universe. Thus smoke and honeysuckle trees belong to the division Kumite, and are akin to the fishhawk

  1. Dawson, Aborigines, pp. 26–27; Stewart and Fison, Kamilaroi and Kurnai, p. 169.