Friday, July 24, 2009

An Ancient Australia-Indian connection

I read with interest a short story in the Sydney Morning Herald suggesting that DNA testing had established possible links between early populations in what is now India and the Australian Aborigines, although I thought that the headline (First Australians were Indian) was a bit silly.

Those who are interested can find the original research piece here. It does seem to add support to the idea that at least some of Australia's early settlers came to Australia via India though the then extended South East Asian landmass and into what is now Australia via the Southern sea route.

I found the story very interesting if not especially surprising. One of the things about Australia's relative isolation from the west of the world and the continent's long human occupation is that the continent provides a window into the human past in a way not possible in other, more fought over, areas.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's refreshing to see that open access peer-reviewed journals exist. In the field that I have an amateur interest in (mathematics) they seem to be scarce.

Jim Belshaw said...

I agree, anon. I get very frustrated with the same problem.

tikno said...

It's interesting to read that they were believed Aborigines travelled from Africa to Australia via India. A very long trip where no motorized boat, plane, car.

Jim, I have read an interesting article about Australian Aboriginal based on anthropology perspectives at:
http://www.janesoceania.com/australian_aboriginal_anthropology/index1.htm

Jim Belshaw said...

The janes piece was an interesting one, Tikno, and not a bad intoductory summary. There were a few things that I might disagree with - age of settlement for one thing, but its quite a big effort to write such a short overview.The whole site is interesting in fact.

rummuser said...

And the connections are being modernized now! One way or the other!

Tikno's link was enlightening. What do you disagree with?

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Ramana.

The Aborigines have been in Australia longer than 18,000 years. There is argument about the length of time, but on hard evidence it would appear to be at least 40,000 years. This is one reason why Australia is so interesting in looking as the spread of humanity.

I also thought, and this is almost inevitable in a short summary, that there was insufficient recognition of the variety of Aboriginal life across the country and over time.