Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DNA and the history of Australia's Aborigines

Just a short note this morning.

Back in July 2009, I reported Indian research suggesting that DNA testing had established possible links between early populations in what is now India and the Australian Aborigines. This seemed 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.

DNA research from the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology now suggests that an infusion of Indian genes occurred about 4,000 years ago. The researchers also found a common origin for populations from Australia, New Guinea and the Mamanwa – a Negrito group from the Philippines; – they estimated that these groups split from each other about 36,000 years ago. Max Plank's Mark Stoneking states:

“This finding supports the view that these populations represent the descendants of an early ‘southern route’ migration out of Africa, while other populations in the region arrived later by a separate dispersal.“

This also indicates that Australians and New Guineans diverged early in the history of Sahul, and not when the lands were separated by rising sea waters around 8,000 years ago.

The research results are interesting and potentially very important to Aboriginal history. I will write up a fuller analysis on my history blog and then post a link here.

Postscript: New evidence on the Settling of Australia – the Indian connection provides a fuller update on this matter.

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