DNA Study Gives Insight Into Aboriginal Australian Heritage

January 16, 2013

It has long been thought that aboriginal Australians did not mix with any other races until the 18th-century arrival of Europeans. But a DNA study released January 14 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests native Australians and people from India may have mixed as recently as 4,200 years ago.

The DNA results coincide with the archaeological record, which shows when microliths, a new kind of stone tool appeared and when dingos—an animal not indigenous to Australia—arrived in the fossil record.

"We don't know for sure that these events are connected, but the fact that all of these occur at the same time suggests that they may be," Mark Stoneking, a molecular anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, told the Los Angeles Times.

The study’s conclusions were reached by studying the genomes of 344 people including aborigines from Australia’s Northern Territory as well as those from Papua New Guinea, Southeast Asia, India, China, as well as some of Western and Northern European ancestry.

Read more about the study’s results at LATimes.com.

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