Aboriginal Genes Dated

This is from the i paper, by Steve Connor last week.

“Aboriginal Australians have been genetically isolated from the rest of humanity for 50,000 years, a DNA study has revealed.The finding contradicts suggestions by some scholars that they intermarried with people from Asia 4,000 years ago. A detailed analysis of the male Y chromosome from 13 aboriginal men found no traces of DNA from other ethnic groups, such as people from the Indian sub-continent, who were thought to have migrated to Australia about 2000BC. Geneticists have calculated from mutations in the Y chromosome that the first inhabitants of Australia had separated from other members of Homo Sapiens living elsewhere in the world about 50,000 years ago – probably long before our species had arrived in Europe.

The findings of the study, however, fail to explain the arrival on the dingo which is not a native species and was almost certainly brought by humans ..from South East Asia. Previous genetic studies, along with archaeological evidence of imported tools and a change of language, had suggested that the dingo had arrived with south-east Asians who had settled in Australia and interbred with local Aboriginals.

However, the latest study .. in Current Biology  by an Angl0-Australian team of researchers rules out any interbreeding, at least down the male line of descent, said Chris Tyler-Smith an evolutionary geneticist at the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge.

The researchers have shared their results with their subjects. “We were effectively telling them what they already knew. They were the least surprised by the findings,” Dr Tyler Smith said. Lesley Williams, an Aboriginal elder, said that “Science has confirmed what our ancestors have aught us over many generations – that we have lived here since the Dreaming”

Yes, but what about the dingos? As I understand it, their closest relatives, as one of the few dogs that don’t bark, is the basenji of South Africa. Maybe they were very good swimmers.

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4 thoughts on “Aboriginal Genes Dated

  1. The land bridge between New Guinea and Australia was submerged about 8000 years ago, so they could have either come with later humans or swum from the mainland Barb – it is now believed that only our species had domesticated dogs, but personally, I doubt that – any hunter hominids would attract canines, along with other predators, so forming a mutually beneficial relationship would be possible. 🐵

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  2. That’s a problem, also the tiny sample size they used. No indication if any of them were related to each other etc., so a bit hard to pin this down. But I do love the idea that science has finally proven the Dreamtime. What next? The return of King Arthur?

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