The genetic history of Aboriginal Australians is revealed

It remains debated how Australia was initially populated and how changes in language and culture in the continent happened.

ew1Australia contains some of the oldest archaeological evidence of modern humans outside Africa dating back to about 50,000 years. Still about 90% of Aboriginal Australians speak languages belonging to a single linguistic family that dates back no more than a few thousand years. This difference in ages between the genetic results and the linguistic understanding was a puzzling, until today where new research reveals the answer. Evidence has been found that a population increase and expansion from the north eastern Australia to the rest of the continent around 4,000 years ago, has brought linguistic and cultural changes with it.

Read more about how Aboriginal Australians descend from the first human explorers

Eske Willerslev, Centre for Geogenetics, University Copenhagen, who is senior author on the paper and led the study, explains:
“We have never seen anything like this before. It is a few immigrants who changed the way people spoke and thought”.

The first population genomic studies on Aboriginal Australians published in this week’s Nature provide some of the answers.

Read more via Centre for Geogenetic here