If you want to discover your genetic history and where you came from... you’ve found the right place!

888-806-2588

review of scientific and news articles on dna testing and popular genetics

Aboriginal Australian History Finally Resolved

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Everyone probably has wondered at some time what makes Aboriginal Australians different from other people, where they came from and how old their ethnic type is. Well, wonder no more. Following up on the previous post, "Australian Aboriginal DNA Gets Attention," this post will summarize the groundbreaking article in Science magazine, M. Rasmussen et al., "An Aboriginal Australian Genome Reveals Separate Human Dispersals into Asia" (Science 334, 7 Oct. 2011, 94-98).

First the abstract:

We present an Aboriginal Australian genomic sequence obtained from a 100-year-old lock of hair donated by an Aboriginal man from southern Western Australia in the early 20th century. We detect no evidence of European admixture and estimate contamination levels to be below 0.5%. We show that Aboriginal Australians are descendants of an early human dispersal into eastern Asia, possibly 62,000 to 75,000 years ago. This dispersal is separate from the one that gave rise to modern Asians 25,000 to 38,000 years ago. We also find evidence of gene flow between populations of the two dispersal waves prior to the divergence of Native Americans from modern Asian ancestors. Our findings support the hypothesis that present-day Aboriginal Australians descend from the earliest humans to occupy Australia, likely representing one of the oldest continuous populations outside Africa.

Above:  Aboriginal Men about 1900 from the Coranderrk Community. La Trobe Picture Collection.

This study of Aboriginals will be cited as a landmark case in genetics because the authors took especial care to disarm any criticism concerning possible admixture and contamination, achieved a stupendous rate of success in sequencing DNA sites and used smart comparators to verify their model of what makes Aboriginals different, including Neanderthals, Denisovans, Andamanese, Filipinos, Indians, Papua New Guineans and Melanesians. Fifty-eight co-authors are listed, with Morten Rasmussen of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York, named as the first lead author.

First sentence:

The genetic history of Aboriginal Australians is contentious but highly important for understanding the evolution of modern humans.

Some mysteries pointed out about Aboriginal Australian DNA by the authors include:

--The Aboriginal population contains a lot of diversity, including specimens of most of the world's haplogroups, male and female

--Related populations suggested are hunger-gatherers from Nepal and the Philippines, Great Andamanese and Onge from the Andaman Islands, Highland Papua New Guineans and certain peoples from India

--It was previously unclear whether Aboriginals resulted from a single dispersal out of Africa or multiple-dispersal model

--The role of hybridization with other archaic peoples was also not clear.

The authors confirm that "before European contact occurred, Aboriginal Australian and PNG Highlands ancestors had been genetically isolated from other populations (except possibly each other) since at least 15,000 to 30,000 years B.P." Also, "our results favor the multiple-dispersal model in which the ancestors of Aboriginal Australian and related populations split from the Eurasian population before Asian and Europeans split from each other" (97). "We find that the European and Asian populations split from each other only 25,000 to 38,000 years B.P., in agreement with previous estimates."

The new study finds that Aboriginals have an amount of admixture with Neanderthals and Denisovans comparable to Europeans and Asians, although they have more Denisovan DNA than other people. "This admixture may have occurred in Melanesia or, alternative, in Eurasia during the early migration wave" (97).

In sum, the Aboriginals are part of the same first-out-of-Africa branch of the human tree as Europeans and Asians, their ancestors splitting 62,000 to 75,000 years ago from Africans, and leaving relic related populations in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. A second expansion wave through India, Indo-China and Southeast Asia replaced the original stock, while the Aboriginals became stranded and isolated in Australia about 50,000 years ago. 

"This means that Aboriginal Australians likely have one of the oldest continuous population histories outside sub-Saharan Africa today" (98).

Properly positioning Australian Aboriginals in the expansion of humans out of Africa opens the way to connecting the dots for all the other prehistoric peoples. The migration map presented by Rasmussen et al should be carefully studied for clues about the origins of Asians and Native Americans, to begin with.



Reconstruction of early spread of modern humans outside Africa. Note admixture between early dispersal (red) and second dispersal (black), as well as presence of archaic Denisovans in Asia. Science magazine.










Comments

Angel Du Pree commented on 15-Nov-2013 12:58 PM

Back in the seventies I took an anthropology course at the University of Florida. One of the professors had postulated that the Australian aborigines may have had ancestry with the Ainu people off the coast of Japan. Though the Ainu are light skinned he pointed out the fact that both tend to have a similar head shape, notably their foreheads. He showed us a map of ocean currents and one of them led directly from the Ainu sown to Australia. Has this been totally debunked? Have there been any genetic comparisons done?

Nat Turner commented on 15-Feb-2014 08:45 AM

A great, intelligent and mystical people,
greatly not understood and abused by latecomers,
The links between Australia and the surrounds have long been clear,
even before the "proof" by DNA.
What has not been discussed widely or taken into consideration is,
the so called Aboriginals along with the very early inhabitants of India,
were both actually preceded by "pygmies" and
in both cases these "pygmies" were still extant, at least till recently.
They like the pygmies of Africa represent the first of humanity, and
they remained even in Europe way into historical times.
The Greeks pictured them with their protuberant bellies as their gods on pottery,
The Vatican documents them as far away as Greenland under the name Skraelings,
The Japanese Ainu, entering Japan, sight them as "earth spiders & pit dwellers" under the name Koro-pok-guru.
When Pharaoh Seti I wanted to see the "Sacred Dance", ie. heavenly movements,
he sent southward to the land of Punt,
for a pygmy to perform.
The descendants of the first men, even those who were known as the "Gods" are to be found still in pockets across Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
The Australian Aboriginals, The Dravidians the Africans represent the first of man.
They must be especially cherished as they purvey the secrets of man's inception.


Please tell us what you think

Name, website, and email are optional; if we publish your comment, your name will be shown, and may be linked to your website if provided, but the email you enter will not be published.





Captcha Image


Recent Posts


Tags

Scotland Maui Mark Thomas Discovery Channel DNA Fingerprint Test Kari Schroeder PNAS Ancestry.com ENFSI Ron Janke Satoshi Horai Zuni Indians Bode Technology Austronesian, Filipinos, Australoid Patrick Henry Gravettian culture Roma People rock art ged.com Charles Darwin Michael Schwartz education Cherokee Freedmen cancer Anglo-Saxons Plato FDA peopling of the Americas Peter Martyr Walter Plecker Romania MHC Barnard College giants Epigraphic Society Ancient Giantns Who Ruled America genetics health and medicine GlobalFiler human leukocyte testing Horatio Cushman Secret History of the Cherokee Indians Bering Land Bridge Pueblo Indians rapid DNA testing Carl Zimmer Mark Stoneking Micmac Indians Rebecca L. Cann Sinti Gila River Wikipedia District of Columbia INORA Richmond California Israel, Shlomo Sand Phoenicians Mildred Gentry Henry VII Gypsies haplogroup X Cajuns Native American DNA Test Michael Grant Kitty Prince of the Bear River Athabaskans prehistoric art Dienekes Anthropology Blog prehistory Henriette Mertz Nova Scotia European DNA Joel E. Harris Philippa Langley genetic determinism Joseph Andrew Park Wilson Sir Joshua Reynolds alleles Abenaki Indians Asiatic Fathers of America far from the tree Henry IV Kurgan Culture pheromones methylation Waynesboro Pennsylvania linguistics University of Leicester Jews haplogroup L hominids Alec Jeffreys Cleopatra Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies Barack Obama Mohawk Shlomo Sand Marija Gimbutas HapMap Wendy Roth New York Academy of Sciences Jalisco Old World Roots of the Cherokee Thuya Anne C. Stone Stone Age George Starr-Bresette ethics Janet Lewis Crain Elzina Grimwood autosomal DNA Ireland New Mexico Wendell Paulson Nikola Tesla Panther's Lodge Publishers Bigfoot Navajo Indians haplogroup E Europe Irish history Asian DNA Italy El Paso breast cancer George van der Merwede India Scientific American Middle Ages Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama M. J. Harper Charlotte Harris Reese haplogroup B Cornwall Jon Entine Tom Martin Scroft Anacostia Indians clan symbols Sizemore surname DNA databases Louis XVI Charles Perou Melungeon Movement Nadia Abu El-Haj David Cornish ancient DNA Middle Eastern DNA King Arthur Kentucky Cave art haplogroup T news haplogroup M Tucson Daniel Defoe haplogroup N DNA security B'nai Abraham Y chromosomal haplogroups Chris Stringer Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute London National Museum of Natural History Pima Indians Holocaust Database megapopulations Hopi Indians Nayarit Telltown population genetics Odessa Shields Cox religion Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Jewish genetics National Health Laboratories Rush Limbaugh Hohokam Indians Antonio Torroni Cooper surname FOX News Bulgaria Normans Acadians Cree Indians Y chromosome DNA Slovakia Stony Creek Baptist Church Yates surname Havasupai Indians Genome Sciences Building Columbia University Basques Life Technologies Richard Buckley family history Luca Pagani Wales climate change clinical chemistry National Geographic Daily News Roberta Estes Arizona Bureau of Indian Affairs Juanita Sims Lebanon Hadassah Magazine history of science Virginia genealogy Oxford Nanopore Applied Epistemology Mother Qualla John Ruskamp bloviators art history forensics French Canadians haplogroup J Austro-Hungary Moundbuilders haplogroup U Phoenix Silverbell Artifacts Colin Renfrew Lithuania King Arthur, Tintagel, The Earliest Jews and Muslims of England and Wales Anne Marie Fine Douglas Owsley X chromosome Lab Corp Grim Sleeper Jewish novelists Sizemore Indians Indo-Europeans Patagonia Colin Pitchfork Neolithic Revolution Old Souls in a New World Nephilim, Fritz Zimmerman palatal tori Genex Diagnostics Irish DNA oncology Cherokee DNA university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Belgium epigenetics Amy Harmon population isolates Asiatic Echoes Olmec Phyllis Starnes Nature Genetics Clovis New York Times corn DNA Diagnostics Center Dragging Canoe Current Anthropology First Peoples Thruston Tablet Rich Crankshaw mental foramen Eric Wayner aliyah Valparaiso University Pueblo Grande Museum Mexico Rafael Falk Patrick Pynes Arabic haplogroup G Erika Chek Hayden Douglas C. Wallace b'nei anousim Gunnar Thompson Ari Plost Riane Eisler Cohen Modal Haplotype Celts Denisovans Algonquian Indians John Wilwol N. Brent Kennedy Eske Willerslev Gustavo Ramirez Calderon Fritz Zimmerman DNA testing companies andrew solomon Les Miserables Harold Sterling Gladwin haplogroup Z bar mitzvah BATWING Kari Carpenter Stephen Oppenheimer Helladic art Svante Paabo Cherokee DNA Project Neanderthals Central Band of Cherokee Zizmer Native American DNA Indian Territory AP Sea Peoples haplogroup C 23andme horizontal inheritance FBI Tucson crosses Early Jews and Muslims of England and Wales (book) familial Mediterranean fever mummies Chauvet cave paintings haplogroup H metis Nature Communications Jewish contribution to world literature Chromosomal Labs Bode Technology Melungeon Union Magdalenian culture Sorbs Black Irish Hohokam Egyptians Mary Settegast Rare Genes BBCNews Mucogee Creeks surnames Phillipe Charlier DNA magazine Cancer Genome Atlas Discover magazine Washington D.C. polydactylism Terry Gross Jewish GenWeb England The Calalus Texts Albert Einstein College of Medicine statistics Sarmatians mitochondrial DNA Ostenaco Early Jews of England and Wales Daily News and Analysis Bryony Jones Israel Russell Belk Stacy Schiff genetic memory Tifaneg human migrations Great Goddess Comanche Indians Science magazine Ethel Cox origins of art Ripan Malhi Oxford Journal of Evolution seafaring Family Tree DNA Gregory Mendel microsatellites Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma occipital bun Iran Sam Kean single nucleotide polymorphism Bill Tiffee French DNA Finnish people Central Band of Cherokees Joseph Jacobs Melungeons Myra Nichols haplogroup D Puerto Rico Majorca Penny Ferguson crypto-Jews African DNA Jack Goins Holocaust Pomponia Graecina Ziesmer, Zizmor human leukocyte antigens Monica Sanowar Panther's Lodge Jan Ravenspirit Franz Isabel Allende Zionism Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America Khoisan Richard Lewontin Hawaii Keros Black Dutch private allele Maronites EURO DNA Fingerprint Test Sasquatch Melba Ketchum hoaxes ethnic markers powwows New York Review of Books Donald N. Yates NPR research Smithsonian Institution Britain John Butler Harry Ostrer Constantine Rafinesque Taino Indians Promega cannibalism Khazars phenotype immunology IntegenX Richard Dewhurst Stan Steiner Hertfordshire Paleolithic Age Science Daily, Genome Biol. Evol., Eran Elhaik, Khazarian Hypothesis, Rhineland Hypothesis Arabia Elvis Presley DNA Peter Parham gedmatch Johnny Depp mutation rate Chris Tyler-Smith Salt River Freemont Indians American history Altai Turks Tintagel American Journal of Human Genetics Akhenaten ISOGG Sinaloa Jim Bentley James Stritzel anthropology Douglas Preston personal genomics myths El Castillo cave paintings genomics labs The Nation magazine Ukraine CODIS markers Turkic DNA Leicester Sonora ethnicity race haplogroup W North African DNA Caucasian Ashkenazi Jews archeology Melanesians Texas A&M University Cismaru admixture consanguinity Stephen A. Leon Melungeon Heritage Association Miguel Gonzalez Michoacan Bradshaw Foundation Bentley surname research Jesse Montes Tennessee Victor Hugo Greeks James Shoemaker China Bryan Sykes Arizona State University Marie Cheng Rutgers University Population genetics Chuetas medicine Kate Wong Alabama genealogy Timothy Bestor Kennewick Man Teresa Panther-Yates Navajo Irish Central Anasazi Smithsonian Magazine Ananya Mandal Elizabeth C. Hirschman Mary Kugler Robinson Crusoe North Carolina Solutreans Maya Genie Milgrom William Byrd Beringia Nancy Gentry evolution Russia Tutankamun pipe carving DNA Forums Brian Wilkes Cismar DNA Fingerprint Test Hispanic ancestry Muslims in American history Colima Alia Garcia-Ureste Theodore Steinberg Choctaw Indians Abraham Lincoln Richard III When Scotland Was Jewish Etruscans Germany Elizabeth DeLand Virginia DeMarce Monya Baker haplogroup R

Archive