Indian genes had got mixed with that of Australian aboriginals more than 4,000 years ago — centuries before the Europeans colonized Down Under.
Dingo, the Australian wild dog, may have also been an Indian export besides stone tool technologies that changed the way Australian aboriginals lives their lives. Latest scientific evidence published has found that Australian aboriginal and Indian genes were mixed.
A study by researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has now confirmed evidence of substantial gene flow between Indian population and Australia aboriginals about 4,000 years ago.
Interestingly, the study also suggests that this migration coincided with several changes in the archaeological record of Australia, which include a sudden change in plant processing and stone tool technologies, with microliths appearing for the first time, and the first appearance of the dingo in the fossil record.
Lead researcher Irina Pugach from Germany said, “Since we detect inflow of genes from India into Australia at around the same time, it is likely that these changes were related to this migration.”
She explained, “We have estimated the amount of Indian contribution to Australian genomes at around 10%, but this number doesn’t tell us anything about how many individuals might have migrated. This number depends on the size of the Australian population at the time, and we don’t know how big it was. “The amount of Indian ancestry could have become inflated through the process known as genetic drift, especially if the Australian population was small.”
“Out of the populations considered in the study, Dravidian-speaking groups are the best match to be the source populations for this migration, but this does not mean the ancestors of these groups actually were the source population. It is possible, that there is another group which we didn’t sample yet. Another possibility is that this group doesn’t even exist anymore,” she added.
Australia holds some of the earliest archaeological evidence for the presence of modern humans outside Africa, with the earliest sites dated to at least 45,000 years ago, making Australian aboriginals one of the oldest continuous populations outside Africa. By Kounteya Sinha