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22 January 2013
Indians 'broke Australian isolation 4,000 years ago'

Genetic analysis of more than 300 Aborigines, Indians, and people from Papua New Guinea and islands of south-east Asia has found a "significant gene flow" from India to Australia about 4230 years ago, reports a new study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
     Irina Pugach, the study's lead researcher, says "[There was] 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," adding, "it is likely that these changes were related to this migration."
     The study also found a common origin between Aboriginal Australians, New Guinea populations, and a Negrito group from the Philippines. The researchers estimate these groups split from each other about 36,000 years ago, when Australia and New Guinea formed one land mass. "Outside Africa, Aboriginial Australians are the oldest continuous population in the world," said Pugach, a molecular anthropologist.
     Australia offers some of the earliest archaeological evidence for the presence of humans outside Africa, with sites dated to at least 45,000 years ago.

Edited from Zeenews (16 January 2012), AFP, Yahoo! News (15 January 2013)

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