Australia discovered by the 'Southern Route'

July 21, 2009

Genetic research indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology have found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines.

Dr Raghavendra Rao worked with a team of researchers from the Anthropological Survey of to sequence 966 complete mitochondrial DNA genomes from Indian 'relic populations'. He said, " is inherited only from the mother and so allows us to accurately trace ancestry. We found certain mutations in the of the Indian tribes we sampled that are specific to Australian Aborigines. This shared ancestry suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called 'Southern Route'".

The 'Southern Route' dispersal of modern humans suggests movement of a group of hunter-gatherers from the Horn of Africa, across the mouth of the Red Sea into Arabia and southern Asia at least 50 thousand years ago. Subsequently, the modern human populations expanded rapidly along the coastlines of southern Asia, southeastern Asia and Indonesia to arrive in Australia at least 45 thousand years ago. The genetic evidence of this dispersal from the work of Rao and his colleagues is supported by of human occupation in the Lake Mungo area of Australia dated to approximately the same time period.

Discussing the implications of the research, Rao said, "Human evolution is usually understood in terms of millions of years. This direct indicates that the emergence of 'anatomically modern' humans in Africa and the spread of these humans to other parts of the world happened only fifty thousand or so years ago. In this respect, populations in the Indian subcontinent harbor DNA footprints of the earliest expansion out of Africa. Understanding human evolution helps us to understand the biological and cultural expressions of these people, with far reaching implications for human welfare."

More information: Reconstructing Indian-Australian phylogenetic link. Satish Kumar, Rajasekhara REDDY Ravuri, Padmaja Koneru, B P Urade, B N Sarkar, A Chandrasekar and V R Rao, (in press), http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcevolbiol/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: Humans went out of Africa for shellfish

Related Stories

Humans went out of Africa for shellfish

May 13, 2005

The lure of a seafood diet may explain why early humans came out of Africa, according to research by the universities of Leeds and Glasgow published in Science this week. Early modern humans in East Africa survived on an ...

The 'spread of our species'

November 8, 2005

Modern humans arrival in South Asia may have led to demise of indigenous populations. In a major new development in human evolutionary studies, researchers from the University of Cambridge argue that the dispersal of modern ...

China's earliest modern human

April 2, 2007

Researchers at WUSTL and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing have been studying a 40,000-year-old early modern human skeleton found in China and have determined that the "out of ...

Tracing African-American Ancestry Difficult

October 12, 2006

Mitochondrial DNA may not hold the key to unlocking the ancestry of African Americans, according to a study by a University of South Carolina researcher published in this week’s issue of the journal BMC Biology.

Recommended for you

Knowledge gap on the origin of sex

May 26, 2017

There are significant gaps in our knowledge on the evolution of sex, according to a research review on sex chromosomes from Lund University in Sweden. Even after more than a century of study, researchers do not know enough ...

The high cost of communication among social bees

May 26, 2017

(Phys.org)—Eusocial insects are predominantly dependent on chemosensory communication to coordinate social organization and define group membership. As the social complexity of a species increases, individual members require ...

Why communication is vital—even among plants and funghi

May 26, 2017

Plant scientists at the University of Cambridge have found a plant protein indispensable for communication early in the formation of symbiosis - the mutually beneficial relationship between plants and fungi. Symbiosis significantly ...

Darwin was right: Females prefer sex with good listeners

May 26, 2017

Almost 150 years after Charles Darwin first proposed a little-known prediction from his theory of sexual selection, researchers have found that male moths with larger antennae are better at detecting female signals.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

lengould100
not rated yet Jul 22, 2009
the emergence of 'anatomically modern' humans in Africa and the spread of these humans to other parts of the world happened only fifty thousand or so years ago.
only 50 k years for the existence of modern humans outside of Africa? A shockingly short time, historically.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.