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29th Ramadan 1435 | Monday, Jul 28, 2014
World

Indians 'migrated to Australia 4000 years ago'

Wednesday, 16 January 2013
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Melbourne, January 16:

A new study has revealed that Indians may have migrated to Australia about 4000 years ago and mixed with Aborigines before Europeans colonised the continent.

According to media reports here, German researchers found evidence in their latest study that will be published in the proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

"It could have been by people actually moving, physically travelling from India directly to Australia, or their genetic material could have moved in terms of contact between India and neighbouring populations who then had contact with other neighbour populations and eventually, there would have been contact with Australia," quoting Mark Stoneking from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, ABC News has reported.

Stoneking and a team of researchers analysed around a million genetic markers in Aboriginal Australians and compared the patterns of variation to other populations.

"The date that we get for when this gene flow from India occurs - roughly around 4,000 years ago - does coincide remarkably well with the first appearance of microliths, so the small stone tool technology, in the archaeological record for Australia and with the first appearance of the dingo.

So it does at least raise the suggestion that all of these events might all be connected," Stoneking said. Most scientists believed these ancestors of modern Aborigines remained isolated from other populations until Europeans appeared in the late 18th century.

But a 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, or 141 generations, ago.

The study's lead researcher, Irina Pugach was quoted by another report in 'The Age' as saying that the arrival of these people during the Holocene coincided with many changes in Australia's archaeological record.

"[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," Pugach said, adding, "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."

The researchers said it was possible Indian ancestry came to Australia indirectly, through south-east Asian populations who had trade links with northern Australia and Indonesia.

But the analysis found no evidence of this scenario in the genes of the south-east Asian populations. The study also found a common origin between Aboriginal Australians, New Guinea populations and the Mamanwa ? a Negrito group from the Philippines.

The researchers estimate these groups split from each other about 36,000 years ago.

PTI

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