Monday, September 26, 2011

Australian Aborigine Hair Tells a Story of Human Migration


This story, published last week in the New York Times, reports the first genome test performed on a Aborigine Australian (the DNA actually came from a 100 year old piece of hair). Aboriginals are direct descendants of the settlers of Australia. Through the results of the test, scientists recognized the significance of the Aboriginal DNA. Because the DNA was not mixed with DNA from any other race, scientists concluded that the ancestors of Aboriginal Australians migrated directly from Africa, before the split of the Europeans and Asians, thus refuting the previously accepted migration theory. This migration theory stated that one out-of-Africa emigration wave occurred which colonized Europe and Asia, and then Australia, by a small group breaking off from the Asian group. With this new evidence, we see there were two waves of emigration from Africa. The first traveled through Asia and settled Australia. They were the first humans to leave Africa. The second occurred 24,000 years after and split into the Europeans and Asians. The second wave never traveled to Australia. This breakthrough discovery leads scientists to wonder if perhaps the colonization of the world occurred in even more waves.

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