San José State University
Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

A Recent Genetic Study Reveals an Ancient Influx of People
and Technology from South India to Australia

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (January 29, 2013) (vol. 110, pp. 1805-1808) reveals around 2200 BCE that a group of people from South India entered Australia bringing a new microlith (small stone) technology and a few plant and animal species, notably the dingo. This group mixed with the Aboriginees because now about 10 percent of the genes of the Aboriginees can be identified as originating in South India.

The study was conducted by a group at the Max Planck Institute in Germany under the leadership of Irina Pugach. The group collected DNA samples from among the Aboriginee people of Australia, the indigenous population of New Guinea, the Dravidian population of South India and a few other groups. The most important finding is that there was an admixture of the Aborigine population with migrants from South India about 4230 years ago. A secondary finding was that the New Guinean population separated from the Australian Aboriginal population about 36,000 years ago.

Working with a date of 4230 years ago the researchers were able to identify a shift in the technology of stone weapons about that time from the large stone to the small stone technology. Also about this time the bones of dingos first appeared in the archaeological record. The time of 4230 years ago was during the heyday of the Harrappan civilization in the Indus River Valley region. Harrappan traders traveled throughout the Persian Gulf so it is known that the Harrappans had water craft capable of traveling great distances.

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