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Lock of hair dates Aboriginal arrival to Australia

Scientists have used the century-old hair of a Western Australian Aboriginal man to pin down the arrival of migrants from Africa to between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago.
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(Antler)

The DNA sequencing of a 100-year-old hair lock of hair from an Australian Aborigine has revealed that he was directly descended from Africans who migrated to Asia about 70,000 years ago.

According to ABC Science, the discovery proves that Aboriginal Australians have a longer continuous association with the land than any other race of people.

The lock of hair was donated to British anthropologist Alfred Haddon in the early 20th century by an aboriginal man from Western Australia's Goldfields region.

An international team of researchers published their findings in the journal Science.

University of Western Australia archeologist Dr Joe Dortch, who co-authored the study, said the finding draws up a timeline for Australian inhabitants of at least 50,000 years.

He told ABC News:

So far there are no (archeological) sites that are over 50,000 years old so it puts a time limit on that and focuses our future efforts. No one else in the world can say, 'I am descended from people who have been here 75,000 years'.

The study found the hair had no genetic input for modern European Australians who migrated to the country much later.

According to the BBC, the study's findings challenges current theories that there was a single wave of migration out of Africa into Europe.

One theory is that Australia's first migrants were branched off from the Asian population, who were differentiated from European ancestors.

But Dortch said the study indicated that when Australia's first migrants arrived, the Asian and European ancestors were probably still in Africa or the Middle East.


 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/news/regions/asia-pacific/australian-aborigines-hair-study-migration