Australia: Men and dogs migrated from India – TNIE

Australia MapAs the distinctive fauna and flora of Australia suggest, the island-continent had been cut off from the rest of the world for several thousand years. It is believed that the main migrations occurred between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago by people from south-east Asia, who went there along the ‘land bridges’ and short sea-crossings. Latest findings indicate that the migrations from India and south-east Asia continued till 4,000 years ago, which may explain why the indigenous population was as high as between 7,50,000 and 10,00,000 till the European settlements began in the 18th century.

Australian Dingo DogA comparison of the genetic material of Aboriginal Australians with the people of New Guinea, south-east Asia and India has shown the migrants from India may have brought stone tools or microliths and food processing techniques, as well as dogs, to their new home. Morphologically, the Australian dingo closely resembles the Indian dogs, according to another group of researchers. The journeys over the vast distances are “one of the first dispersals of modern humans”, according to Mark Stoneking of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who is the leader of the team that carried out the genetic study.

Indian Street DogHowever, according to him, it is something of “a conundrum that people who got there this early would have been so isolated”. There is little doubt that this mystery will be solved sooner or later, but what is obvious is that the migrations had tapered off because the earlier urge to seek a new land perhaps under the pressure of an expanding population had diminished. The Indian connection is an indication, however, of how mankind’s long march, which began in Africa, had passed through the subcontinent before reaching the southern hemisphere. – The New Indian Express, 16 January 2013

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