Aborigines, First Inhabitants Of Australia, Research Says, Theories About Mungo Man Debunked

First Posted: Jun 08, 2016 09:50 AM EDT

Scientists from Griffith University's Research Centre for Human Evolution (RCHE) have recently discovered evidence proving that Aboriginal people were indeed the first to live the continent which argues an earlier landmark study claiming to have recovered DNA sequences from the oldest known Australian, Mungo Man.

According to an article in, Mungo Man was a hunter-gatherer that lived in western New South Wales approximately 43,000 years ago and his skeleton is the oldest remains on the continent. Past research by Australian academic Alan Thorne said that he has found the DNA of Mungo Man and that it came from a specific line of humans who headed the aborigines.

The research disputed the commonly held "out of Africa" theory and suggested that Australia was inhabited by people from southern Asia. Professor Lambert, from RCHE, said the 2001 paper was "important worldwide and in Australia" but "there was always a certain amount of concern" about the accuracy of its findings.

"The sample from Mungo Man which we retested contained sequences from five different European people suggesting that these all represent contamination," he said. "At the same time we re-analysed more than 20 of the other ancient people from Willandra. We were successful in recovering the genomic sequence of one of the early inhabitants of Lake Mungo, a man buried very close to the location where Mungo Man was originally interred.

He also said that by going back and carefully examining the samples again using more advanced technology, they have found a huge amount of compelling support for their argument that Aboriginal Australians were indeed the first to inhabit Australia, Science Daily reported.

Professor Lambert also explained that the results proved that using the more advanced genomic technology made unlocking further secrets from Australia's human past more accurate. "We now know that meaningful genetic information can be recovered from ancient Aboriginal Australian remains," he said. He also added saying that the findings show the first time researchers have recovered an ancient mitochondrial genome sequence from an Aboriginal person who lived before the arrival of the Europeans.

Since the publication of Thomas Henry Huxley's Man's Place in Nature in 1863, there has been debate in Australia and around the world about the origins of the first Australians.

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