Australian Aborigines may have had a very long history of isolation, for at least 50,000 years according to a new study of the Aboriginal genome.
This genetic dating is consistent with previous studies of when the first peoples came to the Australian continent.
It has been believed that migrations occurred from India to Australia about 5,000 years ago. This would, for example, explain how the dingo arrived in Australia.
But new genetic data now indicate that no such migration occurred. Aborigines should instead have been isolated on the continent until Europeans arrived there some 200 years ago.
The study has used sophisticated genetic techniques, but the number of individuals is small. This means that the result will probably need to be confirmed to be certain.
Deep roots Aboriginal Australian Y Chromosomes