Aboriginal DNA study reveals 50,000-year story of sacred ties to land | Australia news | The Guardian: Mitochondrial DNA is the powerhouse that drives the conversion of food into energy, and is useful to researchers because it carries genetic material passed exclusively between a mother and her children, allowing maternal ancestry to be traced.
Despite the age of the hair samples and the fact that they were collected under harsh environmental conditions, the researchers were surprised to find high concentrations of good quality mitochondrial DNA.
Their analysis found Aboriginal Australians are the descendants of a single founding population that arrived in Australia 50,000 years ago, while Australia was still connected to New Guinea. Populations then spread rapidly – within 1,500 to 2,000 years – around the east and west coasts of Australia, meeting somewhere in South Australia.
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