Scientists have studied the DNA of the ancient inhabitants of Wallace

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of scientists has sequenced the DNA of 16 ancient people who lived on the Wallace Islands north of Australia for the first time.

The results of the study shed light on the history of the settlement of the archipelago, and also spoke about the mixing of the inhabitants of the islands with Asians, Papuans and Austronesians. The article was published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The Wallace Islands (Wallaceia) have always been separated from Asia and Oceania. Nevertheless, they served as corridors for the migration of people to Australia and New Guinea, and people lived on them for 47 thousand years.

Archaeological evidence suggests a major cultural transition. It was associated with the expansion of a group of Austronesian-speaking agriculturalists who mixed with local hunter-gatherer groups. However, previous genetic studies gave various dates for this event: from 1.1 to almost 5 thousand years ago.

Now, an international team of researchers has analyzed the DNA of 16 ancient people from across the Wallace Islands. They found significant differences between residents. It turned out that the origin of people from the southern islands cannot be simply explained by mixing with Austronesians and Papuans.

Contributions were made by people from mainland Southeast Asia. Probably, initially there was a mixture of the inhabitants of the Wallace Islands with the Asiatics and Papuans, and later with the Austronesians.

Scientists have also discovered a close family relationship between the Austronesians and the ancestors of ancient people from the northern Wallace Islands.

“Previous studies based on the DNA of the modern population of the islands reported completely different data.

Since we now have the DNA of ancient people from different time periods, we can accurately show that mixing with other groups occurred in several pulses or continuously, at least 3 thousand years ago, throughout the Wallace Islands, ”explains Mark, senior author of the study. Stoneking.

The scientists were also looking for genetic similarities between the ancient inhabitants of the Wallace Islands and recently published information about the DNA of a pre-Neolithic man from Indonesia.

It turned out that the inhabitants of Wallace were more reminiscent of modern New Guinean groups than the earlier local population. This suggests that the two regions were more closely connected than previously thought.

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