The One Root of All Australia’s Indigenous Languages

The linguistic journal Diachronica published a study by Mark Harvey of University of Newcastle and Robert Mailhammer from Western Sydney University.  Their paper addresses the linguistic diversity of Australian languages. Around the time of British settlement in 1788, there were over 200 languages spoken on the continent. That number has dwindled to an estimated 120 indigenous languages still existing, ... Continue Reading →

Oldest Human DNA from Africa Clues Us On Ancient Moroccan Heritage

In 2015 the first African ancient genome of 4,500-year-old human remains found in Ethiopia were published. Now more ancient Africa DNA has been found and published.  The study I am referring to came out in Science which outlines the findings of seven 15,000-year-old modern humans from Morocco. This paper now holds the results of the oldest human DNA ever... Continue Reading →

Five Neanderthal Genomes Tell Us More Than Ever

We've been quite limited by our ancient DNA of Neanderthals due to limited sample size from the fossil record and then compounded with degradation and contamination of DNA. Last week, Nature, published a fantastic article ultimately from Svante Pääbo and Janet Kelso on a novel way to extract more DNA from less fossil sample; using... Continue Reading →

Debunking Toba Catastrophe Theory

One of the most popular posts here is Tim Jones' post, published almost 11 years ago on the Toba Eruption. Toba Catastrophe Theory was proposed first by Stanley Ambrose. Henry Harpending popularized it. In a nutshell, a genetic bottleneck has been observed in Homo sapiens occurring approx. 70,000 years ago that temporally correlated with a massive... Continue Reading →

Denisovans & Modern Humans Introgressed At Least Twice

Sharon Browning and colleagues published a paper in Cell last week that shows there are uniquely different Denisovan genomes in the DNA of East Asian individuals, indicating that interbreeding with Homo sapiens happened in two independent episodes. See we already knew Aboriginal genomes from Australia and Papua New Guinea contain fragments of Denisovan DNA. Introgression of... Continue Reading →

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