ABC reports “rich history of Aboriginal Australia” in ABC News 22 September 2016.

They reported: “The most comprehensive genomic study of Indigenous Australians to date has revealed modern humans are all descendants of a single wave of migrants who left Africa about 72,000 years ago.” According to the ABC the claims are based on a study by an international group of scientists who analysed the genomes of Aboriginal Australians from the Pama-Nyungan-speaking language group and genomes of people in the Papua New Guinea highlands.

The ABC article claims the aboriginal study “reveals Papuan and Aboriginal ancestors left Africa around 72,000 years ago and then split from the main group around 58,000 years ago. … They reached the supercontinent of ‘Sahul’ that originally united Tasmania, Australia and New Guinea around 50,000 years ago, picking up the DNA of Neanderthals, Denisovans and another extinct hominin along the way.” David Lambert, who was involved with the study, suggests that aboriginals entered Australia at Cape York (the northernmost tip of Australia) and “there was a divergence of a whole lot of people from Cape York, we think about 30,000 years ago.”

Colleen Wall, one of the aboriginal elders who worked with the scientists, commented: “As a society we already believe that we are the oldest race on Earth, and from my point of view this research goes some way towards proving that.”


Editorial Comment: Warning: don’t read any further if you wish to avoid the clash between truth and political correctness. If you don’t mind a bit of clanging, then guess what? The ABC failed to report the two clearly stated assumptions used by the researchers in their original report in Nature, and these two assumptions are enough to blow major holes in the complete study.

The Nature authors stated clearly: “Our genetic-based time estimates are relative, and to obtain absolute dates we relied on two rescaling parameters: the human mutation rate and generation time (assumed to be 1.25×10−8 per generation per site and 29 years, respectively, based on recent estimates)”. (section in brackets in original) These researchers concluded: “We find that Papuan and Aboriginal Australian ancestors diversified 25–40 thousand years ago (kya), suggesting pre-Holocene population structure in the ancient continent of Sahul (Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania). However, all of the studied Aboriginal Australians descend from a single founding population that differentiated ~10–32 kya.” (Nature 2016 doi:10.1038/nature18299, published online 21 September 2016)

Let’s be honest here! Nobody can know whether the mutation rate or the generation times have been the same since any original population arrived in Australia. Based on modern day observations of aboriginal birth rates, 29 years is probably way too long. But even when you allow the authors to use these figures, the estimation of a mere 10 to 32 thousand years falls a long way short of the 60 to 80 thousand years of aboriginal habitation being claimed by various aboriginal land rights political lobby groups in Australia, and popularised by the increasingly unreliable and atheistic ABC, particularly when you realize that only 83 Aboriginal Australians from the Pama-Nyungan-speaking language group and 25 genomes of Papua-New Guineans were studied.

The ABC also ignored the fact reported by the other studies from Nature that there is much secular dispute over human migration times, and how little we really can know from genome studies. So it is worth looking at the other genome studies which the ABC skated over. These are reported in BBC News and Science (AAAS) News 21 September 2016, and Nature Advance Online Publication 21 September 2016. All reports subscribe to the “out of Africa” model but give different dates for the time when Eurasians (i.e. non-Africans) left Africa, as well as differing numbers concerning how many times it happened.

The reason for such inconsistent results is that genome studies can tell us who people are related to now, but they are can only provide limited information about the past.

Also, let’s be brutally blunt concerning aboriginal claims about being “oldest race on Earth”. As someone who has worked with aboriginals, and consulting with many who do the same, and having had on our Creation Research team for many years Dr Allen Hall, who was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his work with aboriginals, any society which has a traditional counting scheme of ‘1, 2, 3, many’ has no view on how long they have been in this country, and Colleen Walls claims are pseudo white man evolutionist gibberish to reinforce a political claim rather than a truth that will truly help aboriginals.

To really know the history of the human race we need historical records from witnesses who were there and recorded what happened. These are clearly set out in the Bible, and that should the starting point. In fact, all human races are exactly the same age because all people on earth today are the descendants of one man, Adam. The widespread migration of various groups of people began with the judgement at the Tower of Babel in present day Iraq, not in Africa. Those people who went south into Africa would not have mixed with Europeans and Asians for a long time after that, and that would explain the genetic separation seen in modern genome studies.

The fact that all human races have the same origin is being deliberately ignored by modern day sceptics and political activists who want to avoid the fact that all people have one Creator and Judge, and one Saviour – the Lord Jesus Christ. However, as the Apostle Paul reminded the Greeks of his day, our Creator “commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) (Ref. migration, races, history)

Further Details on Migration Studies

The contrary results from genome studies are well illustrated by the two other studies. One group led by Mait Metspalu of the Estonian Biocentre in Tartu analysed 379 genomes from 125 populations. According to Science News they concluded “at least 2% of the genomes of people from Papua New Guinea comes from an early dispersal of modern humans, who left Africa perhaps 120,000 years ago. Their paper proposes that Homo sapiens left Africa in at least two waves.” Another group led by population geneticist David Reich of Harvard University analysed 300 genomes from 142 populations and concluded modern human people today outside of Africa are descended from a single founding population almost completely. Reich claims “You can exclude and rule out an earlier migration; the southern route.”

Alan Cooper, at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, who was not involved in the study, disputes the links with Neanderthals and Denisovians. He commented: “They say there is only one invasion of [Sahul] and that happens around 50,000 years ago, but then they go on to say Aboriginal Australians have genetically mixed with Denisovans at 44,000 years. “So how can you be in [Sahul] after a single invasion, yet 6000 years later you mix with another extinct hominim that is not in Australia?”

The aboriginal study also revealed a great diversity between east and west, which Michael Westaway of Griffith University suggests is the result of Australia drying out during the last ice age and people becoming isolated. He explained: “When people first arrived 50,000 years ago arid Australia wasn’t like it is today. People have changed and adapted over deep time as the country has … we just don’t see that in any other Homo sapiens populations. There is greater genetic diversity in Aboriginal people living in the east and west of Australia then there is between people living in Siberia and the Americas. [And] that great genetic diversity in Aboriginal populations reflects the huge amount of time they have occupied the continent.”

If you have concluded by now that the ABC chose expedient support for a left wing political view at the expense of scientific data, we truly understand.

Evidence News vol. 16 No.17
28 September 2016
Creation Research Australia

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