Australian Aborigines - Indigenous Australians
There are several hundred Indigenous peoples of Australia, many are groupings that existed before the British annexation of Australia in 1788. Before Europeans, the number was over 400. Indigenous or groups will generally talk of their "people" and their "country". These countries are ethnographic areas, usually the size of an average European country, with around two hundred on the Australian continent at the time of White arrival. Within each country, people lived in clan groups - extended families defined by the various forms Australian Aboriginal kinship. Inter-clan contact was common, as was inter-country contact, but there were strict protocols around this contact. The largest Aboriginal people today is the Pitjantjatjara who live in the area around Uluru (Ayers Rock) and south into the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara in South Australia, while the second largest Aboriginal community are the Arrernte people who live in and around Alice Springs. The third largest are the Luritja, who live in the lands between the two largest just mentioned. The Aboriginal languages with the largest number of speakers today are the Pitjantjatjara, Warlpiri and Arrernte. Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands, and these peoples' descendants. Indigenous Australians are distinguished as either Aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islanders, who currently together make up about 2.6% of Australia's population. The Torres Strait Islanders are indigenous to the Torres Strait Islands which are at the northern-most tip of Queensland near Papua New Guinea. The term "Aboriginal" has traditionally been applied to indigenous inhabitants of mainland Australia, Tasmania, and some of the other adjacent islands. The use of the term is becoming less common, with names preferred by the various groups becoming more common. The earliest definite human remains found to date are that of Mungo Man which have been dated at about 40,000 years old, but the time of arrival of the ancestors of Indigenous Australians is a matter of debate among researchers, with estimates ranging as high as 125,000 years ago. There is great diversity between different Indigenous communities and societies in Australia, each with its own unique mixture of cultures, customs and languages. In present day Australia these groups are further divided into local communities. The population of Indigenous Australians at the time of permanent European settlement has been estimated at between 318,000 and 750,000, with the distribution being similar to that of the current Australian population, with the majority living in the south-east, centred along the Murray River. Though Indigenous Australians are seen as being broadly related, there are significant differences in social, cultural and linguistic customs between the various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.
Modern day scientists and others often say that the Australian Aborigines arrived in the continent of Australia, by crossing land bridges or landing on the northern shores by canoes. Australia discovered by the 'Southern Route' PhysOrg - July 22, 2009 Genetic research indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia. Researchers found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines. Dr Raghavendra Rao worked with a team of researchers from the Anthropological Survey of India to sequence 966 complete mitochondrial DNA genomes from Indian 'relic populations'. He said, "Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother and so allows us to accurately trace ancestry. We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Indian tribes we sampled that are specific to Australian Aborigines. This shared ancestry suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called 'Southern Route'". The 'Southern Route' dispersal...
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