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Pre-historic Wallacea - a melting pot of human genetic ancestries

To shed light on the archipelago’s settlement history, researchers sequenced and analyzed sixteen ancient genomes

The Wallacean islands of present-day Eastern Indonesia have a long history of occupation by modern humans. Notably, the maritime expansion of Austronesian speakers into Wallacea left archaeological traces of a Neolithic lifestyle and a genetic imprint still detectable in Eastern Indonesians today. To gain further insights into Wallacea’s settlement history, an international team of scientists led by the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig), the Science of Human History (Jena) and the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen sequenced and analyzed 16 ancient genomes from different islands of Wallacea, finding evidence for repeated genetic admixtures starting at least 3,000 years ago. Those contacts involved multiple distinct groups from neighboring regions of Asia and Oceania.

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