Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

The Eve theory 

Based on mitochondrial DNA analysis, Wilson, Stoneking and Cann (3) have concluded that all living humans have descended from a single common mother in South Africa about 200,000 years ago, the female descendants of all other mothers from that time either failing to reproduce at some point in their female line or having no daughters at some point in their line of descent. As mitochondria are passed only in the ovum (not in the sperm), they can be inherited only from the mother. Recombination doesn't occur in mt DNA, or is at least very rare, allowing the tracking of the descendants.

According to Burenhult (3), the results are consistent with archaeological evidence from Klasies River Mouth Cave. The interpretation of further DNA evidence indicates that as modern humans spread from Africa across the other continents they didn't interbreed much with the earlier archaic populations. The remains from Mt Carmel in Israel has been suggested as evidence of the movement from Africa prior to 100,000 years ago.

Australia has been suggested as a test case for the Out of Africa theory, as the time of entry of modern humans is known to be about 60,000 BP and the oldest skeletal material known, Mungo Man (WLH-3), is either 42,000 or 60,000 years old, depending on whose dates you accept, and modern humans are the only hominids to have entered Greater Australia (or Sahul), the continuous landmass of the Australian continent at the time of low sea level, that included New Guinea and the continental shelf. There are no other issues to consider, such as whether the first Australians interbred with Neanderthals or any other archaic humans. The variation in skulls from the Pleistocene, none of which look African,  makes it difficult for some, e.g., Thorne, to accept that all of them descended from a purely African line that left Africa 10,000 years or less before they arrived in Australia, according to the recent replacement theory, that suggests a small group left Africa about 70,000 years ago. See Australoids

Sources & Further reading

  1. Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B. Publishing
  2. Phillip J. Habgood & Natilie R. Franklin, The revolution that didn't arrive: A review of Pleistocene Sahul, Journal of Human Evolution, 55, 2008
  3. Goran Burenhult (general editor), Peoples of the Past, the Illusgtrated History of Human Kind, Vol 1, Fog City Press, 200


  1. New fossil study rejects "Eve theory" and supports a diverse ancestry of modern humans
  2. Mitochondrial Eve
  3. The Eve Controversy
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated: 30/09/2011
Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
Photo Galleries
Site Map
                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading