Human Genetic Research in Wallacea and Sahul: Recent Findings and Future Prospects

Leonard Taufik, Joao Teixeira, Bastien Llamas, Herawati Sudoyo, Raymond Tobler, Gludhug A. Purnomo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Genomic sequence data from worldwide human populations have provided a range of novel insights into our shared ancestry and the historical migrations that have shaped our global genetic diversity. However, a comprehensive understanding of these fundamental questions has been impeded by the lack of inclusion of many Indigenous populations in genomic surveys, including those from the Wallacean archipelago (which comprises islands of present-day Indonesia located east and west of Wallace’s and Lydekker’s Lines, respectively) and the former continent of Sahul (which once combined New Guinea and Australia during lower sea levels in the Pleistocene). Notably, these regions have been important areas of human evolution throughout the Late Pleistocene, as documented by diverse fossil and archaeological records which attest to the regional presence of multiple hominin species prior to the arrival of anatomically modern human (AMH) migrants. In this review, we collate and discuss key findings from the past decade of population genetic and phylogeographic literature focussed on the hominin history in Wallacea and Sahul. Specifically, we examine the evidence for the timing and direction of the ancient AMH migratory movements and subsequent hominin mixing events, emphasising several novel but consistent results that have important implications for addressing these questions. Finally, we suggest potentially lucrative directions for future genetic research in this key region of human evolution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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