ABORIGINAL Australians are descended from the first people to leave Africa up to 75,000 years ago, a genetic study has found.
A century-old lock of hair from a West Australian indigenous man has led to the discovery that Aborigines reached Asia at least 24,000 years before other human migrations.
Researchers from the University of Western Australia and Murdoch University and an international team analysed the genetic material of the hair.
The donor had no genetic link with any recent Australian arrivals.
Looking at his genome material, the study revealed that Australian Aboriginal ancestors split from the first modern human populations to leave Africa, between 64,000 and 75,000 years ago.
Dr Joe Dortch, a researcher with the University of Western Australia, said the discovery rewrote the story about how Aborigines arrived in Australia some 50,000 years ago.