Journal article

New Genetic and Linguistic Analyses Show Ancient Human Influence on Baobab Evolution and Distribution in Australia

Haripriya Rangan, Karen L Bell, David A Baum, Rachael Fowler, Patrick McConvell, Thomas Saunders, Stef Spronck, Christian A Kull, Daniel J Murphy



This study investigates the role of human agency in the gene flow and geographical distribution of the Australian baobab, Adansonia gregorii. The genus Adansonia is a charismatic tree endemic to Africa, Madagascar, and northwest Australia that has long been valued by humans for its multiple uses. The distribution of genetic variation in baobabs in Africa has been partially attributed to human-mediated dispersal over millennia, but this relationship has never been investigated for the Australian species. We combined genetic and linguistic data to analyse geographic patterns of gene flow and movement of word-forms for A. gregorii in the Aboriginal languages of northwest Australia. Comprehensiv..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council grant

Awarded by US NSF Grant

Awarded by AIATSIS grant

Funding Acknowledgements

The genetics and biogeographic research in this paper was funded by an Australian Research Council grant (DP1093100, awarded to Rangan, Kull, and Murphy); the linguistic research was supported by a grant from the Kimberley Foundation Australia (awarded to McConvell), a US NSF Grant (HSD 902114, awarded to Bowern, et al., including McConvell), and an AIATSIS grant (G2011/76, awarded to Spronck).