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The population was split into 250 individual "nations", many of which were in alliance with one another, and within each nation there existed separate, often related "clans", from as few as 5 or 6 to as many as 30 or 40.
Each "nation" had its own language, and a few had several.
This has been another factor in the promotion of the more inclusive term "Indigenous Australians".
Six percent of Indigenous Australians identify themselves fully as Torres Strait Islanders.
The book included interviews with several members of the Aboriginal community including Robert Jabanungga reflecting on contemporary Aboriginal culture.
A less formal term, used by Indigenous Australians themselves and not normally derogatory, is "blackfellas", distinguished from "whitefellas".
Recent work with mitochondrial DNA suggests a founder population of between 1,000 and 3,000 women to produce the genetic diversity observed, which suggests "that initial colonization of the continent would have required deliberate organized sea travel, involving hundreds of people".
Research indicates a single founding Sahul group with subsequent isolation between regional populations which were relatively unaffected by later migrations from the Asian mainland, which may have introduced the dingo 4-5,000 years ago.
At the time of first European contact, it is generally estimated that the pre-1788 population was 314,000, while recent archaeological finds suggest that a population of 500,000 to 750,000 could have been sustained, with some ecologists estimating a population of up to a million or two people was possible.Indigenous Australians are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia, descended from groups that existed in Australia and surrounding islands prior to European colonisation.The earliest definitely human remains found in Australia are those of Mungo Man LM3 and Mungo Lady, which have been dated at about 50,000 years old, Although there are a number of commonalities between indigenous Aboriginal Australians, there is also a great diversity among different Indigenous communities and societies in Australia, each with its own mixture of cultures, customs and languages.The research also suggests a divergence from the Papuan people of New Guinea and Mamanwa people of the Philippines about 32,000 years ago with a rapid population expansion about 5,000 years ago.A 2011 genetic study found evidence that the Aboriginal, Papuan and Mamanwa peoples carry some of the genes associated with the Denisovan peoples of Asia, (not found amongst populations in mainland Asia) suggesting that modern and archaic humans interbred in Asia approximately 44,000 years ago, before Australia separated from Papua New Guinea and the migration to Australia.