According to a new study, northern Botswana is the “homeland” for all modern humans.
What We Know:
- For years, scientists have been on a quest to find where on Earth did human life begin. Their search has been narrowed down.
- The study, published in the journal Nature, suggests that the ancestors of modern humans thrived for 70,000 years in this region before climate change led them to migrate out of Africa and eventually span the globe.
- Fossil evidence hinted to the fact that modern humans originated in eastern Africa but DNA evidence lead to southern Africa, coincidentally where Botswana is located.
- The project, conducted by a dozen scientists from three continents, claims that the mother of all modern humans living today — from New Zealand to New York — originated in this region of Africa 200,000 years ago.
- “We have known for a long time that modern humans originated in Africa,” Vanessa Hayes, a geneticist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research who led the study, said at a press briefing last Thursday. “What we hadn’t known until this study was where exactly this homeland was.”
- The study used traces of Mitochondrial DNA, which mutates 10 times faster than Nuclear DNA, to trace maternal heritage.
Despite this, many researchers argue that the study in one region cannot address the migrations and complexities of human development today.