New genetic light shed on human evolution

A new genetic study of a group of sub-Saharan peoples has challenged the prevailing view that modern humans emerged from one location in Africa before spreading out across the world.

An international research team found that the Khoe and San groups from southern Africa are descendants of the earliest diversification event in the history of modern humans – 100,000 years ago.
Instead of localising the origin of modern humans to a single geographic region in Africa, the researchers discovered a complex record of interbreeding and genetic stratification, challenging the view of evolution in one place. Details appear in the journal Science.

There are two main theories concerning the spread of humans out of Africa. The dominant view holds that modern humans began to leave Africa and colonise Europe and Asia about 60,000 years ago. The alternative “multiregional model” suggests there were several “movements” out of Africa with parallel lines of evolution around the world.

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