Scientists Say They've Discovered The Ancestral Home Of All Human Beings

Scientists claim to identify human ancestral home using DNA.


Researchers claim to have identified the original homeland of all modern humans, relying on DNA analysis.

In a recent study, scientists based in Australia assert they've pinpointed the ancestral birthplace of contemporary humans, drawing on mitochondrial DNA examination. This genetic material, inherited solely from the mother, was analyzed from 1,217 individuals residing in southern Africa. Professor Vanessa Hayes, leading the research at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney says that 'we have known for a long time that modern humans originated in Africa and roughly 200,000 years ago'.

However, she noted that 'what we hadn’t known until this study was where exactly' humans came from.'

Using mitochondrial DNA, the team traced the oldest maternal lineage extant today, tracing it to an expansive region spanning Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, colloquially termed as the 'ancestral home'. To bolster their assertion, researchers delved into geological, archaeological, and fossil records, suggesting a fertile habitat once existed in this locale. A vast freshwater lake system, now extinct, is hypothesized to have fostered human and wildlife habitation approximately 200,000 years ago, offering sustenance for an estimated 70,000 years.

Hayes explained: “It would have been very lush and it would have provided a suitable habitat for modern humans and wildlife to have lived."

Despite the publication of these findings in the journal Nature, skepticism abounds within the scientific community. Chris Stringer, a scholar of human origins at the Natural History Museum in London, urges caution, according to The Guardian.

Stringer said: “I’m definitely cautious about using modern genetic distributions to infer exactly where ancestral populations were living 200,000 years ago, particularly in a continent as large and complex as Africa.

“Like so many studies that concentrate on one small bit of the genome, or one region, or one stone tool industry, or one ‘critical’ fossil, it cannot capture the full complexity of our mosaic origins, once other data are considered.”

Similarly, Sarah Tishkoff, a geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania, cautions against drawing definitive conclusions based solely on contemporary genetic data, "It is not possible to make inferences about the geographical origin of modern humans in Africa based solely on patterns of variation in modern populations. This is because humans migrate over long distances.

"They migrated out of Africa and across the globe within the past 80,000 years and they have migrated across Africa in the recent and ancient past.”