No, a genetic study didn’t pinpoint the ancestral homeland of all humans

200,000 years ago, parts of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa looked a lot like the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Enlarge / 200,000 years
ago, parts of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa looked a lot
like the Okavango Delta in Botswana. (credit: Gorgo /
Wikimedia
)

A study published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature
earlier this week supposedly determined that a particular region of
southern Africa gave rise to modern humans 200,000 years ago. But,
shockingly, it turns out that a single genomic study can’t
instantly resolve one of the biggest questions in human
evolution.

The Nature paper’s claim has drawn criticism from people in the
field, in part because it contradicts a heap of other
evidence—and it doesn’t offer any explanation. And the actual
emergence of our species is much older, much messier, and much more
interesting.

Is this the homeland of modern humans?

Geneticist Eva Chan of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research
in Australia and her colleagues say that mitochondrial DNA can be
used to trace the origins of modern humanity to an area spanning
the borders of Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. This place is a dry
landscape dotted with salt pans that hint at a former wetland
paradise. Because mitochondrial DNA is passed directly from mother
to child, the study claims that this is where the maternal
ancestors of modern humans—6,500 generations removed—once
lived.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
No, a genetic study didn’t pinpoint the ancestral homeland of all humans