Scientists pinpoint area where modern humans originated from
A new study has suggested that modern humans' ancestral homeland is in northern Botswana.
BOTSWANA — New research published in the journal Nature suggests that modern humans descended from the region south of the Zambezi River, spanning northern Botswana into parts of Namibia and Zimbabwe, in southern Africa.
Scientists collected blood samples from local communities across Namibia and South Africa to compare DNA codes from different individuals, CNN reports, citing the study.
Their DNA code showed that the individual's LO lineage, which is associated with the earliest known modern human populations, and its sub-branches were linked to the Makgadikgadi-Okavango palaeo-wetland.
The researchers then analyzed fossils and geological records from the area itself and found that it once contained the largest lake system in Africa.
The lake system began breaking apart roughly 200,000 years ago.
The scientists say this would have created a vast wetland that furnished ancient humans with a sustainable ecosystem in which they could thrive. Researchers say this was the case for roughly 70,000 years before our ancestors started migrating due to changes in the climate in the area.
The first wave of migrants traveled to the northeast of the wetland 130,000 years ago, while a second wave of migrants traveled southwest 110,000 years ago, CNN reports, citing the study. Those in the northeast started farming while those who traveled to the southwest became coastal foragers.
Ancient humans eventually migrated outside of Africa and to different parts of the world.
Some experts are skeptical of the study. Professor Chris Stringer from London's Natural History Museum told the BBC that there could have been several homelands, instead of only one.
He said that the study only looked at one part of the DNA code, which is unable to provide the whole story of modern human origins.
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