Sunday, October 01, 2017

Some Africans only very distantly related

ZME Science reports:
Using the latest genetic sequencing techniques, researchers from Sweden and South Africa analyzed the genomes of ancient human remains from KwaZulu-Nata, southern Africa. They report a new deeper divergence timeline of up to 350,000 years for modern humans, far earlier than previously thought. ... Based on the hunter-gatherer genomes, Carina Schlebusch and colleagues at Uppsala University, Sweden, have established the divergence among modern human humans to have occurred sometime between 350,000 to 260,000 years ago.
This is interesting, but what does it have to do with modern humans? It only tells us that some African tribes are more distantly related than was previously thought.
Where and when modern humans emerged is still debatable. For many years, anthropologists used to think humans evolved in one single corner of Africa from where they dispersed into Europe and Asia through the Middle East. More and more evidence, however, is starting to point towards a multiregional origin for anatomically modern humans in Africa.
I thought that the single out-of-africa theory was disproved many years ago. Modern humans evolved in Asia and Europe, after interbreeding between Africans and Neanderthals, not Africa.

Update: There is more info here. Africans are believed to have split from Neanderthals about 600k years ago, and modern Europeans and Asians are descended from both sides of that split.

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