Challenging Sole Origin Theory: New Study Identifies Multiple Human Origins in Africa

CC0 / / Genetics
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The genetic research questions the long-held theory regarding a single region in Africa being the origin of modern humans, proposing instead that the continent was home to multiple human populations.
A recent study has undermined the traditional theory that modern humans originated in one area of Africa. In a study conducted by scholars from McGill University and the University of California, Davis, genetic data of 290 living people suggests that various human populations inhabited different parts of Africa and traveled hundreds of thousands of years ago, intermixing with one another.
This implies that the emergence of the first Homo sapiens wasn't only from a single ancestral population in East or Southern Africa, but involved movement and cross-breeding among different populations.
"At different times, people who embraced the classic model of a single origin for Homo Sapiens suggested that humans first emerged in either East or Southern Africa," said Brenna Henn, a population geneticist at the University of California, Davis, and co-author of the study.
According to her, the difficulty in reconciling contrasting theories has been compounded by inadequate established fossils and archaeological artifacts from diverse locations such as Ethiopia, Morocco, and South Africa. These sites suggest that Homo sapiens lived across Africa, dating as far back as at least 300,000 years ago.
The authors said that the evidence found still points to Africa as the origin of humankind. As per the available evidence, human DNA reflects Africa as the root of human evolution.
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Contemporary Africans have considerable genetic diversity compared to other populations globally. The reason for this biological diversity is that Africa was the center of human development and adaptation for numerous generations before small groups with limited gene pools migrated to other continents. These groups had their distinctive genetic characteristics compared to their ancestors in Africa, which gave rise to the variability observed in humans currently.