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A Major Study Has Determined That Modern Humanity Originated In This African Country

By Kelsey Marie

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A new study has determined what the first 100,000 years of humanity looked like and it all starts in Africa.

The major study of DNA done by journal Nature has found that Botswana, located in the southern region of Africa, is where the real Garden of Eden began. 

According to scientists, the specific area of our ancestral homeland is south of the Zambezi River, located in the north area of Botswana. 

Sky News states, “the conclusion comes after the study of maternal genetic lineage of anatomically modern humans, finding it was closest to those living in the area, which includes northern Botswana, Namibia to the west and Zimbabwe to the east.”

The study also found that humans lived in the area for 70,000 years until climate change forced them to migrate out of the continent and into other parts of the world. Although fossil evidence suggests that modern humans originated in eastern Africa, DNA evidence reveals that southern Africa is where our origins began.

Vanessa Hayes, lead study author at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney says, “It has been clear for some time that anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. What has been long debated is the exact location of this emergence and subsequent dispersal of our earliest ancestors.”

Hayes goes on to say, “We’ve been able to pinpoint what we believe is our human homeland.”

The researchers collaborated with communities in South Africa and Namibia to collect blood samples. 

Evan Chan, study author and phylogenetic analysis lead from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research says, “We merged 198 new, rare mitogenomes to the current database of modern human’s earliest known population, the L0 lineage. This allowed us to refine the evolutionary tree of our earliest ancestral branches better than ever before.”

Once the L0 timeline was established, the sub-lineages, culture, geography, and language were established, leading to the origin point of the Makgadikgadi-Okavango pale-wetland in southern Africa. 

Researchers found that the region once had the largest lake system in the content of Africa, twice the size of Lake Victoria. 

Andy Moore, study co-author and geologist from Rhodes University tells CNN, “Prior to modern human emergence, the lake had begun to drain due to shifts in underlying tectonic plates. This would have created a vast wetland, which is known to be one of the most productive ecosystems for sustaining life.”

These wetlands were sustainable in providing ancient humans with everything they may have needed — until climate change. 

Hays says, “We observed significant genetic divergence in the modern humans’ earliest maternal sub-lineages that indicates out ancestors migrated out of the homeland between 130,000 and 110,000 years ago. The first migrants ventured northeast, followed by a second wave of migrants who traveled southwest. A third population remained in the homeland until today. In contrast to the northeasterly migrants, the southwesterly explorers appear to flourish experiencing steady population growth.”

Today, the region which was once filled with wetlands is a desert. However, the blood of the people who live there, tells a historical story. 

“These first migrants left behind a homeland population. Eventually adapting to the drying lands, maternal descendants of the homeland population can be found in the greater Kalahari region today,” says Hayes. 

The complete study can be found in journal Nature.

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

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