Modern humans are indicated to have a combination of several DNA originating from several – at least two – ancient human populations in Africa. This study is a new knowledge because in previous studies it was stated that modern humans came from a single population in Africa. This was revealed through a study uploaded in the journal Nature entitled Human-evolution story rewritten by fresh data and more computing power.
The study involved the genomes of about 290 people living in areas of South, East and West Africa. It found that modern humans descended from at least two groups of closely related early humans, or had a mixture of genes.
In addition, researchers also examined living human genome data from various groups, such as the Mende group in Sierra Leone, Nama in South Africa, the Amhara, Oromo, and Gumuz groups in Ethiopia, European modern humans, and Neanderthal remains.
“All humans share a common ancestor, but the past story is more complex than species that only evolved in a single or isolated location,” said Aaron Ragsdale, lead author of the study and a population geneticist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Modern human DNA is expected to help researchers model different explanations for human diversity. This could provide an explanation for the theory of single origins and the idea that Homo sapiens mixed with other ancient human species.
The researchers then revealed that there is a most suitable scenario based on DNA data, that modern humans have multiple points of origin. Through this, the most suitable scenario or hypothesis from this DNA data is that modern humans are a mixture of ancient human groups.
“When we assumed in our computer model that the stem population was not very stable, but that parts would occasionally break away and then recombine, we got a much better fit with the genetic variation found in today’s human populations,” explained Ragsdale.
Simon Gravel, co-author of the study and human geneticist at McGill University in Canada, said the differences between these segregated but blended groups would be nearly as low as those seen among contemporary human populations.
In response to this study, evolutionary archaeologist at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Geo Anthropology, Eleanor Scerri, who did not contribute to the study, also revealed that no birth is inherited from a single gene. That’s why researchers prefer to describe human evolution as an intertwined trunk, rather than a tree with a single, branching trunk.
Meanwhile, Jessica Thompson, a paleoanthropologist at Yale University who did not contribute to the research, thinks that including ancient DNA from Africa might help researchers in this study.
“People living today may be very different from those who lived in the same places in the past,” explains Thompson.
It is known, the oldest ancient human fossils come from Africa. Humans first evolved in Africa, and most of human evolution took place on that continent. Early human fossils that lived between 6 and 2 million years ago are all from Africa. Most scientists today recognize about 15 to 20 different early human species.
Meanwhile, the first modern humans are thought to have appeared around 315,000 years ago. Evidence of modern humans began to be found between 300,000 and 100,000 years ago and is scattered throughout the world. Scerri said this provides support for a theory of human origins that stems from several points.
If humans come from one place, then the oldest artifacts will be found there. Likewise, more recent remains have also been found at sites originating from these places of origin.
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