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Origins of modern humans traced to Botswana in southern Africa

A new study has found the homeland for all modern humans and it’s the region of northern Botswana, south of the Zambezi River.

The new study was released on Monday in the scientific journal Nature, which suggests the area is now salt pans, but 200,000 years ago it was home to Homo Sapiens and that the ancestors of modern humans thrived for 70,000 years in this region before climate change led them to migrate (roughly 130,000 years ago) out of Africa and eventually span the globe.

“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,” said Vanessa Hayes, lead study author at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney.

“We’ve been able to pinpoint what we believe is our human homeland. Mitochondrial DNA acts as a time capsule of our ancestral mothers, accumulating changes slowly over generations. Comparing the complete DNA code, or mitogenome, from different individuals, provides information on how closely they are related.” Hayes added.Eva Chan, study author and phylogenetic analysis lead from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research said, “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”.“Prior to modern human emergence, the lake had begun to drain due to shifts in underlying tectonic plates,” said Andy Moore, study co-author and geologist from Rhodes University. “This would have created a vast wetland, which is known to be one of the most productive ecosystems for sustaining life.”

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