The origins of all humans has been traced by scientists to northern Botswana.
According to a journal article published in Nature, anatomically modern humans, known as Homo sapiens, originated from a specific wetland area south of the Zambezi river around 200,000 years ago.
The paper said the area, which does not look then like it does today, was covered by a massive lake. This lake sustained the early human population. As the climate changed, so our ancestors moved further across Africa and the world.
“These shifts in climate would have opened green, vegetated corridors, first 130,000 years ago to the northeast, and then around 110,000 years ago to the southwest, allowing our earliest ancestors to migrate away from the homeland for the first time,” Professor Axel Timmermann, a climate scientist at Pusan National University in South Korea told Independent.
The earliest modern humans
•They originated 200,000 years ago in modern-day Botswana
•It was their homeland for 70,000 years
•First migrations happened 130,000 to 110,000 years ago pic.twitter.com/GcFLtuv1dU
— Alfons López Tena #FBPE (@alfonslopeztena) October 28, 2019
The research team have come to the conclusion about the location of this original home by taking blood sampled from study participants in South Africa and Namibia. They then looked at the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) within these samples. MtDNA is passed exclusively from mother to child through the egg cell and therefore, was a good tool to test maternal ancestry as it stays the same over generations.
The LO lineage, modern human’s earliest known lineage, was compared between different individuals. Sub-lineages from other parts of Africa were also compared to see how closely they linked.
While Africa has been known as the ‘cradle of humankind’ for some time. Professor Vanessa Hayes, a geneticist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia told the BBC, “what has been long debated is the exact location of this emergence and subsequent dispersal of our earliest ancestors.”
The scientists believe that while many migrated away from this lake area as it dried, some stayed behind and adapted, with maternal descendants of this population still living in the Kalahari region today.