Genomic study reveals that modern humans emerged more than 300,000 years ago

Published: 2017-09-29


A genomic analysis of ancient human remains from KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) revealed that southern Africa has an important role to play in writing the history of humankind. The study was led by Mattias Jakobsson (Uppsala University/SciLifeLab) in collaboration with researchers from the Universities of Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand, South Africa. The team presents their results in the September 28th (early online) issue of Science.

The study included sequencing of the genomes of seven individuals who lived in southern Africa 2300-300 years ago. The three oldest individuals dating to 2300-1800 years ago were genetically related to the descendants of the southern Khoe-San groups, and the four younger individuals who lived 500-300 years ago were genetically related to current-day South African Bantu-speaking groups, illustrating the population replacement that occurred in southern Africa. The conclusions drawn states that modern humans emerged earlier than previously thought.

Read the press release from Uppsala University

 

Dr. Helena Malmström (co-author) conducting on-site sampling of bone matrial in a mobil sampling lab.
Photo: Mattias Jakobsson