Modern humans appeared more than 300 thousand years ago, say scientists

© Photo : Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London 2014Модель ancient Homo SapiensModern humans appeared more than 300 thousand years ago, say scientists© Photo : Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London 2014

«Resurrection» DNA of ancient people from South Africa showed that the first modern humans appeared on Earth more than 300 thousand years ago, long before their Exodus from Africa, says the article, published in the journal Science.

«Our discovery shows that a genetic and paleo-anthropological evidence suggests that the birthplace of mankind is not any one particular point in Africa, and the continent as a whole. Most likely, Homo sapiens was the result of exchange of genes between several groups of ancient people,» says Carina Schlebusch (Carina Schlebusch) from Uppsala University (Sweden).

Until recently, anthropologists and paleontologists believed that modern man, Homo sapiens, originated in East Africa approximately 200 thousand years ago, a few hundred thousand years after the separation of the ancestors of the Neanderthals and the CRO-magnons. The first people, as was shown by the excavations penetrated to the middle East for about 70 thousand years ago and into Europe about 45 thousand years ago.

On the other hand, the discoveries of recent years and genetic research suggests that people could have left Africa much earlier, at least 130 thousand years ago, and contact with Neanderthals for a long time. To confirm this, scientists recently found in Morocco, the remains of Homo sapiens who lived in Africa about 300 thousand years ago.

In addition, the role of the ancestral home of humanity today in the same claim, and South Africa, in the caves where scientists recently found CRO-magnon tools the age of 150 thousand years and the remains of Homo naledi, the potential human ancestors that lived in the cave of Ice at about 330 thousand years ago.

Schlebusch and her colleagues for several years studying the DNA of the most ancient peoples of Africa, the so-called cousances whose tribes live on the territory of the Kalahari desert in South Africa. Recently their colleagues discovered seven skeletons of the ancient inhabitants of South Africa, whose age is about 2-3 thousand years, which has prompted Schlebusch to the idea to try to extract their DNA and compare it with the genome of the Khoisan peoples.

Comparing the number of small mutations in the DNA of the ancient Africans and their closest relatives, the scientists hope to calculate the exact rate of accumulation of «typos» in the human genome and compute the point when he lived the common ancestor of all the peoples of the world and the first true man of the Land.

The climate of South Africa did not spare the remains of ancient people, and scientists, in most cases managed to recover only part of the genome, including the Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA genome of mitochondria, the cellular «power plants» that is passed from mother to her potomstvo.

This, on the other hand, was enough to confirm that the ancient inhabitants of Africa were direct relatives of the Khoisan peoples, to remove more of the «new» DNA from their genomes and to calculate the rate of evolution of mankind.

As it turned out, the common ancestors of cousances and other peoples on the Earth lived in South Africa 120 thousand years ago, as was shown by past research Schlebusch and her colleagues, and 260-350 thousand years ago. Such a scenario, as the researchers note, is another argument in favor of the theory of «African gardens of Eden» – the idea that humanity did not originate in one point and evolved throughout the African continent.