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Humans might have left Africa more recently than thought

Last Updated: Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 11:37

Washington: A new research has suggested that humans did not migrate from Africa before 95,000 years ago.

The new findings have contradicted a more recent study that said that humans first left Africa at least 200,000 years ago.

When did humans migrate from Africa to colonize the entire world has been a topic of heated debate among experts.

And all of the estimates are based on the rate of the gene mutation, by knowing how often there is change in a gene and then calculating the differences between other species or groups of people, scientists are able to make a "molecular clock" to determine how long ago they shared the same ancestor.

Previous studies used genetic differences in mtDNA - genetic material inside the cells` energy-making structures that are passed on to the child from the mother- between chimpanzees and humans.

Newer research estimated that the rate of mutation in modern human families based on DNA from the nucleus that involves another way of getting at the common ancestor timing.

This method suggested that humans racked up mutations at half the rate.

To solve the problem, the researchers extracted mtDNA from 11 ancient human fossil skeletons from Europe and Asia and using radioactive carbon dating, the oldest was estimated to be 40,000 years old, while the most recent came from medieval times.

The team found a mutation rate suggesting that humans left Africa between 62,000 and 95,000 years ago.

The findings of the study have been published in the journal Current Biology.


First Published: Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 11:37
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