Discovered 2.3 k-yr-old human skeleton throws light on our ancestry

A new research has revealed about the discovery of a 2,330-year-old human skeleton in the southernmost tip of Africa, throwing some light on human origins.

Washington: A new research has revealed about the discovery of a 2,330-year-old human skeleton in the southernmost tip of Africa, throwing some light on human origins.

DNA from the complete 1.5 metre tall skeleton is one of the 'earliest diverged,' oldest in genetic terms, found to-date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.

The man's maternal DNA or 'mitochondrial DNA' was sequenced to provide clues to early modern human prehistory and evolution and the Mitochondrial DNA provided the first evidence that humans came from Africa, and also helps map a figurative genetic tree, all branches deriving from a common 'Mitochondrial Eve.'

Vanessa Hayes said that they were thrilled that archaeologist Andrew Smith, who discovered the skeleton at St. Helena Bay in 2010, very close to the site where 117,000 year old human footprints had been found, understood the importance of not touching the skeleton when he found it, and so did not contaminate its DNA with modern human DNA.

The findings provided genomic evidence that this man, from a lineage now presumed extinct, as well as other indigenous coastal dwellers like him, were the most closely related to 'Mitochondrial Eve'.

The study is published online in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution.  

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