First Humans to Leave Africa Continued to Interbreed with Africans

This month’s Nature includes a recent genetic study of human genetics and inter-breeding. The new study indicates that the original humans to leave Africa remained reproductively active with Africans as recently as 20,000 years ago. These conclusions were largely drawn from data found in mitochondrial DNA (passed on, unchanged from Mother to child), tracking back ancestry hundreds of generations. The data highlights the close relatedness of all human beings, regardless of skin color.

You can read more about this study in Nature (if you have a subscription) or in this wonderful synopsis by Scientific American.

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About Jennifer Carey

My name is Jennifer Carey and I am a student and educator of the human condition. I have long studied history, trained in archaeology, and found a passion in the field of education. As a long-time lover of technology (my father bought our family our first Apple IIe when I was three), I love technology and what it can bring to the classroom. I have taught at various Universities for many years as well as educating gifted teenagers through the Johns Hopkins program, the Center for Talented Youth. I am currently the Director of Educational Technology at the Ransom Everglades School (a secular independent school) in Miami, Fl. I also have a few educational podcasts on iTunes from my days teaching at TCU: The Ancient City of Rome, Classical Archaeology (2008), Classical Archaeology (2009), Introduction to Classical Myth, and Ancient Eats. They’re enhanced (so you get the PowerPoints along with the vocal), but please excuse the poor audio editing. Feel free to Email Me or follow me on twitter.
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4 Responses to First Humans to Leave Africa Continued to Interbreed with Africans

  1. Jim Wheeler says:

    How delightful to see knowledge of humankind’s past expanding. It is especially gratifying when data from different disciplines match well. I was a little surprised to see no mention of correlation of the genetic data with weather cycles. I have read somewhere, but have lost the specific reference, that minimum population size for Homo Sapiens in Africa correlates very well with a severe drought. In fact that may have been in an SA article I referenced last fall. (I think that was before we met online.) Here’s the link:

    • Jennifer Lockett says:

      Thanks for including the link! I know that there has been a lot of theory about “why” humans left Africa – over-population and climate change are the biggies. In reality, it was probably a combination of factors. I always find this type of genetic genealogy fascinating!

  2. Jim Wheeler says:

    Oops. Nope. Smithsonian.

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