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.

4 thoughts on “First Humans to Leave Africa Continued to Interbreed with Africans

  1. Jim Wheeler

    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:

    1. Jennifer Lockett Post author

      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!


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