The origin of human evolution is a mystery researchers have been trying to unravel for quite some time.
And now a group of scientists have discovered the birthplace of the modern man — the homo sapien cradle ground — which lies on the continent of Africa.
According to the scientists, a fertile river valley in northern Botswana is the ancestral home of all human beings.
The research has found the hints of the earliest anatomically modern human beings around 200,000 years ago near a ginormous wetland south of the Zambezi river.
According to the study, this location is known to have sustained our ancestors for as long as 70,000 years. This location also covered parts of Namibia and Zimbabwe.
This valley was the most fertile land for the longest period of time, until sometime between 110,000 and 130,000 years, a shift in climate change made the land outside this valley fertile too. This lead to most of the ancestors migrate, first out of Africa and eventually the world
According to Lead researcher Professor Vanessa Hayes, a geneticist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, “It has been clear for some time that anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. What has been long debated is the exact location of this emergence and subsequent dispersal of our earliest ancestors.”
Researchers collected blood samples of people still living in these locations and observed their mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA.
In case you didn’t know, mtDNA is only passed through a mother to a child, and the sequence doesn’t change for generations. This was used as a helpful tool to locate maternal ancestry.
They compared the data to the people from the L0 lineage, which are modern human’s earliest known population. They then fused genetics with climate physics and geology to simulate a world 200,000 years ago.
This revealed that the region was once also home to Africa’s largest lake called Lake Makgadikgadi which was double the size of modern Lake Victoria.
Climate change simulations revealed that slow wobbles in Earth’s axis resulted in a shift in rainfall over a considerable period of time.
According to Professor Axel Timmermann, a climate scientist at Pusan National University in South Korea, “These shifts in climate would have opened green, vegetated corridors, first 130,000 years ago to the northeast, and then around 110,000 years ago to the southwest, allowing our earliest ancestors to migrate away from the homeland for the first time.”
Professor Hayes also said, ” We observed significant genetic divergence in the modern humans’ earliest maternal sub-lineages that indicates our ancestors migrated out of the homeland between 130,000 and 110,000 years ago.
She further added, “The first migrants ventured northeast, followed by a second wave of migrants who travelled southwest. A third population remained in the homeland until today. Eventually adapting to the drying lands, maternal descendants of the homeland population can be found in the greater Kalahari region today.”