Popular Science

A controversial new study claims Botswana may be the origin of modern humanity

Human remains are just part of the evidence we have for where humanity originated
Human remains are just part of the evidence we have for where humanity originated (Deposit Photos/)

The attempt to explain where humans come from has long preoccupied theologians, scientists, and laypeople alike. A new paper shows just how complicated our origin story could be. Written by scientists in Australia, South Africa, and Korea, the study uses DNA from individuals in southern Africa to track some of the oldest known genetic traces of so-called modern humans—people who looked like we do today. But though the paper zooms in on a northern Botswana river valley as the ancestral “homeland” of all modern humanity, other experts say there’s no such thing.

The new study looked at the mitogenome,. Researchers examined their mitogenomes alongside others collected for earlier studies in the same region. Among the mitogenomes, they identified approximately 1,200 carriers of a single lineage known as L-0, and created the largest L-0 database to date.

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