“Essentially, we are reconstructing the genomes of our ancestors and using them to form a vast network of relationships,” Lead author Dr Anthony Wilder Wohns said.
“We can then estimate when and where these ancestors lived.”
Where they lived? Sudan, Africa.
All humans may have originated in modern-day Sudan, according to a study. Google Maps
Dr Wohns told Reuters, "The very earliest ancestors we identify trace back in time to a geographic location that is in modern Sudan.
“These ancestors lived up to and over 1 million years ago—which is much older than current estimates for the age of Homo sapiens—250,000 to 300,000 years ago. So bits of our genome have been inherited from individuals who we wouldn’t recognize as modern humans," Dr Wohns said.
Researchers used 3,609 individual genome sequences from 215 populations and samples that ranged from 1,000s to over 100,000 years.
By using a new method to compile the data, algorithms were able to predict where common ancestors were in evolutionary trees to explain some patterns of genetic variation.
The results were a network of almost 27 million ancestors.
“The power of our approach is that it makes very few assumptions about the underlying data and can also include both modern and ancient DNA samples,” Dr Wohns says.
Not only does the data help us understand human geology better but the new method could help in other research, like medicine.
“The underlying method could have widespread applications in medical research, for instance identifying genetic predictors of disease risk," Dr Wohns added.
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