First Genome of Ancient Human from Africa Talks about Complex Migrations

Since a long time, Africa has been termed as the birthplace of the first humans. However, as the climate of the continent is not suitable for DNA preservation, scientists to date have only analyzed genomes from the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

However, now the scenario has changed as in a paper published recently in the journal Science, researchers have documented the genetic code of an African man who died 4,500 years back at a place where we now have Ethiopia.

This genome analysis has revealed that after migrating from Africa, the place of origin for all early humans, around 60,000 years back, some Eurasians responsible for innovating agriculture returned to Africa. This finding has made the newly decoded man who has been named Mota by the researchers, so attractive.

Mota used to live in Africa prior to this second, backward migration. So, predictably the scientists found that the man didn’t possess the Eurasian DNA, which appears to have flourished all across the continent around 1,500 years following his death.

The researchers extracted Mota’s DNA from a resilient bone in his inner ear and compared it to the DNA of modern Africans. Here, it must be mentioned that the technique of DNA extraction adopted by these researchers is currently the most widely used option for obtaining DNA in tricky climatic conditions. Results of the comparison allowed the researchers to estimate how big the Eurasian influx was.

The study’s senior author Andrea Manica said that it seems that as much as 30% of the current African population has already lived in Eurasia. Manica is a representative of the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge.

In the paper, Manica and colleagues have written that as much as 25% of the DNA of the East Africans can be attributed to this newly discovered Eurasian backflow. That’s not all; they have found that even in the continent’s southern and western parts, a minimum of 5% of the genome has a Eurasian origin.

The study authors have not yet managed to find out the reason behind such massive migration. Also, they are also not in the position of making this genetic history of the humanity official as they have only one skull for going on. However, future studies on the subject will surely be filling in the gaps in this story of our origin.