CARTA: Comparative Anthropogeny - A Weakly Structured Stem for our Origins in Africa with Brenna Henn

11/14/2023; 20 minutes

We know Homo sapiens started in Africa, but we're uncertain about how they spread. Limited fossils and data have hindered our understanding. I'll discuss popular theories about our origins and how recent genetic data from Khoe-San people in southern Africa sheds light on this. Our research suggests a complex history, with population structures dating back to about 120,000-135,000 years ago. Early populations had connections, or gene flow, for hundreds of thousands of years. These "weakly structured stem" models explain genetic diversity that was once thought to come from other hominin species. Unlike previous ideas of interbreeding with archaic humans, our models predict that fossils from these populations should be genetically and physically similar. This variability in theories stems from not considering different possibilities, highlighting the importance of exploring various models to gain more accurate insights into our deep history. (#39269)

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