Scientists have decided to order the genomes of people who lived in Africa thousands of years ago, as this will help shed light on our origins.
The study was announced last week at the annual meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. Researchers studied the genomes of 15 ancient people who lived about 6,000 years ago in eastern and southern Africa.
The genetic trace of ancient Africans
As you know, Africa is considered the place where people began to spread around the world about 50 thousand years ago. As pointed out by the journal Science, in this region people are also the most genetically diverse. However, the arrival here 2000 years ago of early people, known as Bantu, who were engaged in agriculture, destroyed much of the genetic trace of early Africans in the region.
Since then, scientists have been able to sequester only one ancient African genome - the Ethiopian, whose age is 4,500 years. Now Pontus Skoglund of Harvard University collected DNA of 15 Africans who lived from 500 to 6000 years ago.
Difficulties in the study of DNA
In the journal Nature, it is difficult to study ancient African DNA because it is poorly preserved under the influence of the country's climate. Moreover, an increase in temperature accelerates the process of deteriorating DNA quality. Nevertheless, the researchers nevertheless were able to learn more about the past of Africa by removing contaminants and opening a tiny inner bone of the ear in which ancient DNA has been well preserved.
Results of the work of scientists
Preliminary results of the study show that ancient people traveled on the continent much more than scientists had previously assumed. For example, it seems that the South Africans could separate from the western several thousand years ago.
The second study, conducted by Karina Schlebusch of Uppsala University in Sweden, also studied the DNA of ancient Africans. Scientists have found that the genomes of modern African farmers contained the DNA of the Bantu people.
In addition, earlier this week, another study emerged, from which it follows that people and Neanderthals could somehow interact more than 270,000 years ago. These findings draw a dramatic new picture of how our species interacted.
"With each new study, we increasingly understand that the evolutionary history of modern and archaic people has been much more complex than we thought 10 years ago," says study co-author Fernando Rasimo from the Genome Research Center in New York. These and previous conclusions once again confirm the idea that many species of ancient people had common descendants.