Researchers in England have presented conclusive evidence that the world was populated by Africans.
Geneticists and archaeologists have tracked the origin of homo sapiens (or modern man) to a single tribe in Africa. The Telegraph reports that the group of people crossed the Red Sea and traveled to Arabia and went on to colonize the rest of the world.
"What you can see from the DNA of all non Africans is that they all belong to one tiny African branch that came across the Red Sea,” said Dr. Stephen Oppenheimer, a geneticist at Oxford University.
Scientists believe that the tribe was able to make trek from the Horn of Africa after a climate change at least 70,000 years ago caused sea levels to drastically drop.
The tribe was able to survive by settling along the Arabian coast where fresh water could be found. Of the 14 ancestral groups in Africa, they were the only one to make it off of the continent.
"If it was easy to get out of Africa we would have seen multiple African lineages in the DNA of non-Africans,” Stephen said, “but that there was only one successful exit suggests it must have been very tough to get out. It was much drier and colder then."
It had been held that the reason early humans were able to spread out was because of their ability to adapt and sharpen their hunting skills. However, the newest research shows that the tribe may just have been very lucky as they were able to take advantage of the favorable climate change. Researchers also noted that this was a relatively small group that made the trip.
"The founder populations cannot have been very big. We are talking about just a few hundred individuals,” said Dr. Peter Forster, who did some of the key genetic work.
In less than 5,000 years after reaching Arabia, the tribe had multiplied and had spread out along the Indian Ocean and down into southeast Asia. Others headed north to the Middle East and central Asia. About 15,000 years after that, the sprawl continued up towards Europe.
The scientists’ full findings will be presented in a BBC Two documentary series titled The Incredible Human Journey. There’s no word on when that may be airing.
– Sonya Eskridge