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Science. 2017 Nov 3;358(6363):652-655. doi: 10.1126/science.aao6266. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Southern African ancient genomes estimate modern human divergence to 350,000 to 260,000 years ago.

Author information

1
Department of Organismal Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18C, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.
2
Centre for Anthropological Research and Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Johannesburg, Post Office Box 524, Auckland Park, 2006, South Africa.
3
Human Variation and Identification Research Unit, School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
4
Division of Human Genetics, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand and National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa.
5
Centre for Anthropological Research and Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Johannesburg, Post Office Box 524, Auckland Park, 2006, South Africa. mattias.jakobsson@ebc.uu.se mlombard@uj.ac.za.
6
Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Wallenberg Research Centre at Stellenbosch University, Marais Street, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa.
7
Department of Organismal Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18C, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. mattias.jakobsson@ebc.uu.se mlombard@uj.ac.za.
8
Science for Life Laboratory (SciLife Lab), Uppsala, Sweden.

Abstract

Southern Africa is consistently placed as a potential region for the evolution of Homo sapiens We present genome sequences, up to 13x coverage, from seven ancient individuals from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The remains of three Stone Age hunter-gatherers (about 2000 years old) were genetically similar to current-day southern San groups, and those of four Iron Age farmers (300 to 500 years old) were genetically similar to present-day Bantu-language speakers. We estimate that all modern-day Khoe-San groups have been influenced by 9 to 30% genetic admixture from East Africans/Eurasians. Using traditional and new approaches, we estimate the first modern human population divergence time to between 350,000 and 260,000 years ago. This estimate increases the deepest divergence among modern humans, coinciding with anatomical developments of archaic humans into modern humans, as represented in the local fossil record.

PMID:
28971970
DOI:
10.1126/science.aao6266
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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