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

Schlebusch CM, Malmström H, Günther T, Sjödin P, Coutinho A, Edlund H, Munters AR, Vicente M, Steyn M, Soodyall H, Lombard M, Jakobsson M

Science 358 (6363) 652-655 [2017-11-03; online 2017-09-28]

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.

Bioinformatics Compute and Storage [Service]

NGI Uppsala (SNP&SEQ Technology Platform) [Service]

National Genomics Infrastructure [Service]

PubMed 28971970

DOI 10.1126/science.aao6266

Crossref 10.1126/science.aao6266

pii: science.aao6266