Oldest DNA from Africa triggers rethink about ancient human migration
Our understanding of ancient human migration may need a rethink after scientists analysed the oldest ever human DNA evidence found in Africa.
Researchers successfully sequenced genetic material from people living in Morocco 15,000 years ago, and found they shared a genetic heritage with populations in the Eastern Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Africa.
It suggests Stone Age humans from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East were interacting much earlier than previously thought.
The findings were made by an international team of scientists, led by Johannes Krause and Choongwon Jeong from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.
"Our analysis shows that North Africa and the Near East, even at this early time, were part of one region without much of a genetic barrier," said Mr Jeong.
The team analysed DNA samples of nine individuals from the Iberomaurusian culture in Taforalt, a cave in northern Morocco and the oldest known cemetery in the world.