Homo sapiens emergence may be earlier than believed

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The genomes of homo sapiens is believed to have appeared roughly two hundred thousand years ago, but a recent discovery from the remains of several young boys may put homo sapiens origins further back than that. Three older sets of remains, dating back from two thousand three hundred to one thousand eight hundred years ago, and four sets of remains dating from five hundred to three hundred years ago, represent a population shift in South African tribes. This allowed for the research team, collaborated with Uppsala University, and the Universities of Johannesburg and Witwatersrand, to roughly determine the divergence of modern day homo sapiens around three hundred fifty thousand years ago. The boys’ DNA was a perfect specimen to use because other DNA used from remains had been impacted by west African migrations to South Africa, which had previously been used to construct the African genome. Evolutionary geneticist Carina Schlebusch of Uppsala University claims that the boys’ genes, taken from their bones, provide a benchmark for defining the actual age of homo sapiens. Although the discovery does not prove that humanity had an earlier origin, the evidence does suggest that there was a divergence of early homo sapiens, while older species still existed elsewhere. Leaders of this team are curious as to whether or not the groups of earlier homo sapiens interacted with the older species that inhabited close lands. Other researchers claimed to have found remains that could belong to homo sapiens dating back to two hundred and sixty thousand years ago. However, critics are skeptical of these results. While skepticism remains, scientists feel that these discoveries reinforce a stronger relationship between genetics and archaeology than previously believed. Uppsala University Evolutionary Geneticist Matthias Jakobsson states, “We don’t know if early homo sapiens fossils or the Florisbad individual were genetically related to the Ballito Bay Boy.” Researchers have yet to find DNA from fossils dating from two hundred to three hundred thousand years ago that securly belong to that of a homo sapien.

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