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A Revised Timescale for Human Evolution Based on Ancient Mitochondrial Genomes

Posted by big mike M on May 7, 2013 at 1:05 PM



Human mutation rates are directly calculated using securely dated ancient human mtDNAs ► The study provides improved molecular estimates for human evolutionary events. The last major gene flow event between Africans and non-Africans was calculated to 95 kya



--Fu et al 2013




All but one of the ancient modern human sequences from Europe belonged to mtDNA hg U, thus confirming previous findings that hg U was the dominant type of mtDNA before the spread of agriculture into Europe. The exception was the Cro-Magnon 1 sample, which belonged to the derived hg T2b1, an unexpected hg given its putative age of 30,000 years. Since the radiocarbon date for this specimen was obtained from an associated shell, we dated the sample itself using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Surprisingly, the sample had a much younger age of about 700 years, suggesting a medieval origin. Consequently, this bone fragment has now been removed from the Cro-Magnon collection at the Musee de l’Homme in Paris. ...


It has been argued that hg U5 is the most ancient subhaplogroup of the U lineage, originating among the first early modern humans in Europe. Our results support this hypothesis because we find that the two Dolni Vestonice individuals radiocarbon dated to 31.5 kya carry a type of mtDNA that is as yet uncharacterized, sits close to the root of hg U, and carries two mutations that are specific to hg U5.


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