Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Sunday, November 3, 2019

A human homeland in Botswana 200 kya? (unlikely)

A paper published last Monday in Nature (Human origins in a southern African palaeo-wetland and first migrations - Chan, E.K.F., Timmermann, A., Baldi, B.F. et al. Nature (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1714-1) reports that modern humans originated in what is now Botswana, in southern Africa "within the residual Makgadikgadi–Okavango palaeo-wetland of southern Africa, approximately 200 ka (95% confidence interval, 240–165 ka)".

These people carried the "oldest" mtDNA lineage, the L0 one. After 70,000 years of isolation in this former wetland, they finally moved out dispersing to the northeast and southwest between 110 and 130,000 years ago, eventually peopling the whole world.

This paper has received strong criticism for several reasons, such as:

  • It did not use Y chromosome data, which tell a different story.
  • Modern Human Fossils older than 200,000 years have been found in different parts of Africa, including NW Africa (i.e. Morocco 300 kya)
  • It assumes that people don't move: current carriers of L0 living in the area are assumed to have remained there over the last 200 kya! Maybe they moved there from somewhere else.
  • There has been no ancient DNA extracted from human fossils in Africa older than 15,000 years. So we cannot make assumptions on things that took place 200 kya based on contemporary populations.

This is a good criticism to the paper: No, a genetic study didn’t pinpoint the ancestral homeland of all humans

I strongly agree with the critics, and find the paper by Chan et al. unconvincing. Below is a map from the paper.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2019 by Austin Whittall © 

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