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March 22 2013

Clocking the Human Exodus Out of Africa


Like bloodhounds on the fading scent of an escaped convict, researchers have tried for decades to trace the ancient footsteps of the first modern humans who left Africa. Even though this exodus was one of the most important events in human evolution, scientists have been unable to pinpoint when and where it began. Now, using ancient DNA for the first time from ancient Europeans such as Ötzi, the famous Iceman, and from earlier fossils, a team of evolutionary geneticists has dated the start of this legendary journey to less than 95,000 years ago and, possibly, as recently as 62,000 years ago.

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