DNA from the skull of an ancient human buried in an Ethiopian cave for about 4,500 years reveals the history of early Africans who originated from the Middle East. The latest discovery suggests that Africa was more connected to larger portion of the world thousands of years ago.
On Thursday, scientists said the ancient human, dubbed as “Mota,” is the first ancient human from Africa whose DNA has been sequenced to reveal the history of this part of the world.
The remains of Mota were found in the 6,440 feet (1,963 meters) above sea level cave in southwestern Ethiopia’s Gamo highlands. Researchers successfully analyzed the complete genetic blueprint of the ancient man’s DNA, thanks to the cooler, drier climate in the cave that preserved the genome.
DNA was extracted from petrous bone of ancient human. This part of the skill is excellent for the preservation of ancient genome samples.
In addition to the bones of an adult male, researchers also unearthed stone tools in the ancient grave. According to Matthew Curtis, anthropologist from UCLA, Mota belonged in a hunterer-gatherer culture.
Furthermore, the man had brown eyes, dark skin, and genetic characteristics suitable for living at high altitudes.
Genome analysis of Mota revealed that there was a large movement of ancient western Eurasians to Africa around 3,500 to 4,000 years ago.
“Africans were interacting with the larger world population, especially after 3,000 years ago,” said John Arthur, co-author of the study and anthropologist at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.
Several studies proved that Africa has a vital role in the evolution of ancient humans. Knowing the genetic diversity in Africa is important in understanding the evolution of anatomically modern humans.
By comparing the genome of Mota and DNA from modern Africans, researchers found that today’s East Africans have approximately 45 percent Eurasian ancestry because of the ancient migration. In addition to that, population in all regions of Africa is composed of at least 6 percent of Eurasian DNA.
The latest study appeared in the recent edition of journal Science.