| 2 June 2016
Migration back to Africa took place during the Palaeolithic
An international team led by the Universidad del Pais Vasco has retrieved mitochondrial DNA from 35,000 year-old fossil human remains found in the Pestera Muierii cave in Romania belonging to the first Homo sapiens population in Europe.
The study confirms the Eurasian origin of the U6 lineage now existing mainly in the populations of the north of Africa, supporting the hypothesis that some populations migrated back to Africa from Eurasia at the start of the Upper Palaeolithic, about 40,000 to 45,000 years ago. The Pestera Muierii individual represents one branch of this return, of which there is no direct evidence owing to the lack of Palaeolithic fossil remains in the north of Africa.
Team leader Professor Concepcion de la Rua explains: "Right now, the research group is analysing the nuclear genome the results of which could provide us with information about its relationship with the Neanderthals and about the existence of genomic variations associated with the immune system that accounts for the evolutionary success of Homo sapiens over other human species with whom it co-existed. What is more, we will be able to see what the phenotypic features of early Homo sapiens were like, and also see how population movements in the past influence the understanding of our evolutionary history."
Edited from EurekAlert (26 May 2016); Universidad del Pais Vasco (19 May 2016)
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