When modern humans began their journey about 60, 000 years ago, they made one last stop at Egypt.
By comparing the genetic makeup of several African Populations, scientists traced our ancestor’s journey into Eurasia. The study, published in the American journal of Human Genetics, says that the similar genes between Egyptians and Eurasians might mean that emigrants went through Egypt sometime during the Pleistocene epoch.
Thought many models of how modern humans moved into Eurasia exist, the most recognized is the “out-of-Africa” theory. This theory states that after the first anatomically modern humans evolved in Africa, these people migrated out of the continent. According to Paleoanthropologists, this move was sometime between 125,000 to 60,000 years ago. Whether it was done in a single huge exodus, or occurred gradually overtime is still a point of contention.
More studies suggest Ethiopia as the starting point for modern humans, who then left Africa via a straight that linked the Arabian Peninsula with the Horn of Africa called Bab-el-Mandeb. However, new data from an international study led by University of Cambridge researcher Luca Pagani may tell a different tale.
By comparing the genetic data of 125 individuals form Ethiopian populations and 100 Egyptians, they discovered that Egyptians were actually more similar to Ethiopians than Eurasians, genetically speaking.
In a press release, Pagani said that “In our research, we generated the first comprehensive set of unbiased genomic data from Northeast Africans and observed, after controlling for recent migrations, a higher genetic similarity between Egyptians and Eurasians than between Ethiopians and Eurasians.”
“The most exciting consequence of our results is to have unveiled an episode of the evolutionary past of all Eurasians, therefore potentially improving the knowledge of billions of people on their deep biological history.”