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University of Pretoria scientists locate origin of humans

SABC news Australopithecus anamensis R - University of Pretoria scientists locate origin of humans

Scientists at the University of Pretoria have pinpointed the homeland of all humans alive today to a region south of the Zambezi River.

In a ground breaking study, the team of researchers has found that the earliest ancestors of homo-sapiens originated in the south of the greater Zambezi River basin region, which included entire northern Botswana, western Namibia and eastern Zimbabwe.

The research also shows that the changes in Africa’s climate triggered the first human exploration and movement, causing many to leave what is today known as the Greater Kalahari region.

The study relied on blood samples from all ethnicities in South Africa and Namibia.

It initially focused on genetic data from Botswana and later included more samples from Namibians and South Africans.

Researchers say South Africans may be carrying a common gene, known as mitogene, which traces back to one of the modern human’s oldest ancestors.

However, one of the researchers from University of Pretoria, Riana Bornman, says it’s difficult to ascertain the racial identity of these modern ancestors of the homo sapiens.

“I have no idea whether they were black people, but what I can tell you is that they were identified as the modern human beings, and not other classification. We look specifically from a group into those with an (LO) L-zero maternal lineage.”

Bornman says their findings on the origins of modern humans brought them a step closer to understanding the cause of prostate cancer in African men.

“We set out to find out a better understanding of protest cancer, like why it’s such malignant disease, or aggressive cancer with progressive traits, and also occurring at a younger age, so if we understand disease better we can plan treatment accordingly to what is going on in African men, not in European man… European man are very different from African men.”

According to the professor, the study is unique in that it relied on samples of living subjects, instead of fossil remains. She says it is significant to the history of the Southern African areas.

This is the first study on living subjects not on fossil remains from a cave somewhere, and for that reason we believe that our finding are significant to what happened in the Southern African part.

The study will also enlighten the world about the Southern African history.

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