Early humans were from Africa but their route out was via Arabia
Scientists confirm early humans were from Africa but their route out was via Arabia not Egypt
- Our ancestors headed into India via Yemen before wandering further east and north
- Researchers used complicated new DNA procedure 'recombination'
Our human ancestors did come from Africa but left the continent to spread across the world via a different route than first thought, scientists have revealed.
A six-year study mapping genetic patterns found that people who ended up in Europe, Asia and Oceania got there by crossing the sea to Arabia around 70,000 years ago.
Scientists had thought that humankind left for other continents in a northern direction through Egypt's Sinai region but now it seems they wandered further south, probably via Yemen.
Evidence shows sea levels were probably low enough for the first people to cross from the horn of Africa into Arabia via the Red Sea's Bab-el-Mandeb straits.
From there it seems that southern Asian countries like India were key stopping points from where humans spread across the rest of the world.
Settlers followed a coastal route down into east Asia and Oceania while others burst upwards into Iran, Russia, Europe and China.
Researchers have found that the Indian populations had more genetic diversity, showing they have a greater age than Europeans or east Asians, which they say proves their theory.
'Evolutionary history shows that human populations likely originated in Africa, and the Genographic Project, the most extensive survey of human population genetic data to date, suggests where they went next: Modern humans migrated out of Africa via a southern route through Arabia, rather than a northern route by way of Egypt,' a spokesman for IBM said, who were involved in the research.
Scientists used a new complicated research technique to study the path of the humans.
Called recombination, they broke up DNA molecules and recombined them to form new pairs.
By doing this they can see the relationships with humans today and 70,000 years ago.
Genographic Project director Dr Spencer Wells said their techniques could provide 'greater insights into the migratory history of our species.'
Nearly 500,000 indigenous and members of the general public have taken part and given DNA samples.
'Over the past six years, we’ve had the opportunity to gather and analyse genetic data around the world at a scale and level of detail that has never been done before,' said report co-author Ajay Royyuru, senior manager at IBM's Computational Biology Centre
'When we started, our goal was to bring science expeditions into the modern era to further a deeper understanding of human roots and diversity.
'With evidence that the genetic diversity in southern India is closer to Africa than that of Europe, this suggests that other fields of research such as archaeology and anthropology should look for additional evidence on the migration route of early humans to further explore this theory.'