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Humans left Africa more recently than previously thought

Genetic research performed on samples of ancient mitochondrial DNA suggests humans left Africa more recently than previously thought: between 62,000 to 95,000 years ago.

Exactly when the first humans emerged from Africa to colonize the world has been a topic of heated debate. [Photos: Our Closest Human Ancestor]

All of the estimates hinge on one number: the gene mutation rates. By knowing how often genes change, and then counting up the number of genetic differences between different species or groups of people, scientists can create a “molecular clock” to decipher how long ago they shared a common ancestor.

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Story: Tia Ghose, LiveScience | Photo: F. Demeter

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