Experts Skeptical of New Study Pinpointing the Birthplace of Humanity

Posted On: October 30, 2019

By Nala Rogers

It’s an appealing story because it’s simple. Modern humans arose in a fertile wetland centered on what is now northern Botswana, then spread northeast and southwest in two migration waves between 130,000 and 110,000 years ago.

This scenario was presented in an article published Monday in Nature, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals. But none of the eight outside experts who responded to Inside Science’s requests for comment said there was strong support for that exact narrative. Two thought the data supported a more limited version of the authors’ conclusions, and six had serious concerns about the study.

“I am hugely surprised that this study made it into an important scientific journal,” wrote Mattias Jakobsson, a population geneticist at Uppsala University in Sweden, in an email.

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