Scientific Papers



Single, Rapid Coastal Settlement of Asia Revealed by Analysis of Complete Mitochondrial Genomes
by Vincent Macaulay et al


Stephen Oppenheimer contributes to 'Science'
magazine paper on 'Out of Africa'
13/5/05



Science 2005 308: 1034-1036 (see abstract below)
Photographs by Freda Oppenheimer

This recent paper published in 'Science' by Vincent Macaulay and an international team of researchers including Professor Stephen Oppenheimer of Green College, Oxford, and a member of the Bradshaw Foundation Advisory Board, provides irrefutable evidence of the early timing and southern location of the only migration out of Africa to succeed and give rise to all modern non-African peoples. The paper states that all non-Africans descend from a single group of humans that left Africa by a coastal route across the mouth of the Red Sea to South Asia

This disproves current theories - which argue for several successful exits via different routes and at different times, including a direct northern route to Europe 45,000 years ago.

The paper endorses the claims and new conclusions made by Stephen Oppenheimer 2 years ago in his 2003 book ‘Out of Eden’ [‘The Real Eve’ in the USA], the material of which was used in the Channel 4 programme of the same name, the Discovery Channel film ‘The Real Eve’, the BBC series ‘The Incredible Human Journey’, and in the Bradshaw Foundation’s Journey of Mankind Genetic Map.


One or more exits from Africa? North .v. South

A commonly held view has been that modern humans left Africa both round the north and the south of the Red Sea in several waves to populate Europe and Asia. New analysis of genetic trees in isolated ‘relic’ populations on the trail in Southeast Asia by Oppenheimer and others now overturns that orthodoxy. The research shows that there was only a single dispersal from Africa, via a southern coastal route, across the mouth of the red Sea, through India and onward into Southeast Asia and Australasia. There was subsequently a northern offshoot from the Gulf region, leading ultimately to the settlement of the Near East and Europe, but this only occurred much later.

The key to this new and detailed story of our migration is mitochondrial DNA [mtDNA]. MtDNA passes from mother to child, each generation, unchanged, therefore every person alive on the Earth today has inherited this small collection of genes from one single great-great-great-grandmother, nearly two hundred thousand years ago. There are occasional mutations in the mtDNA molecule, enabling the tracing of migrations of people. This trail of maternal inheritance is backed up by the Y-chromosomes passed only down the male line. The mtDNA and Y trees each show only one branch coming out of Africa, implying only one exit.

The key findings in ‘OUT OF EDEN’, all now supported by the research published this week in SCIENCE, are:

There was one exodus from Africa via an earlier southern route 60 to 80 thousand years ago that led to the peopling of the rest of the planet.

Modern humans only reached Europe the long way round, via Southern Arabia, with this retarded movement into Europe taking place approximately 50,000 years ago.

Malaysian tribes provide a living link to the route pursued east after the exodus across the Red Sea, as modern humans beachcombed their way to Australia over several thousand years.

Early Europeans were not the first to learn to paint, carve, develop complex culture and speak, and do not represent a major biological advance. Evidence indicates that humans must have arrived in India already painting and fully ‘modern’.

Bradshaw Foundation


Single, Rapid Coastal Settlement of Asia Revealed
by Analysis of Complete Mitochondrial Genomes
by Vincent Macaulay et al

Vincent Macaulay, Catherine Hill, Alessandro Achilli, Chiara Rengo, Douglas Clarke, William Meehan, James Blackburn, Ornella Semino, Rosaria Scozzari, Fulvio Cruciani, Adi Taha, Norazila Kassim Shaari, Joseph Maripa Raja, Patimah Ismail, Zafarina Zainuddin, William Goodwin, David Bulbeck, Hans-Jurgen Bandelt, Stephen Oppenheimer, Antonio Torroni, and Martin Richards.

Abstract

A recent dispersal of modern humans out of Africa is now widely accepted, but the routes taken across Eurasia are still disputed. We show that mitochondrial DNA variation in isolated "relict" populations in southeast Asia supports the view that there was only a single dispersal from Africa, most likely via a southern coastal route, through India and onward into southeast Asia and Australasia. There was an early offshoot, leading ultimately to the settlement of the Near East and Europe, but the main dispersal from India to Australia 65,000 years ago was rapid, most likely taking only a few thousand years.

Click to read abstract


Two further papers from the same issue of 'Science':

Reconstructing the Origin of Andaman Islanders

Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Toomas Kivisild, Alla G. Reddy, Vijay Kumar Singh, Avinash A. Rasalkar, and Lalji Singh

Abstract

The origin of the Andaman "Negrito" and Nicobar "Mongoloid" populations has been ambiguous. Our analyses of complete mitochondrial DNA sequences from Onges and Great Andaman populations revealed two deeply branching clades that share their most recent common ancestor in founder haplogroup M, with lineages spread among India, Africa, East Asia, New Guinea, and Australia. This distribution suggests that these two clades have likely survived in genetic isolation since the initial settlement of the islands during an out-of-Africa migration by anatomically modern humans. In contrast, Nicobarese sequences illustrate a close genetic relationship with populations from Southeast Asia.
Click to read abstract


Evolution: Did Early Humans Go North or South?

Peter Forster and Shuichi Matsumura

Abstract

When the first early humans ventured out of Africa, which way did they go? Studies of maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA are revealing the excursion choices of our earliest ancestors. In their Perspective, Forster and Matsumura discuss two new studies of the mitochondrial DNA of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia and the Andaman islands (Macaulay et al., Thangaraj et al.). These studies suggest that the earliest humans took a southern route along the coastline of the Indian Ocean before fanning out over the rest of the world.

Extract from Forster & Matsumura

In Europe, Neanderthals were replaced by modern humans only about 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, whereas southern Australia was definitely inhabited 46,000 years ago and northern Australia and Southeast Asia necessarily even earlier (9, 10). Or did our ancestors instead depart from East Africa, crossing the Red Sea and then following the coast of the Indian Ocean (11)?

References:
9. G. Barker, Asian Perspect.44, 90 (2005).
10. J.M. Bowler et al., Nature421, 837 (2003).
11. S. Oppenheimer, Out of Eden (Constable, London, 2003).

Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Join the free Mailing List Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Coso Range Nevada Oregon Territory Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Ian Wilson Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Portable Art Research Paper Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Tanum Rock Art Museum Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation