The Human Family Tree
The Genographic Project traces the human journey through time and space, from our origins in the heart of Africa to the ends of the world. Cutting edge science, coupled with a cast of New Yorkers, each with their own unique genetic history.
According to the multi-regional model, an archaic form of humans left Africa between one and two million years ago, and modern humans evolved from them independently and simultaneously in pockets of Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Wells’s work and that of others confirms the more widely accepted Out of Africa model, which says that all modern humans evolved in Africa and then left in several waves of migration, ultimately replacing any earlier species.
“Genetic evidence tells us that Homo sapiensare of recent origin and arose in Africa,” said S. Blair Hedges, a molecular biologist at Pennsylvania State University.
“African populations have the most ancient alleles [gene pairs that code for specific traits] and the greatest genetic diversity, which means they’re the oldest,” Hedges explained. “Our species probably had arisen by 150,000 years ago, with a population of perhaps 10,000 individuals.”
Chris Stringer, director of the Human Origins Program at the Natural History Museum in London, said: “The multi-regional model of Homo sapiens evolving globally over a long time scale is certainly dead.” Whether archaic humans and modern humans interbred is another point of debate.