… says Christian Science Monitor:
Thousands of years ago, somewhere in Africa, lived a man who – probably – had no idea that he, among all the other men in his group, would go on to become humankind’s most recent common male ancestor. Scientists would call him “Adam.”
Now, a new paper published in the journal Science significantly narrows the time during which Adam could have lived – about 120,000 to 156,000 years ago – putting him in about the same time period as humankind’s most recent common female ancestor, often dubbed “Eve.” The research revises previous findings that dated Adam within a much longer period.
And the findings also ease recent doubts that the Y chromosome can reliably trace ancient lineage, renewing confidence that tracing and dating lineage using mutations in the Y chromosome could be critical in answering some of the vexing questions about how and where the first humans originated.
Here’s the paper:
Sequencing Y Chromosomes Resolves Discrepancy in Time to Common Ancestor of Males Versus Females
The Y chromosome and the mitochondrial genome have been used to estimate when the common patrilineal and matrilineal ancestors of humans lived. We sequenced the genomes of 69 males from nine populations, including two in which we find basal branches of the Y-chromosome tree. We identify ancient phylogenetic structure within African haplogroups and resolve a long-standing ambiguity deep within the tree. Applying equivalent methodologies to the Y chromosome and the mitochondrial genome, we estimate the time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) of the Y chromosome to be 120 to 156 thousand years and the mitochondrial genome TMRCA to be 99 to 148 thousand years. Our findings suggest that, contrary to previous claims, male lineages do not coalesce significantly more recently than female lineages.