The paper received a tremendous amount of press coverage (see here, here, and here), but given the controversy that now surrounds this research, it’s a wonder the paper, published this past Monday (October 28, 2019) in Nature, managed to pass peer review – at least according to the many experts we spoke to.
The complaints we received from scientists were almost too many to mention, the most serious being a weak and inconclusive genetic analysis, the failure to cite and address competing archaeological evidence, sweeping assumptions about one particular group of indigenous southern Africans, and an outdated “colonial” approach to the subject matter.
The researchers used this mtDNA to map – at least what is in their opinion – the oldest maternal lineage derived from humans living today.
Modern humans found a home in this verdant area, inhabiting the region for 70,000 years, according to the study.
But as the climate began to change, some of these humans migrated elsewhere, travelling along the “green corridors” to the northeast and then to the southwest.
Research from 2017 showed that Homo sapiens, sometimes referred to as anatomically modern humans, have been around for at least 300,000 years – and possibly even longer – as evidenced by fossils found in northern Africa, specifically the Jebel Irhoud site in Morocco.