Previously unknown human population boom revealed by DNA: Massive expansion occurred 40,000 years ago
- Scientists guess that baby boom occurred as our ancestors adapted to life away from the coasts
By Damien Gayle
DNA sequencing has revealed a previously unknown human population boom between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago, a new study claims.
The sequencing of the Y chromosomes from 36 men has revealed a ten-fold increase in the number of genetic markers nearly 20,000 years after our ancestors first left Africa.
Scientists believe the expansion could have occurred as our ancestors adapted to more rugged environments, allowing them to spread inland from coastal areas.
Baby boom: New analysis of DNA has revealed a previously unknown human population explosion between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago
‘We have always considered the expansion of humans out of Africa as being the largest population expansion of modern humans, but our research questions this theory,’ said Wei Wei of the West China University of Medical Sciences.
‘The out-of-Africa expansion, which happened approximately 60,000 years ago, was extremely large in geographical terms with humans spreading around the globe.
‘Now we’ve found a second wave of expansion that is much larger in terms of human population growth and occurred over a very short period, somewhere between 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.’