Unlike nuclear, basic DNA in human cells, mitochondrial DNA, analogous to it, hardly mutates and changes extremely slowly. Thanks to this, it can be used as a "library" of knowledge about a person's past. After analyzing thousands of mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes), a group of researchers from Australia and South Africa came to the conclusion that our first ancestors lived in a specific place - south of the Zambezi River, Africa.
The study of mitogenomes led the researchers to southern Africa, where they made a map of the distribution of people depending on their belonging to the "stem line" of DNA and sub-lines. It is believed that our most distant ancestors appeared 200-300 thousand years ago in the area of the ancient lake Makgadikgadi. Today there are salt deserts, but in those days this was a wetland system full of life.
Researchers have identified two large waves of migration of proto-humans from this region, which took place 110, 000 and 130, 000 years ago. The first people lived quietly in the swamp for almost 70, 000 years, but then a large group headed to the northeast, and after another 20, 000 years another rushed to the southwest. These data coincide with the history of changes in the precipitation map in ancient Africa - periodically "corridors" with lush vegetation appeared there, which provoked our ancestors to leave their homeland for new lands.
Alas, this theory does not explain where the fossils of people in Morocco, 300, 000 years old, fossils 210, 000 years old in Greece, and Israeli finds that are at least 177, 000 years old come from. The study of mitochondrial DNA is an interesting and useful tool, but one should not rush to draw such global conclusions as the establishment of the homeland of all mankind. An article devoted to the study of mitogenomes of protohumans was published in the journal Nature.