Sunday , May 16 2021

All human beings on Earth descended from just a single couple

All human life on Earth can be traced back to a single couple that lived between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago, scientists have determined.

A team of researchers has made this conclusion after analyzing genetic 'bar codes' of five million specimens from 100,000 different species, including humans.

They believe that after a catastrophic event wiped out almost all of the human race, we sprang from the coupling of just one remaining pair. And it's not just humans – scientists believe that nine out of ten animal species can also be traced back to a single couple.

Scientists look at genetic 'bar codes' inside mitochondrial DNA (Image: Getty)

The research was led by Senior Research Associate Mark Stoeckle and Research Associate David Thaler of the University of Basel, Switzerland.

'This conclusion is very surprising,' Thaler said, 'and I fought against it as hard as I could.'

The two scientists used the 'big data' insights from the world's fast growing genetic databases and reviewed a staggering amount of literature in evolutionary theory – including Charles Darwin.

The 'mitochondrial DNA' examined in the research is that which mothers pass from generation to generation and has shown the 'absence of human exceptionalism.'

Dr Stoeckle said: "At a time when people place so much emphasis on individual and group differences, perhaps we should spend more time on the ways in which we resemble one another and the rest of the animal kingdom."

The research suggests we are not so diverse after all (Image: Getty)

The conclusion they have reached has put into question a lot of what we understand about human evolution. Such as why human life need to start over again in such a recent period. The last known mass extinction was 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs were killed off.

"One might have thought that, due to their high population density and wide geographic distribution, humans might have led to greater genetic diversity than other animal species," added Stoeckle.

'At least for mitochondrial DNA, humans turn out to be low to average in genetic diversity.'

The findings suggest that humans, as well as other animals, had to start afresh more often over the course of our evolution than was first thought. The rest, as they say, is history.

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