Image courtesy Luca Pagani

Since a long time, anthropologists have been debating about the route early Asians and Europeans took for leaving Africa. While some have been arguing that those early humans left Africa through Ethiopia, there were others who believed that they took a northern path via Egypt.

Now, a recent study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics seems to have settled the debate by coming up with some major facts about the migration of the early humans.

Luca Pagani of the University of Cambridge and the British genomics and genetics research organization Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute analyzed genetic data and came to the conclusion that the route picked by these human ancestors 60,000 years back was through the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Those ancient humans most likely used the Levantine corridor of modern Middle East for reaching West Asia and Europe.

Image courtesy Luca Pagani
Image courtesy Luca Pagani

According to Pagani, the best thing about the findings of the study is that they allowed him and his colleagues to draw back the entire veil that to date was busy hiding a major episode of the history of Eurasians. In other words, this study has provided people with more detailed information on the evolutionary history of inhabitants of Europe and West Asia.

During the study, Pagani and his colleagues analyzed genetic information collected from a total of 6 modern Northeast African populations, 5 Ethiopian populations (each was represented by a group of 25 people) and 100 Egyptians.

The researchers found that the modern Egyptians have more genetic similarities with Eurasians than the Ethiopians. This finding allowed the research team to conclude that the early Europeans and Asians most likely left Africa via Egypt. Here, it must be mentioned that the analysis was done after controlling for the recent migrations.

Must Read: 70000 years ago, Humans migrated from Africa to Europe via Egypt

Earlier this year, a 55,000-year-old skull was discovered in the Manot Cave in Western Galilee, Israel. That discovery also jives with the northern path of migration via Egypt.

A study conducted some time back suggested that migration from Africa began between 70,000 and 40,000 years back. However, genetic analyses conducted during the past few years have indicated that early humans might have begun their migration to the east around 130,000 years back; those analyses also suggested that one popular route taken by those ancient humans was via the Arabian Peninsula.

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  1. I see one major flow in this study: The failure to compare genetic relationship of the Arabian route. The study only establishes the existence of a migration route via Egypt but doesn’t deny the existence of others.