The Journey of Man

I just finished watching an absolutely fascinating program on PBS called The Journey of Man. It was a summary of the research of Spencer Wells and company whose Y-DNA genetic genealogy research has lead to a compelling “story” of human migration. Among the freshest information for me was that the first exodus from Africa was a coastal rout ~60,000 years ago that ended in Australia.

In the documentary, the interviewed Aborigines were adamant that they originated in Australia, but the amateur anthropologist in me can’t help but see many similarities between them and the Bushmen of Southern Africa. Well, anyways, I wouldn’t be the first person to point out that the Bushmen relationship to Tsodilo Hills mirrors that of the Aborigine relationship to Ayers Rock, or that both cultures ceremoniously enter into a trance state of consciousness.


Note that this image doesn’t really match Well’s findings, but it was the most aesthetically pleasing migration map that I found. One difference is that Wells’s research points to European populations being able to trace their ancestry back to Africa via Central Asia and not directly from the Middle East and Africa as this map depicts. Many Asians, Native Americans, and Indians can also trace their paternal heritage to this same Central Asian ancestry. “If Africa was the cradle of mankind, then Central Asia was its nursery”, said Wells.

You can read a more complete summary on the National Geographic website.

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