1. bookVolume 84 (2022): Issue 4 (January 2022)
Journal Details
First Published
24 Jan 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Human mitochondrial DNA diversity is compatible with the multiregional continuity theory of the origin of Homo sapiens

Published Online: 01 Jan 2022
Page range: 487 - 502
Received: 12 May 2021
Accepted: 29 Nov 2021
Journal Details
First Published
24 Jan 2008
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Confidence intervals for estimates of human mtDNA sequence diversity, chimpanzee-human mtDNA sequence divergence, and the time of splitting of the pongid-hominid lineages are presented. Consistent with all the data used in estimating the coalescence time for human mitochondrial lineages to a common ancestral mitochondrion is a range of dates from less than 79,000 years ago to more than 1,139,000 years ago. Consequently, the hypothesis that a migration of modern humans (Homo sapiens) out of Africa in the range of 140,000 to 280,000 years ago resulted in the complete replacement, without genetic interchange, of earlier Eurasian hominid populations (Homo erectus) is but one of several possible interpretations of the mtDNA data. The data are also compatible with the hypothesis, suggested earlier and supported by fossil evidence, of a single, more ancient expansion of the range of Homo erectus from Africa, followed by a gradual transition to Homo sapiens in Europe, Asia, and Africa.


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