Friday, November 25, 2022

Ancient DNA Sheds New Light on Africa’s Stone Age

 A study presents genome data from 3 individual, who lived in the Late Pleistocene, between 12 and 120 thousand years ago. The oldest individual was excavated in 2010 by Dr. Elizabeth Sawchuk, a bioarcheologist at the University of Alberta, and the other two individuals were excavated by Dr. Jessica Thompson, an anthropologist at Yale University. DNA extraction was less challenging than expected because the fossils were found on rocks inside a cave in Tanzania. Around 50 thousand years ago, an archeological change is seen- people started creating "trade networks". For example,  obsidian, a type of stone seen to be used in creating tools, was moved over long distances. With ancient DNA found on the stones, scientists were able to conclude the time around which humans began using and moving obsidians. It's fascinating to learn researchers were able to extract DNA from samples, given Africa's extreme weather destroys DNA. Also, this research explains how "globalization" worked then- people were moving long distances and creating families far from their birthplaces, thus changing genetic landscape.


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  2. This was a very interesting blog post to read about. I’ve always been interested in learning about Ancient Africa and it’s people. Given this, it was very insightful to learn that the DNA of African people who existed thousands of years ago were detected on stone. This leads me to believe that more DNA and information pertaining to the genetic traits of African inhabitants will be discovered through the obtainment of ancient artifacts.