All modern men could be descended from once common ancestor, a genetic “Adam” who lived around 209,000 years ago, according to a new research paper out last month.
The discovery of this “Y-Chromosomal man” may contradict previous research seeking to understand exactly when our male ancestors walked the Earth.
Published in in the European Journal of Human Genetics, the study was conducted by Dr. Eran Elhaik from the University of Sheffield and Professor Dan Grauer from the University of Houston and the Tel Aviv University.
The scientists used conventional biological models to suggest a date for the first man, according to a statement from the University of Sheffield.
“We can say with some certainty that modern humans emerged in Africa a little over 200,000 years ago,” Dr. Elhaik said in the statement.
The male chromosome, or Y chromosome, was key to this research. Using a complex calculation, the scientists multiplied the average age fathers have their first child with the number of mutations found on the Y chromosome, reported the Huffington Post.
“We then carried the calculations using acceptable scientific methods and determined that age [of the Y chromosome] to be 209,000 years old,” Dr. Elhaik told the Huffington Post.
Elhaik and Grauer also debunked a theory that held that early modern humans came into being through the interbreeding of Homo sapiens females and the males of other hominid species.
“There is no evidence to support introgression from other species,” co-author Elhaik, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Modern humans’ male and female ancestors have emerged around the same time. Modern humans’ ancestors have emerged or arrived to Africa a little over 200,000 years ago and gave rise to many of the populations in Africa who, in turn, passed their genetic information to contemporary people.”
However, the study is by no means conclusive. There are still many questions left to be answered, as the scientific community has been debating this particular question for many years.