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If their number dropped to 1,300 individuals, hominid ancestors would have all but disappeared, according to this study

If their number dropped to 1,300 individuals, hominid ancestors would have all but disappeared, according to this study

According to a controversial new genetic study, the ancestors of our species may have been close to extinction about 900,000 years ago.

Was there, in the past, climate change so drastic that the ancestor of modern humans would have gone extinct? This is the amazing theory of a genetic study published August 31 in the journal science. The authors of this work, Chinese researchers Haiping Li and Yi-Hsuan Pan, declare that the inhabitants of our distant ancestors It would have collapsed to about 1,300 individuals, approximately one million years ago. With this provocative suggestion: Humanity cannot exist.

Extreme climate change?

Thus, a significant cooling, or severe drought, occurred In the middle of the ice agethere are approx 930,000 yearsAnd, after lasting a hundred thousand years, it could have led to this Sharp decline in populationaccording to them. “The bottleneck corresponds to a large temporal gap in the available African and Eurasian fossil records.” they write. But the results puzzled many specialists, they noted International mailwho suggest that on the contrary, the fossil record is continuous, or that the climate change hypothesis does not hold up.

Little evidence

In fact, the researchers conducted analyzes of genome variation using a database 3000 people (of ten contemporary African populations and forty contemporary non-African populations), in search ofDecrease in genetic diversity. Team development new way To estimate older changes in population size, which are usually more difficult to detect than more recent changes. According to the conclusions of researchers, the population of our ancestors has decreased by 98% To reach approximately 1,280 “breeding individuals” in Africa and Eurasia.

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But according to John Hawkes, the specialist from the University of Wisconsin who conducted the interview new worldthe apparent lack of genetic diversity in this period could coincide with a moment in history during which there were clusters of the species Homo They were divided into several distinct groups that migrated only rarely and had no contact with each other. It could be soA small group of individuals who have been genetically separated from other humansduring the period in which Two chromosomes are fused into oneHumans developed 23 pairs of chromosomes, instead of 24 for large primates. In any case, this statement It will lack ancient genetic evidence Allow support.

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