A South Carolina man, Albert Perry, recently died and one of his relatives decided to submit a DNA sample to a company called Family Tree DNA to help detail their genealogical tree. The company however was confused because his Y-chromosome did not appear in his family tree. Later analysis by Michael Hammer, a geneticist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, found that Perry’s Y chromosome showed that his male lineage probably separated from all others about 338,000 years ago. Before Perry, all men could be traced to a genetic “Adam” who lived between 60,000 and 140,000 years ago. Now we have a man with a link that goes back almost 200,000 years earlier. Of course, that does not quite fit with creationists who believe the Earth is only 5000 to 6000 years old, but for the rest of humanity it is a pretty interesting discovery.
The results of this research were published recently in a study by the The American Society of Human Genetics.
Perry’s chromosome shows that the last common male ancestor down the paternal line of our species is over twice as old as we thought. The chromosome is a type of genetic time capsule that may reflect the interbreeding between Neanderthals and Denisovans. Hammer’s team looked at an African database of nearly 6000 Y chromosomes and found similarities between Perry’s and those in samples taken from 11 men, all living in one village in Cameroon. That may be the very village that Perry’s ancestors came from.
That is very cool.
Source: New Scientist