Tanzania offers a compelling argument for why it is home to humans — going back to hominids, who were human-like precursors to our kind. The evidence, in this case, includes the well-preserved footprints of hominids in northern Tanzania, estimated to be 3.75 million years old.There was still something missing even after that trip, which I understood much later--to go beyond the theoretical argument, and get evidence of how I came to be from that African origins.
A few weeks ago, when I was reading an essay, I came across a reference to the Genographic Project, and I decided to participate in that as a kind of a belated birthday gift to myself (yes, I paid for my own gift, thank you very much.) Because there was that payment to be made, I asked only for the "male" side of the history--after all, only males can get the male side of the story, given the Y chromosome. Some time later, I would gift myself with the female side of the past as well.
Today, I got the results of the DNA analysis, which tell a story of my origins from Africa. The genetic map shows how I got to India, all the way from Africa:
Compared to the tens of thousands of years that it took for the geographic movement out of Africa to India to happen, I came over to Los Angeles in 1987 after a mere day of air travel. Perhaps those early ancestors would not have even dreamed about such a possibility?
Anyway, the report notes:
The man who gave rise to the first genetic marker in your lineage probably lived in northeast Africa in the region of the Rift Valley, perhaps in present-day Ethiopia, Kenya, or Tanzania, some 31,000 to 79,000 years ago. Scientists put the most likely date for when he lived at around 50,000 years ago. His descendants became the only lineage to survive outside of Africa, making him the common ancestor of every non-African man living today.The place I visited in Tanzania was really, really, close enough to be the real, old, ancestral home--the home before Pattamadai, Sengottai, and Neyveli that I have often blogged about.
Anyway, from Tanzania (as I imagine the home!):
Your ancestors, having migrated north out of Africa into the Middle East, then traveled both east and west along this Central Asian superhighway. A smaller group continued moving north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.And then from there,
Your next ancestor, a man born around 40,000 years ago in Iran or southern Central Asia, gave rise to a genetic marker known as M9, which marked a new lineage diverging from the M89 Middle Eastern Clan. His descendants, of which you are one, spent the next 30,000 years populating much of the planet.Getting close to India ...
The man who gave rise to marker M20 was born in India or the Middle East. Your ancestors arrived in India around 30,000 years ago and represent the earliest significant settlement of India. For this reason, haplogroup L (M61) is known as the Indian Clan.So, there! Everything else was easy, it seems like.
Although more than 50 percent of southern Indians carry marker M20 and are members of haplogroup L (M61), your ancestors were not the first people to reach India; descendants of an early wave of migration out of Africa that took place some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago had already settled in small groups along the southern coastline of the sub-continent.
About that Y chromosome itself? It is alive--through my nephews, now it is in Australia!
I was excited when I saw these elephants at Mikumi National Park, Tanzania.