National Geographic Study

National Geographic Study

Sections in this Chapter:

1.     Study Findings……………………………………………………...p.1

2.     Our Ancestral Journey….………………………………..………..p.2

3.      Direct Descendants of Cro-Magnon…..…………………………..p.7


Section 1. Study Findings

We did participate in a National Geographic Study that showed we belong to Haplogroup R1B, M343.  A Haplogroup is a genetic marker that define your ancestral history reach back roughly 60,000 years to the first common marker of all non-African men, M168, and follows your lineage to present day ending with M343, the defining marker of Haplogroup R1B.  lf you look at the map highlighting your ancestors' route, you will see that members of haplogroup Rlb carry the following Y-chromosome markers: M168 > P143 > M89 > L15 > M9 > M45 > M207 > M173 > M343.  The markers trace the path your ancestors took as they moved out of Africa.

Section 2. Our Ancestral Journey: What We Know

M168: Your Earliest Ancestor

Fast Facts: Time of Emergence: Roughly 50,000 years ago.  Paleolithic age.

Place of Origin: Africa

Climate: Temporary retreat of lce Age; Africa moves from drought to warmer temperatures and moister conditions.  Estimated Number of Homo sapiens; Approximately 10,000.

Tools and Skills: Stone tools; earliest evidence of art and advanced conceptual skills

Skeletal and archaeological evidence suggest that anatomically modem humans evolved in Africa around 200,000 years ago, and began moving out of Africa to colonize the rest of the world around 60,000 years ago. 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.  But why would man have first ventured out of the familiar African hunting grounds and into unexplored lands?  lt is likely that a fluctuation in climate may have provided the impetus for your ancestors' exodus out of Africa. The African ice age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. 

lt was around 50,000 years ago that the ice sheets of northern Europe began to melt, inducing a period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa.

Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable. As the drought-ridden desert changed to a savanna, the animals hunted by your ancestors expanded their range and began moving through the newly emerging green corridor of grasslands. Your nomadic ancestors followed the good weather and the animals they hunted, although the exact route they followed remains to be determined. ln addition to a favorable change in climate, around this same time there was a great leap forward in modem humans' intellectual capacity. Many scientist believe that the emergence of language gave us a huge advantage over other early human species.  Improved tools and weapons, the ability to plan ahead and cooperate with one

another, and an increased capacity to exploit resources in ways we hadn’t been able to earlier, all allowed modern humans to rapidly migrate to new territories, explore new resources, and replace other hominids.


M89 Moving Through the Middle East.  Fast Facts Time of Emergence: 45,000 years ago. Paleolithic age.  Place: Northern Africa or the Middle East.  Climate: Middle East: Semiarid grass plains.  Estimated Number of Homo sapiens; Tens of thousands Tools and Skills: Stone, ivory, wood tools.  The next male ancestor in your ancestral lineage is the man who gave rise to M89, a marker found in 90 to 95 percent of all non-Africans. This man was born around 45,000 years ago in northern Africa or the Middle East. The first people to leave Africa likely followed a coastal route that eventually ended in Australia. Your ancestors followed the expanding grasslands and plentiful game to the Middle East and beyond, and were part of the second

great wave of migration out of Africa. Beginning about 40,000 years ago, the climate shifted once again and became colder and more arid. Drought hit Africa and the grasslands reverted to desert, and for the next 20,000 years, the Saharan Gateway was effectively closed. With the desert impassable, your ancestors had two options: remain in the Middle East or move on. Retreat back to the home continent was not an option. While many of the descendants at M89 remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of buffalo, antelope, woolly mammoths, and other game through what is now modern day lran to the vast steppes of Central Asia. This semiarid grass covered plains formed an ancient "superhighway" stretching from eastern France to Korea. 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 (Modern Day Turkey) and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.

Read More About this Study