Updated February 1, 2017
BRANCH: M89

AGE: 50,000 YEARS AGO

LOCATION OF ORIGIN: SOUTH ASIA OR WEST ASIA


Present day Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

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The next male ancestor in our 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 50,000 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. Our 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, our 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 of M89 remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of wild game through what is now modern-day Iran to the vast steppes of Central Asia.

These semi-arid grass-covered plains formed an ancient “superhighway” stretching from eastern France to Korea. Our 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.

Today, geneticists have found the lineage in 1 to 2 percent of Pakistani and Indian populations. However, it is about 4 percent of some Austro-Asiatic-language-family-speaking groups in India. It is about 9 percent of some Dravidian-language-family-speaking groups in India, and it is 9 to 10 percent of male lineages in Sri Lanka. In Borneo, it is about 5 percent of the population. In Malaysia, it is about 6 percent of the population.

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Copyright © 2017 by Robert Ranger, Wilmington, North Carolina.