They say that prehistoric humans lived in the region for around 70,000 years, before climatic events forced them to begin dispersing throughout the world roughly 130,000 years ago. The area identified in the study was called Makgadikgadi-Okavango, once home to a massive lake, roughly twice the area of modern-day Lake Victoria. Today is a desert near the modern Okavango Delta. Anthropologist Vanessa Hayes, the senior author of the new paper, said in a press conference that the findings suggest “everyone walking around today” can trace their mitochondrial DNA back to this “human homeland.”
The team says their study allows us to trace our lineage directly back to the region south of the Zambezi river. Members of the research team have spent a decade working with KhoeSan communities, as well as people from other ethnicities and language groups, in Namibia and South Africa. Some experts, however, believe that the study needs more validation as the mitochondrial DNA method used in the study is not sufficient to reconstruct the story of human origins.