Ancient West African foragers in the context of African population history.
Our knowledge of ancient human population structure in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly prior to the advent of food production, remains limited. Here we report genome-wide DNA data from four children-two of whom were buried approximately 8,000 years ago and two 3,000 years ago-from Shum Laka (Cameroon), one of the earliest known archaeological sites within the probable homeland of the Bantu language group1-11
. One individual carried the deeply divergent Y chromosome haplogroup A00, which today is found almost exclusively in the same region12,13
. However, the genome-wide ancestry profiles of all four individuals are most similar to those of present-day hunter-gatherers from western Central Africa, which implies that populations in western Cameroon today-as well as speakers of Bantu languages from across the continent-are not descended substantially from the population represented by these four people. We infer an Africa-wide phylogeny that features widespread admixture and three prominent radiations, including one that gave rise to at least four major lineages deep in the history of modern humans.
Lipson, M; Ribot, I; Mallick, S; Rohland, N; Olalde, I; Adamski, N; Broomandkhoshbacht, N; Lawson, AM; López, S; Oppenheimer, J; Stewardson, K; Asombang, RN; Bocherens, H; Bradman, N; Culleton, BJ; Cornelissen, E; Crevecoeur, I; de Maret, P; Fomine, FLM; Lavachery, P; Mindzie, CM; Orban, R; Sawchuk, E; Semal, P; Thomas, MG; Van Neer, W; Veeramah, KR; Kennett, DJ; Patterson, N; Hellenthal, G; Lalueza-Fox, C; MacEachern, S; Prendergast, ME; Reich, D
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