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Creation of Adam, detail. By Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1510.
Dr Eran Elhaik from the University of Sheffield and his co-authors used conventional biological models to show that Y-chromosomal Adam is 8,300 years older than scientists originally believed. They put Y-chromosomal Adam within the time frame of the Mitochondrial Eve.
“We can say with some certainty that modern humans emerged in Africa a little over 200,000 years ago,” Dr Elhaik said.
The findings contradict a recent study – published in the American Journal of Human Genetics in February 2013 – which had claimed the human Y chromosome originated in a different species through interbreeding which dates Adam to be twice as old.
“In fact, their hypothesis creates a sort of space-time paradox whereby the most ancient individual belonging to Homo sapiens species has not yet been born. If we take the numerical results from previous studies seriously we can conclude that the past may be altered by the mother of Adam deciding not to conceive him in the future, thus, bringing a retroactive end to our species.”
“It is obvious that modern humans did not interbreed with hominins living over 500,000 years ago. It is also clear that there was no single Adam and Eve but rather groups of Adams and Eves living side by side and wandering together in our world.”
Dr Elhaik noted: “the question to what extend did our humans forbearers interbreed with their closest relatives is one of the hottest questions in anthropology that remains open.”
Eran Elhaik et al. 2014. The ‘extremely ancient’ chromosome that isn’t: a forensic bioinformatic investigation of Albert Perry’s X-degenerate portion of the Y chromosome. European Journal of Human Genetics, published online January 22, 2014; doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2013.303