Mapping Human Migration with Y-DNA  - Last update 12/26/2012
FTDNA help pages have the answers to questions about Y-chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) test results.

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TIME LINE: HUMAN MIGRATION  --  Rechecked 11/21/2012

The Genographic Project is creating a picture of when and where ancient humans moved around the world by mapping the genetic markers in modern peoples. These great migrations eventually led the descendants of a small group of Africans to occupy even the farthest reaches of the earth.  I discovered that this project only uses the first 12 markers of the genealogical genetic coding.  Therefore these data are not as detailed as, for instance, the data at FTDNA.  I have even written them about the disparity in one of my markers between FTDNA and Geo - their response was that different uses sometimes produces different results - not very satisfying.  Still, give or take a few thousand years this time line should be useful.

Read more:   

200,000 – 150,000 years ago:  The genetic journey of everyone alive today began with one woman — “Scientific Eve” — and one man --- "Scientific Adam" --- who lived in Africa and passed along their DNA.  The mtDNA or mitochondria DNA was passed from Eve thru her daughters to all women living today, while the Y-DNA was passed to Adam's sons and on down to those living today.  Skeletal and archaeological evidence suggest that anatomically modern 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.

195,000 years ago:  No one knows when modern humans first appeared, but the oldest skulls and bones of anatomically modern humans were found in Ethiopia’s Omo River Valley by paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey in 1967. Our ancient homo sapient ancestors remained in Africa for as long as three-quarters of our history as a species.

150,000 years ago:  The first branch point on our human family tree is marked by the earliest major movement of humans:  One group headed to southern Africa and the other to eastern Africa — and later, to the rest of the world.

130,000 – 70,000 years ago:  It is believed that our cradle of humanity transformed into desert due to constant climate change from cold to hot, nearly wiping humans off the earth. Based on the lack of genetic variation from this time, it is possible that the number dropped to as few as 2,000 birthing women, making us an endangered species.
Aug 19, 2014: A new study of Paleolithic stone tools from 17 sites in North Africa shows that between 130,000 and 75,000 years ago, there were at least four separate populations in the region, each with its own distinctive cultural traits, reports  Researchers led by University of Oxford visiting scholar Eleanor Scerri made 300,000 measurements on stone tools and combined the data with enviromental reconstuctions of prehistoric North Africa to analyze how modern human populations dispersed across the Sahara using ancient rivers and streams that no longer exist.  "This is the first time that scientists have identified that early modern humans at the cusp of dispersal out of Africa were grouped in separate, isolated and local populations," says Scerri.  "Our picture of modern human demography around 100,000 years ago is that there were a number of populations, varying in size and degree of genetic contact, distributed over a wide geographical area." According to SScerri , the team's work supports the theory that modern humans left Africa before 60,000-50,000 years ago.

70,000 years ago:  Climate studies indicate the drought in Africa subsided for a time and the human population resumed growing. Archaeological evidence reveals that tools from this period appear across the continent, and the genetics show new lineages taking root.

60,000 years ago:  (M168)(A)  “Scientific Adam” is the common male ancestor of every living person today and the one who has provided every male with a Y chromosome. Because he lived in Africa some 60,000 years ago, the ancestors of all humans living today must have lived there until at least that time. 

50,000 years ago: (B, E) Some scientists theorize one wave of humans migrated out of Africa by crossing at the southern tip of the Red Sea to the Arabian Peninsula (a mere 17 miles apart). It is unknown whether they would have walked, swam, or rafted.

50,000 years ago:  (CT, D) Humans first arrived in Southeast Asia, perhaps by journeying along the coasts of modern-day Iran, Pakistan and India. At that time, one continuous landmass connected Asia with southern Indonesia, just north of Australia.

45,000 – 40,000 years ago:  (M89) Archaeological records show that humans moved into Australia. Their voyage may have been made possible by the shifting landmasses and lower sea levels of this glacial period.

40,000 – 35,000 years ago: (M9)(M45)  Africans who had moved into the Middle East during wet climatic periods found themselves on a vast “steppe highway” that ran to China and Korea. As they hunted game, these people gradually dispersed along the steppes and populated much of Eurasia.

40,000 – 35,000 years ago:  Despite the conditions of a frigid ice age, a hardy band of mammoth hunters moved onto the tundra of southern Siberia. There, they began to develop specialized cold-climate skills that would allow them to populate northeast Siberia and eventually North America.

30,000 years ago: There emerged M207, M173 and M343 the direct descendants of Cro-Magnon.

28,000 years ago:  Archaeological evidence indicates that the Rock of Gibraltar, Europe’s southernmost tip, is the last place Neanderthals lived in Europe before becoming extinct. Modern humans later occupied the same site Neanderthals had established, though the two groups never met at Gibraltar.

25,000 years ago:  Haplogroup R1b split off from the base R group some where around to Ural Mountains, and followed the melting glacers Westward back into Europe.

20,000 – 15,000 years ago:  Some scientists believe that the first Americans entered the North American continent through the area now known as Alaska, crossing from Siberia by way of a temporary “land bridge.” Advanced tools that were popular in Asia later appeared in North America.

14,000 years ago:  Monte Verde is the location of an archeological site in Chile, where 14,000-year-old bits of seaweed stuck to the blades of ancient stone tools suggest people were already living near the bottom of South America earlier than previously thought. Recently, the Monte Verde site was accepted as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

11,000 years ago:  With the ice age ending, the landmass binding Russia and Alaska vanished into the sea. The first Americans are now isolated from their past and families, altho having made the decision to make the crossing I suspect that they had already accepted that and made their goodbyes.

However, many now believe it is a strong probability that neither the migration from Siberia nor the Viking arrival in north America was the first human migration.   There is a hand full of scientist that believe that migration was made from Europe even before the Siberia migration.  They have found indication that extensive copper mining was carried out in northeastern U.S. and Amerindians are not known to have ever work copper.   I worked with a fellow from the upper peninsular that told me you could still find pure raw copper where he lived.   Read about the Clovis and fulsom points and about the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis with dates at  15,000 years ago.

About 25,000 yrs ago the Q lines from FTDNA migration maps go to North central Eurasia then split and turn back to Northwest Europe toward Scandinavia, while the rest of Q continued on into the Americas.  Over 90% of Amerindians are of this linage (Amerindian seems to be the new word describing the original tribes of the Americas).

For what significance it may be, when referring to the DNA “fitness score” the “Q” marker is running a close second to “R1b” in my DNA.  I am still stuck on our family tradition that 4GMother was an Amerindian, even though I have no paperwork to qualify that.  Then on the other hand the “Q” of my DNA could be a result of the “Q” turning Northwest about 24,000 Yrs ago.

Yet, if this is true then my speculating that we have a Scandinavian mixture in our line could once again hold true.

This text is extracted from the very good book "The Journey of Man a genetic odyssey" by Spencer Wells, Princeton University Press, First Edition.  Also from Family Tree Maker, and National Geographic's Genomproject.  The book does not go into detail of how to interpret or date individual Y-chromosome or mtDNA.   Although mtDNA leads us farther back in time it does not lend itself to population tracing as does the Y-chromosome.

The book details what anthropologist now believe to be the path of mankind from the last point of near extinction of homo sapiens some 80,000 years ago. This book does not go into detail of how to interpret or date individual Y-chromosome or mtDNA.

Posted 2008.06.22:  Lake Toba is the site of one of the greatest volcanic eruption so far documented in earths history.  Located in present day Sumatra this eruption which occurred about 80,000-72,000 years ago is thought to have brought mankind to the brink of extinction.  Recent theory believes about 30,000 people lived thru the Toba explosion and it's devastating aftermath.  However, only about 5,000 were female of breeding age.

Posted 11/11/2008:  There is a caldera in Yellowstone National Park that blows about every 600,000 years and it's overdue.  If it explodes it will be as devastating as was Toba.  Cockroaches and alligators saw the dinosaur go extinct so they will survive.  I expect the Inuit and many living in Siberia and Canada to survive also unless they forget how their grandfathers hunted.  So humans will probably be around even after most of us are killed off in the next big bang.  I expect city folks to go first, then suburban, then country folks.

Map of Lake Toba.

 Special feature: Lake Toba in "virtual photographs"  panoramic displays of Lake Toba.

Credits:  Prof. Dr. William Bowen,  California Geographical Survey,  10907 Rathburn Avenue,  Northridge, CA 91326, USA .panoramic displays of Lake Toba.

19th February 2005


   Fig. 2-2.  Graphic of Lake Toba.  The eruption of 73,000 years ago left the Sibandung caldera.  Lake Toba is surrounded by two small, active volcanos as well as several updomed areas and hot springs. These features indicate that there is activity below the surface today and that pressure is rising. Samosir island, too, is evidence for upthrust from below.  From the record it seems that Toba produces major eruptions every 300-400,000 years and that it will erupt again - but not any time soon.

Volcanic features in and around Lake Toba today:  gray area Present-day topographic depression
green area Updomed areas:  1 Sibandung caldera: made 73,000 years ago by the Toba YTT event (Young Toba Ash)  2 Haranggaol caldera: made 500,000 years ago by the Toba MTT event (Middle Toba Ash) 
3 Sibandung caldera: made 800,000 years ago by the Toba OTT event (Old Toba Ash)

The MTT and OTT events were not as large as the YTT event of 73,000 years ago but were still major eruptions of at least VEI 7. 

V1 Tandukbenua (Sipisopiso) - young dacit-andesite volcano.  V2 Pusubukit volcano - young dacit-andesite volcano.  D1 Pardepur dacite domes.  D2 Tuk-tuk rhyolite dome. 
HS Hot springs 

 Supervolcano Rained Acid on Both Poles—But Wasn't So Bad After All?

Published November 7, 2012    James Owen    for National Geographic News

It was the largest volcanic eruption of the last two million years—an estimated 5,000 times larger than Mount St. Helens's 1980 blast, with enough lava to create two Mount Everests.   Toba was Mount St. Helens times 5,000, but new evidence softens the fallout..

Roughly 74,000 years ago, Indonesia's Toba supervolcano pumped massive amounts of sun-shrouding ash and gases into the atmosphere, cooling the planet, possibly devastating early humanity, and—a new study reveals—raining sulfuric acid on both poles.   Scientists have long debated just how extensive and enduring those effects were. One study, for example suggested the Toba blast spawned a thousand-year ice age that only some 10,000 individuals survived.

Another has found evidence of humans thriving in relatively nearby India shortly after the eruption.   The new study—based on acid rain-tainted ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland—suggests Toba's fallout wasn't quite as catastrophic as might be expected.   The Antarctic ice core, for example, even bears traces of a warming event just after the Toba eruption—contrary to a strong cooling signal seen in the Greenland cores.   "That means there's no long-term global cooling caused by the eruption," study co-author Anders Svensson said.   If there had been, you'd expect to see evidence of a chill at both Poles.   In fact, the post-Toba Antarctic cooling spike looks well, relatively ordinary.  "There may have been shorter [global] cooling of a duration of maybe 10 or 20 years, like we see for more recent"—and much less powerful—"volcanoes," said Svensson, of the Niels Bohr Institute's Centre for Ice and Climate in Copenhagen.

Toba's Human Toll

Toba was "certainly not causing long-term cooling of a thousand years, or even a hundred," Svensson said. "It seems like humans lived on and everything is recovering."   Of course that would have depended in part on location.   It's speculated that prehistoric human populations—some perhaps relatively fresh out of Africa—were ravaged by the volcano's environmental fallout as far away from Indonesia as modern-day India.

That ancient toll may come in to sharper focus as a result of the new ice core data, coupled with ash readings from closer to the long-gone volcano. By correlating the various dating findings, the team says, they'll be able to better estimate when the eruption occurred, which should in turn allow archaeologists to better gauge whether artifacts date from pre- or post-Toba times.

Whenever Toba exploded, it's unlikely we'll see such a mega-eruption any time soon. "It's a very low risk," Svensson reassured.

The new Toba-volcano study was published online by the journal Climate of the Past on Monday [Nov 5th, 2012 ].

 New Evidence for Mankind's Earliest Migrations
Archeology From The Trenches Volume 64 Number 3, May/June 2011
by Zach Zorich

Map of eastern Africa migration:  Homo erectus first left Africa around 1.8 million years ago (green arrow).
Our species, Homo sapiens, made the journey about 120,000 years ago (orange arrow).
But stone tools from Jebel Faya may indicate a separate group of humans migrated from eastern Africa (red arrow)
around the same time.

(EPA/Bernd Weissbrod)

Homo erectus first left Africa around 1.8 million years ago (green arrow). Our species, Homo sapiens, made the journey about 120,000 years ago (orange arrow). But stone tools such as this one from Jebel Faya may indicate a separate group of humans migrated from eastern Africa (red arrow) around the same time.
(EPA/Bernd Weissbrod)

A multinational team of researchers at the site of Jebel Faya in the United Arab Emirates has gathered evidence that now suggests that groups of Homo sapiens may have migrated from Africa across the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula as early as 125,000 years ago. Until recently, researchers believed that our species may have made some attempts to travel out of Africa around 120,000 years ago, but had been pushed back by an inhospitable climate and competition with other hominin groups. The prevailing wisdom has been that Homo sapiens didn't make a permanent move into the rest of the world until about 70,000 years ago, presumably when they had achieved some cultural innovations that let them out-compete other hominin species including the now-extinct Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, and Neanderthals. The evidence from Jebel Faya might move that date earlier and add another layer of complexity to the story of modern human migration.

While the findings are somewhat circumstantial, they place this migration at roughly the same time that other groups of Homo sapiens are believed to have made their way across the Sinai peninsula at the northern end of the Red Sea to settle sites in modern-day Israel. Among the intriguing questions raised by this evidence is what kinds of conditions finally came into play 125,000 years ago to facilitate a migration?

Homo sapiens was not the first group of hominins to journey into the world beyond Africa. Groups of the now-extinct species Homo erectus are known to have lived in what are now Spain and the Republic of Georgia around 1.8 million years ago. Homo sapiens likely evolved some time around 200,000 years ago from the groups of Homo erectus who had remained in Africa. A standing question is whether the spread of Homo sapiens led directly—either because of competition, or because of interbreeding, or both—to the demise of the other hominin groups. Tracing the migratory patterns of Homo sapiens is thought to be one way of discovering, ultimately, what happened to the others.

Jebel Faya is a collapsed rock shelter that contains evidence of several distinct periods of occupation from roughly 125,000 years ago to 34,000 years ago. The site lies at the base of a mountain, near the mouth of a valley and a now-dry lake basin. A key piece of evidence about a possible early Homo sapiens occupation comes via the stone tools from the shelter's oldest layers, which are dated to between 125,000 and 90,000 years ago. According to Anthony Marks of Southern Methodist University, these tools, notably, were made using techniques similar to those being practiced in eastern Africa by Homo sapiens at that time. They are also markedly different from tools made by both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals living farther north in the Levant and in Iran's Zagros mountains. Marks believes that this shows that the earliest people to settle Jebel Faya came from eastern Africa, without passing through the Sinai farther north, and supports the idea of an early southern migration.

Although fewer than a dozen stone tools from the site's earliest occupants were found, they show that the people there were making tools using a bifacial flaking technique, meaning that flakes were struck from both the top and bottom faces of a stone to make a blade. "Earlier than 200,000 years ago, there is not a sign of any [tools being made using] bifacial reduction in the Levant or in the Zagros anywhere," says Marks. "On the other hand, in East Africa and Northeast Africa, bifacial reduction is a constant part of the people's technical repertoire." At Jebel Faya they also made a stone tool called a "foliate," which is shaped like a leaf and it, too, is similar to a type of tool made in Northeast Africa, but not in areas north of the site. One challenge in determining who occupied the site is that no bones of any hominin species from this time period have been found there. However, according to project director Hans-Peter Uerpmann of the University of Tübingen, and Marks, bones of Homo sapiens have been found with comparable stone tools in Northeast Africa. In addition, Jebel Faya is located far south of the areas where Neanderthals were living at this time. The conclusion is that anatomically modern humans were the earliest occupants of Jebel Faya. And due to the absence at the site, after 90,000 years ago, of the kinds of stone tools that they made, it is believed that they left.

According to the archaeological findings, later residents of the site appear to have migrated there from the north. A collection of stone tools believed to date between 90,000 and 40,000 years ago seem to have been derived directly from the tool-making traditions of people who lived in the Levant or the Zagros mountains.

When glaciers in Europe and Asia were at their largest, from about 200,000 to 135,000 years ago, the Arabian Peninsula was drier. The expanding deserts would have served as barriers to people attempting to migrate from Africa at that time. Earlier hominins, such as Homo erectus, had the advantage of leaving Africa millions of years earlier, probably while the Arabian Peninsula was relatively wet, making it easier to travel and find food. Homo sapiens may not have been able to expand into the rest of the world because they hadn't developed techniques to carry enough provisions to cross the deserts. They may only have been capable of leaving Africa when the wetter conditions created by retreating glaciers made it possible for them to do so. Uerpmann says, "Now we see that it was the environment that was the key to this [leaving Africa]." According to the climate data assembled by the team's paleoclimatologist, Adrian Parker of Oxford Brookes University, between 135,000 and 120,000 years ago, the water level in the Red Sea would have been low enough to make the crossing to the Arabian Peninsula possible and it would have had a mild enough climate to make it inviting to people looking for a new home.

The climate, however, is believed to have become, once again, much drier by some 90,000 years ago. The earliest people at Jebel Faya may then have gone back to Africa when the climate became inhospitable and it may be that this early attempt by Homo sapiens to expand their range beyond Africa failed—even if temporarily. The sites of Skhul and Qafzeh in modern-day Israel contain evidence that Homo sapiens lived at those sites around 120,000 to 81,000 years ago, but then evidence of them also disappears. And while stone tools recovered from the site of Jwalapuram in India indicate that Homo sapiens may have made it there by about 78,000 years ago, there are no human bones to confirm conclusively that the species lived at the site. It is still possible, then, that the migration that led Homo sapiens to finally spread across the globe took place later.

One additional problematic issue is that the archaeological data doesn't currently match well with the information provided by genetics research. DNA points to the idea that Homo sapiens was present in Southern Asia by 70,000 to 50,000 years ago, but this may just mean that a migration that took place around that time had a much larger impact on the modern gene pool, essentially wiping out any genetic evidence of earlier migrations.

While the Jebel Faya team's findings may not provide a conclusive answer about when that southern migration took place, and what it meant to the spread of modern humans across the globe and their impact on other hominin species, they are an essential step in building an understanding of how we came to dominate the planet. "I think we can never be sure of anything that is only based on one single site," says Uerpmann. "I think that our findings just open our views and tell us where to look for further evidence."
by the Archaeological Institute of America

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