Our First Genome

DNA has been found on the recovered remains of a 4500-year-old human skeleton in Ethiopia. This is the first time DNA has been able to be extracted. They wonder if they will be able to go back further at some time in even older humans, possibly a million years back in time. Read more here.

"A team of scientists reported on Thursday that it had recovered the genome from a 4,500-year-old human skeleton in Ethiopia — the first time a complete assemblage of DNA has been retrieved from an ancient human in Africa.

The DNA of the Ethiopian fossil is strikingly different from that of living Africans. Writing in the journal Science, the researchers conclude that people from the Near East spread into Africa 3,000 years ago. In later generations, their DNA ended up scattered across the continent."

Early Human Footprints

Scientists have found the earliest evidence of human footprints outside of Africa. The prints were found on the Norfolk Coast in the eastern part of England. The footprints are considered more than 800,000 years old and were found on the shores of Happisburgh. They believe that their may have been a land bridge in that area to the western shore of France.
A more detailed description can be found here.

Neanderthals and Humans

I read an interesting science article discussing where Neanderthals and Humans were close in sharing genetic material and more detail on where the divergence most likely happened. They believe that the level of shared genes is at about 2%, more found in non-African people and essentially very little relationship with African people to Neanderthals. Some of the alleles that control addiction to smoking, Type II Diabetes, and some other diseases appear to have some coverage between the groups. They believe any interbreeding between Humans and Neanderthals occurred near the end of our divergence. One can find more details in the article found here.