This mystery can be solved by a new genome analysis of modern people in Ethiopia and Egypt.
The findings of the genome analysis suggest that Egypt was the major gateway out of Africa, and migrants took a northern route out of their homeland.
The findings also reveal that the migratory path of Europeans and Asians or Eurasians was traveled some 60,000 years ago.
For the analysis, researchers have studied the genetic information of six modern Northeast African populations consisting of 100 Egyptians and five Ethiopian populations represented by 25 individuals each.
Luca Pagani, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge said, “Two geographically plausible routes have been proposed: an exit through the current Egypt and Sinai, which is the northern route, or one through Ethiopia, the Bab el Mandeb strait, and the Arabian Peninsula, which is the southern route. In our research, we generated the first comprehensive set of unbiased genomic data from Northeast Africans and observed, after controlling for recent migrations, a higher genetic similarity between Egyptians and Eurasians than between Ethiopians and Eurasians.”
The study also suggested that Egypt was the final stop on the journey out of Africa.
The findings also created a public catalog of Ethiopian and Egyptian genomic diversity.
Toomas Kivisild of Cambridge’s Department of Anthropology and Archaeology said, “While our results do not address controversies about the timing and possible complexities of the expansion out of Africa, they paint a clear picture in which the main migration out of Africa followed a northern, rather than a southern route.”
Pagani said, “This information will be of great value as a freely available reference panel for future medical and anthropological studies in these areas.”
The findings of the study are published in the American Journal of Human Genetics or AJHG.