Children’s graves reveal genetic diversity of ancient West Africa
Remains from an ancient gravesite in Cameroon have opened a window into the world of the people who lived in western central Africa before farming and herding became widespread.
Africa is the ancient homeland of our species, and the genetic diversity across the continent is unmatched anywhere else on the planet, yet only a handful of sites bearing human fossils have successfully yielded ancient DNA, which is essential for grasping the genetic make-up of prehistoric Africans. DNA rapidly degrades in tropical conditions and burials were rare prior to the Iron Age, which started around 1500 BCE in Africa. .
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