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Ancestral Homeland of All 7.7 Billion People on Earth Pinpointed in Botswana

A lake that at the time was Africa's largest - twice the area of today's Lake Victoria - gave rise to the ancient wetlands covering

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Ancestral, Homeland, Earth
The sun sets over the Okavango Delta, Botswana, April 25, 2018. VOA

A large ancient wetlands region spanning northern Botswana – once teeming with life but now dominated by desert and salt flats – may represent the ancestral homeland of all of the 7.7 billion people on Earth today, researchers said on Monday.

Their study, guided by maternal DNA data from more than 1,200 people indigenous to southern Africa, proposed a central role for this region in the early history of humankind starting 200,000 years ago, nurturing our species for 70,000 years before climate changes paved the way for the first migrations.

A lake that at the time was Africa’s largest – twice the area of today’s Lake Victoria – gave rise to the ancient wetlands covering the Greater Zambezi River Basin that includes northern Botswana into Namibia to the west and Zimbabwe to the east, the researchers said.

It has been long established that Homo sapiens originated somewhere in Africa before later spreading worldwide.

Ancestral, Homeland, Earth
Their study, guided by maternal DNA data from more than 1,200 people indigenous to southern Africa, proposed a central role for this region in the early history. Pixabay

“But what we hadn’t known until this study was where exactly this homeland was,” said geneticist Vanessa Hayes of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and University of Sydney, who led
the study published in the journal Nature.

The oldest-known Homo sapiens fossil evidence dates back more than 300,000 years from Morocco. The new study suggests that early members of our species as represented by the Morocco remains may not have left any ancestors living today, the researchers said.

“There is no contradiction between the presence of an early Homo sapiens-like skull in northern Africa, which may be from an extinct lineage, and the proposed southern African origin of the Homo sapiens lineages that are still alive,” added study co-author Axel Timmermann, a climate physicist at Pusan National University in South Korea.

The ancient lake Makgadikgadi began to break up about 200,000 years ago, giving rise to a sprawling wetland region inhabited by human hunter-gatherers, the researchers said.

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“It can be viewed as a massive extension of today’s Okavango Delta wetland area,” Timmermann said.

Changes in Earth’s axis and orbit caused climate, rainfall and vegetation shifts that set the stage for early migrations of this ancestral group of people away from the homeland region, first toward the northeast 130,000 years ago, then toward the southwest 110,000 years ago, Timmermann added.

“Our study provides the first quantitative and well-dated evidence that astronomically driven climate changes in the past caused major human migration events, which then led to the development of genetic diversity and eventually cultural, ethnic and linguistic identity,” Timmermann added. (VOA)

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China Launches Gaofen-7, New Earth Observation Satellite

Along with Gaofen-7, three other commercial and scientific experiment satellites, including one developed for Sudan, were also launched into space

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China, Gaofen 7, Earth
The satellite and carrier rocket were developed by the China Academy of Space Technology and the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Pixabay

China on Sunday launched Gaofen-7, a new Earth observation satellite, which will play a major role in land surveying and mapping, urban and rural construction and statistical investigation, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The Gaofen-7 was China’s first civil-use optical transmission three-dimensional surveying and mapping satellite that reaches the sub-metre level, Xinhua reported.

The satellite and carrier rocket were developed by the China Academy of Space Technology and the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

Along with Gaofen-7, three other commercial and scientific experiment satellites, including one developed for Sudan, were also launched into space.

China, Gaofen 7, Earth
The Gaofen-7 was China’s first civil-use optical transmission three-dimensional surveying and mapping satellite that reaches the sub-metre level, Xinhua reported. Pixabay

The development of the Gaofen-7 has achieved a breakthrough in sub-meter level 3D mapping camera technology, meeting the highest mapping accuracy requirement among the Gaofen series Earth observation satellites, according to CNSA.

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It can obtain high-resolution optical 3D observation data and high-precision laser altimetry data and can realise 1:10,000 scale satellite 3D mapping for civil use. (IANS)