Scientists have discovered the Garden of Eden in Botswana. The Garden of Eden is believed to be where humans originated. The location was discovered through DNA analysis of our human ancestors.
The Garden, which sits in Kalahari Desert, used to be a wetland where the early humans lived. The also used to exist a lake called Lake Makgadikgadi which stretched from Namibia to Botswana and Zimbabwe. As the lake started to break up, the wetlands formed. The early humans lived here until around 70,000 years ago when the climate changed and they were forced to leave and populate the rest of the continent. Prior to this discovery, scientists thought that the early humans had evolved all over Africa.
To conduct the study, the scientists collected mitochondrial DNA from study participants in Namibia and South Africa and focused on the L0 lineage - modern human's earliest known population. As opposed to nuclear DNA which is inherited from both parents, mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother alone. It also does not undergo recombination. Because of these two reasons, mitochondrial DNA remains the same through generations and is thus a useful tool in studies determining maternal ancestry.
Explaining the study, Professor Vanessa Hayes of Sydney University said, “It has been clear for some time anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. What has been long debated is the exact location of this emergence and subsequent dispersal of our earliest ancestors. This [study] enabled us to pinpoint the ancestral homeland of all humans. It is the first time the exact location has been identified.”
She added, "The first migrants ventured northeast, followed by a second wave of migrants who travelled south-west. A third population remained in the homeland until today.”
Previous findings of fossils had hinted at East Africa being the Garden of Eden.