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Genetic Adam and Eve walked earth together, new research shows


Patrons view an early 17th century Ottoman painting of Adam and Eve at the Smithsonian Sackler Gallery of Art on October 27, 2009 in Washington.



Humanity’s most common male relative – our only known genetic Adam, if you will – is much older than first believed, new findings published this week prove.

Research appearing in Thursday’s edition of the journal Science dates humanity’s oldest male ancestor to 120,000 to 156,000 years ago.

That refutes earlier findings that suggest Adam roamed the planet 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. More interestingly for researchers, it means that Adam was alive when our “Eve” – the most common female ancestor – roamed the earth.

The findings are helping scientists form a greater understanding of where we came from. They came to their conclusions by studying 69 men from nine populations.

Stanford University genetics professor Carlos Bustamante told Bloomberg it’s the “very best map” of our origins.

It gives us a greater understanding of the male, or Y, chromosome.

“When we put it together, we realized we had the very best map at the time of human genetic variation,” he said. “And when we started looking at this classic question, we were getting an answer that was different than before.”

All men on the planet can follow their family trees to a single male who lived about 135,000 years ago, LiveScience reported.

And it’s important because we know that ancient humans migrated from Africa as long as 200,000 years ago, but we've become more difficult to trace since then.

Of course, this research doesn’t pin down all of humanity to a single man or woman – these are not the Bible’s Adam and Eve; however, we can follow them to modern humans.

Melissa Wilson Sayres, a geneticist at University of California at Berkley, called it “very exciting” research.

Although she wasn’t involved, she said it will allow greater understanding as research expands based on the most recent findings.

“As we get more populations across the world, we can start to understand exactly where we came from physically,” she told LiveScience.

More from GlobalPost: Is male sex chromosome bound for extinction?