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Human Populations: Evolution

  1. Rebecca L Cann

Published Online: 15 JUL 2006

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0005075



How to Cite

Cann, R. L. 2006. Human Populations: Evolution. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Hawaii–Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2006


Human populations began a separate evolutionary genetic trajectory about 6 million years ago, but the common ancestors of all modern human populations share a more recent past, and generally trace back to less than 1 million years ago. Estimating the exact age of these genetic ancestors, who likely came out of Africa and dispersed around the world, depends on the particular set of genes examined.


  • mitochondrial DNA;
  • Y-DNA;
  • paleoanthropology;
  • dispersal;
  • isolation;
  • speciation;
  • gene flow