The most recent common ancestor of men, called Adam, lived almost 120,000 years ago, and chances are that he did not meet or interact with Eve, who lived around 99,000 to 148,000 years ago, a new research indicates.
The research was conducted by a group of scientists from Stanford University, the University of Michigan Medical School and Stony Brook University, who found that Adam and Eve lived in Africa around the same time, but probably did not meet or know each other. According to the study, Adam and Eve are not the biblical characters believed to be the first people who walked the earth. Instead, they are two people whose unbroken female or male lineages continue even today.
"Those two people didn't know each other," Melissa Wilson Sayres, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study, told LiveScience.
The findings of the research were published in the journal Science, on Thursday, and show that the scientists compared variations of the male sex chromosome, or the Y-chromosome, among 69 male participants from countries such as Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Algeria, Pakistan, Cambodia, Siberia and Mexico to find their lineage.
The results showed that all males shared a single male ancestor who is believed to have lived in Africa between 120,000 and 156,000 years ago.
“Previous research has indicated the male most recent common ancestor (MRCA) lived much more recently than the female MRCA. But now our research shows there is no discrepancy. In fact, if anything, the Y chromosome may be a bit older," Carlos Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford University, and a co-author of the study, told Science Daily.
The Science Daily report pointed out that these findings would help anthropologists understand the migration of our ancestors from Africa to Asia, Europe and the Americas, and also to study the genetic diversity seen across Africa.