"Using genetic ancestry decomposition techniques, the international team of researchers revealed that mixed populations from the Angolan Namibe desert have in their genome traces of an ancestral lineage profoundly divergent from other known lineages in our species", reads the note sent to Lusa.
According to the statement, scientists from the Center for Research in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (BIOPOLIS-CIBIO) at the University of Porto, the University of Bern, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, who went to the Namib Desert, managed to "locate groups which were thought to have disappeared more than 50 years ago," said Jorge Rocha, who led the group together with Angolan anthropologists Samuel and Teresa Aço, from the Center for Desert Studies.
The study published this Friday in the journal Science Advances shows that the inhabitants of Namibe are quite divergent from other modern populations, but they are also very different from each other.
The study also demonstrated that, "in addition to the high impact of genetic drift, which contributed to the divergence between neighboring groups of different socioeconomic status, the descendants of Kwadi speakers, as well as other marginalized communities in the Namib desert, preserve a unique ancestry , which is only found in the populations of that desert".
"Previous studies have revealed that the hunter-gatherers of the Kalahari Desert descend from an ancestral population that separated from all other human beings. Our results show that the Namib lineage descends from that population, but separated from the remaining lineages in Africa Austral before they separate from each other", concluded Mark Stoneking, from the Max Planck Institute, quoted in the statement.