Every man on Earth today can trace his Y chromosome to one male who lived about 190,000 years ago, before anatomically modern humans had evolved, a study suggests.
There were many males around at the time, but only this one left a Y chromosome legacy that persists today, said researcher Michael Hammer.
The Y chromosome is one of the 24 kinds of microscopic threads that hold genes. Unlike the other chromosomes, it is passed only from father to son.
The new study also supports the idea that modern humans arose in one place, rather than evolving on more than one continent.
The results suggest that all men alive today could trace their Y chromosomes back for about 188,000 years to the same person. “We would all have a Y chromosome that existed in the same guy,” Hammer said.