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Africa’s Khoe-San were first to split from other humans

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Southern Africa’s bushmen, and their relatives the Khoe, veered off on their own path of genetic development 100,000 years ago, according to a new study this week.

The split, gleaned from an analysis of genetic data, is the earliest divergence scientists have discovered in the evolution of modern humans.

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The Khoe and the San peoples — who speak click languages, and live across a wide swath of southern Africa from Namibia to Mozambique to South Africa — have long fascinated scientists.

The San, in particular, were one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer societies, living well into the 20th century in a style anthropologists think was similar to humans’ most ancient ancestors.

The study published in the journal Science on Thursday analyzes the genes of 220 members of the Khoe and San groups. Researchers looked at 2.3 million genetic variations for each participant, an unprecedented number, learning important information about the Khoe-San and, more generally, the origins of modern humans.

The analysis made it clear that there is not a “coherent picture” of where the cradle of modern man was located.

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Archeological data would point to East Africa, while other studies suggest it was in southern Africa.

But according to their analysis, “different parts of Africa show up as potentially being the origin of anatomically modern humans,” said Mattias Jakobsson, of Sweden’s Uppsala University.

Based on the genetic variations they saw in their subjects, “different groups of humans contributed genes to this pool that then later on became anatomically modern humans,” he said in a telephone press conference.

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The study also gave new evidence for how and when the practice of raising livestock, known as pastoralism, started spreading to southern Africa.

The Nama, a Khoe group in Namibia who lived as herders, was genetically very similar to their cousins among the southern San, who traditionally lived as hunter-gatherers.

However, “a small but very distinct” component of Nama genes are similar to a group of East Africans, also traditionally herders, who likely were the incomers that introduced the Khoe to pastoralism, explained co-author Carina Schlebusch in a statement.

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The study also showed evidence of local adaptation among the different Khoe and San groups.

Researchers discovered indications that natural selection among the ancient populations led to gene variations involved in muscular function, immune response and skin protection against ultraviolet rays.

“Although all humans today carry similar variants in these genes, the early divergence between Khoe-San and other human groups allowed us to zoom-in on genes that have been fast-evolving in the ancestors of all of us living on the planet today,” said Pontus Skoglund, another co-author.

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[image via Agence France-Presse]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘Same lies, but she gets to sit’: Sarah Sanders roasted for taking Fox News job weeks after resigning as top Trump flack

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Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, whose dishonesty was so infamous that it even earned a mention in special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, is taking a job at Fox News.

According to journalist Yashar Ali, Sanders has been hired as a contributor and "she'll be making her debut September 6th on Fox & Friends."

NEWS: @SarahHuckabee is joining the Fox News Channel as a contributor.

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‘Hypocritical’ Republicans busted for disappearing now that Trump has exploded the deficit

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In a "Reality Check" segment on CNN on Thursday morning, contributor John Avlon called out GOP fiscal hawks who have suddenly disappeared from the public square now that a Republican president has exploded the national debt.

Introduced by host John Berman, who asked, "This morning new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirm it: The national debt and deficit are much worse than thought. So where is the party of fiscal responsibility in times like these?" Avlon broke it down.

"While President Trump was busy proclaiming himself 'the chosen one,' you might have missed more bad news in the form of data," Avlon smirked. "Brand new CBO numbers shows the budget deficit is skyrocketing, projected to rise 25 percent over last year and heading to over $1 trillion next year. Tax revenues are $430 billion below where they were expected to be before the Trump tax cuts while spending in is in drunken sailor territory adding $1.7 trillion in the next decade."

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Man claiming to be the messiah and ranting about mental illness arrested as potential mass shooter

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A Pennsylvania man ranting about being the second coming of Christ and mental health was arrested as a potential mass shooter just hours before President Donald Trump made similar claims from the White House.

Police said Edwin Leech walked into the Victory Family Church in Cranberry Township shortly after 6 a.m. during a special "21 Days of Prayer" service and sat down among the worshipers, who were alarmed by some of his questions, reported KDKA-TV.

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