Some time ago when I was giving a talk about my book, The Big Bang to Now, someone asked me where the Garden of Eden was. At the time, all I could say was that we knew it was somewhere in Africa, and most certainly not in England, Germany, America, or Iran, all of which have laid claim, at some point, to being the birthplace of humanity.
But I said that a DNA study was currently underway that might make it clearer just where in Africa Homo sapiens had first emerged.
One such study has just been completed, and it suggests that the original Eden was in Namibia. Its first inhabitants were quite probably Bushmen known today as the San people. Their language of clicks may tell us something about the sounds of earliest human language.
The study also offers further evidence that race is a concept with little scientific foundation. Africa is the most genetically diverse of all the continents in the world and modern Africans have evolved from at least 14 different ancestral populations.
All the people who settled in other parts of the world, on the other hand, are descendants from a small band of perhaps as few as 150 people who left Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.