Ancient DNA reveals a multistep spread of the first herders into sub-Saharan Africa

Mary E. Prendergast, Mark Lipson, Elizabeth A. Sawchuk, Iñigo Olalde, Christine A. Ogola, Nadin Rohland, Kendra A. Sirak, Nicole Adamski, Rebecca Bernardos, Nasreen Broomandkhoshbacht, Kimberly Callan, Brendan J. Culleton, Laurie Eccles, Thomas K. Harper, Ann Marie Lawson, Matthew Mah, Jonas Oppenheimer, Kristin Stewardson, Fatma Zalzala, Stanley H. AmbroseGeorge Ayodo, Henry Louis Gates, Agness O. Gidna, Maggie Katongo, Amandus Kwekason, Audax Z. P. Mabulla, George S. Mudenda, Emmanuel K. Ndiema, Charles Nelson, Peter Robertshaw, Douglas J. Kennett, Fredrick K. Manthi, David Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How food production first entered eastern Africa ~5000 years ago and the extent to which people moved with livestock is unclear. We present genome-wide data from 41 individuals associated with Later Stone Age, Pastoral Neolithic (PN), and Iron Age contexts in what are now Kenya and Tanzania to examine the genetic impacts of the spreads of herding and farming. Our results support a multiphase model in which admixture between northeastern African–related peoples and eastern African foragers formed multiple pastoralist groups, including a genetically homogeneous PN cluster. Additional admixture with northeastern and western African–related groups occurred by the Iron Age. These findings support several movements of food producers while rejecting models of minimal admixture with foragers and of genetic differentiation between makers of distinct PN artifacts.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaaw6275
Issue number6448
StatePublished - Jul 5 2019

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