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writes Ornella Semino of the University of Pavia in Italy. The mitochondrial DNA from women of the Oromo and Amhara peoples also indicates that Ethiopia, or at least east Africa, is the place from which the first modern humans left Africa.

Three major events in modern human evolution—the perfection of language, the formation of the ancestral human population and the exit from Africa—seem to have happened quite close to each other in time, around 50,000 years ago. The closer in time, the more likely that they happened in the same place and if so, Ethiopia seems at present the best candidate for being the birthplace of modern humans, the real world's counterpart of Eden's mythical garden.

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