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could have been as few as 160. Another estimate, made by geneticists working with mitochondrial DNA, is that the source population in Africa from whom all humans outside Africa are descended numbered at most 550 women of childbearing age, and probably considerably fewer.94

Despite the appearance of precision, these numbers have wide ranges of error and are very approximate. The basic inference that can be drawn from them is that the ancestral group in Africa from which the first emigrants derived was very small, probably just a single band of hunter-gatherers. Such a band would number about 150 people if modern hunter-gatherer groups are typical of ancient ones. The group that left Africa would presumably have been this one band or a part of it.

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