Fossils and other archaeological evidence provide many clues about where humans came from, but the picture is far from complete. Genomics helps us find the missing pieces of our distant past by looking at genomic differences between people living today. These small genomic changes that were passed down connect us to our ancestors – preserving the story of their journey in our DNA.
The genomes of modern African populations are far more diverse than those of Asians and Europeans.
Our DNA also reveals that our species mixed with ancient human species that are now extinct – Neanderthals in Europe, and a mysterious Asian group called Denisovans. Small amounts of Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA sequences are found in the genomes of some 21st century people.
Small differences … are reminders of how our ancestors were shaped by different environments on their journeys
As you explore the exhibit, you may start to wonder about human origins and your own family’s genomic journey.