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Although the focus of this essay is to discuss how DNA technology helped our understanding of human colonisation and the spread of agriculture in Europe over the past 10 000 years it will first look at the recent African origin theory as it is relevant to show how modern humans arrived in Europe in the first place As later discussed it will also have a bearing on the development of agriculture The two main hypotheses agree that Homo erectus evolved in Africa and spread to the rest of the world around 1 - 2 million years ago it is regarding our more recent history where they disagree The multiregional theory takes the view modern humans evolved from earlier hominidssuch as Neanderthal and Homo erectus in different parts of the world It is supported by physical evidence such as the continuation of morphological characteristics between archaic and modern humans However with the aid of new technology such as DNA analysis suggesting an alternative view this has become a minority theory The recent African origin theory or Eve theory supposes that modern humans evolved in Africa before colonizing the world and subsequently colonised the rest of the world without genetic mixing with archaic forms thus replacing all previous populations of Homo Species This theory is supported by the majority of genetic evidence as it predicts that all humans living today can trace their ancestry to a single population living in Africa sometime during the Late Pleistocene This is supported from evidence from DNA of the mitochondria which shows that African populations have a higher level of genetic variation than non-Africans which is consistent with an earlier origin of African populations than in other regions of the world This explanation assumes that the ancient ancestors to living humans was small at its origin and later expanded in number and in geographic range Genetic research has become important in helping our understanding of human colonisation because
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