The father of all men is twice as old as previously thought

Genetic testing had shown that all men gained their Y chromosome from a common male ancestor. This genetic “Adam” lived between 60,000 and 140,000 years ago, or so we thought. Recently, geneticists were surprised to learn that the “father of all men” is at least twice as old, and how they found this is an interesting story.

Albert Perry, a recently deceased African-American who lived in South Carolina, had his DNA submitted by a family member to Family Tree DNA for genealogical analysis. When Family Tree technicians tried to place Perry on the Y-chromosome family tree, they discovered that his Y chromosome was unlike any other so far analyzed. Further testing revealed that Perry’s male lineage was 338,000 years old.

The first anatomically modern human fossils date back only 195,000 years. Researchers speculate that modern humans must have interbred with ancient humans sometime before then.