Yes so far, all direct maternal (mitochondrial DNA) lineages of women alive today trace back to a common ancestor who lived in Africa 100,000 to 180,000 years ago. Further back, the mitochondrial lines of Homo sapiens sapiens connect with other hominin groups, such as Neanderthals (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis). These early groups left Africa long ago. We have not found their mtDNA in modern populations, but we know their mtDNA lineages from gravesite remains.

About 60,000 years ago, some groups of Homo sapiens sapiens migrated out of Africa, while others remained. Our direct maternal lineages trace these migrations.

The path that our ancestors took tells a story about human history. Testing one’s own and relatives’ DNA can help you understand both the diversity and commonalities of your part of the human story.

Migration Map



This map shows each of the major (backbone) maternal haplogroups’ paths out of Africa.

(Click link to see image)