Not only did farming and pastoral communities differ from hunter-gatherers, but within the broad range of agricultural populations of West and West-Central Africa — from which many African Americans derive their ancestry — the authors also found some genetic diversity. For example, the Dogon of Mali, although geographically near the Mandinka of Senegal, cluster with North African Berber populations. Thus, this study supports the notion that not only is Africa varied in culture — art, music, religion and language — but also harbors a rich genetic diversity across its multitude of ethnic groups.
The authors also found a loose connection between the genetics of a population and its language. However, there were a few exceptions, most often the result of a population adopting a new language within the last few thousand years.The sheer size and diversity of the DNA samples collected allowed the researchers to construct a human family tree based on their analyses. Not unexpectedly, the tree they constructed fits well with current theories on the genetic relationship between Africans and non-Africans; namely that all non-Africans are descended from a particular group or groups of people who were the first humans to migrate out of Africa tens of thousands of years ago.This study is important for a multitude of reasons. It has been able to confirm theories from the archaeological, cultural, and linguistic records on the origins and movements of Africans and non-Africans.“It fits nicely with earlier genetic studies, while subverting the early 20th century colonialist idea of sub-Saharan Africa as constituting a homogeneous genetic an cultural unit,” King said.It also creates a new resource that historians, linguists, archaeologists and scientists from a range of other disciplines can use in their own work. If we are lucky, this study will bring forth a flurry of activity surrounding the origins and history of the African continent, and the people who live there.