Our very first male direct descendant was born about 50,000 years ago in the Rift Valley region of Northeast Africa at a time when the Homo-Sapiens species, numbering about 10,000 individuals, were on the move north out of Africa due to the retreat of the ice sheets. As luck would have it, our lineage was the only one to survive, making him the first direct descendant of every non-African male living today. Over the next 20,000 years, our ancestors expanded their range into the Middle East and then Central Asia and finally Europe. Our relatives survived the European Ice Age of 20,000 years ago by occupying the warmer climes of what is now Spain, Italy and the Balkans. When the ice-sheets retreated about 15,000 years ago, the more northerly areas of Europe were repopulated. From that distant time of nameless relatives, we now begin our history of our known direct descendants, beginning in the 18th century with William Curtis. By permission of the National Geographic Society Genographic Project. To learn more, see below.
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