Here is some exciting news that has kept us all very busy this semester! Our new project at Mount Hora in the Mzimba District of northern Malawi is the site that yielded the oldest known ancient DNA from anywhere in Africa. Although it is a wonderful site and an exciting result, I am even more excited by what this means for the future of ancient DNA analysis in Africa. Analysis of the DNA of ancient Africans has traditionally suffered from poor preservation, and so those of us working in Africa have not had access to the richness of information researchers in Europe have now begun to enjoy on an almost daily basis. So I do hope these remains, dated to ~8100 years ago, do not remain the oldest known DNA from Africa for long! But for now, please see this wonderful write-up and video by Carol Clark of Emory University, and some accompanying publicity from the New York Times, Discover, and Smithsonian Magazine.
The Dikika team received some recent press for our new article in the Journal of Human Evolution. Thanks to the entire team!