Spencer Wells

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Spencer Wells Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society; Project Director, The Genographic Project.

"Launched in the spring of 2005, the Genographic Project is a landmark five-year study of the human journey, based on DNA contributed by hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. Geneticist, anthropologist, and Genographic Project Director Spencer Wells shares his latest discoveries.

"Wells, who studied under Richard Lewontin and later with Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Sir Walter Bodmer, helped establish the critical role that Central Asia played in the peopling of the world. His book, The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey (2002), which also became a PBS/National Geographic documentary, explains how genetic data has been used to trace human migrations over the past 50,000 years, when modern humans first migrated outside of Africa. By analyzing DNA from people in all regions of the world, Wells has concluded that all humans alive today are descended from a single man who lived in Africa around 60,000 - 90,000 years ago, a man also known as Y-chromosomal Adam." [1]

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  1. Changing Places, Changing Faces, Penn Humanities Forum, accessed September 22, 2008.