Global Human Journey

Global Human Journey

An animated map shows humans migrating out of Africa to Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Grades

5 - 12+

Subjects

Anthropology, Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, World History

The video above is from the January 2013 iPad edition of National Geographic magazine. Find more interactive content, photos, and videos in the iPad version of National Geographic magazine.

Groups of modern humans—Homo sapiens—began their migration out of Africa some 60,000 years ago. Some of our early ancestors kept exploring until they spread to all corners of Earth. How far and fast they went depended on climate, the pressures of population, and the invention of boats and other technologies. Less tangible qualities also sped their footsteps: imagination, adaptability, and an innate curiosity about what lay over the next hill.

Today, geneticists are doing their own exploring. Their studies have led them to a gene variation that might point to our propensity for risk-taking, movement, change, and adventure. This gene variant, known as DRD4-7R, is carried by approximately 20 percent of the human population. Several studies tie 7R (and other variants of the DRD4 gene) to migration. (Genetics is complex, however. Different groups of genes interact and yield diverse results in different individuals. DRD4-7R probably influences, not causes, our tendency toward “restlessness.”)

Teaching Strategies

Review “The Global Human Journey” video, then discuss geography and genetics as posed by queries in the “Questions” tab.

Media Credits

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Writers
Caryl-Sue Micalizio, National Geographic Society
Sean P. O'Connor, BioBlitz Education Consultant
Editor
Caryl-Sue Micalizio, National Geographic Society
Page Producer
Sean P. O'Connor, BioBlitz Education Consultant
In Partnership With
National Geographic Magazine
other
Last Updated

September 27, 2022

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