An interactive illustration of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) human family tree, showing the two major mtDNA lineages (African populations and African/non-African populations).
In 1987, a Californian research team used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to construct a human family tree. Their tree had two distinct branches: one contained only African mtDNA types; and the second was a mixture of all population types. The branch with African mtDNA types was closest to the tree root. Using this data, the team traced the lineage of modern humans back to a common ancestor who lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago.
(DNAi location: Applications > Human Origins > Gene genealogy > Tracing ancestries > Tracing our maternal lineage)