The ancestral home of anatomically modern humans can be traced back 200,000 years to northern Botswana, according to a new study that challenges the idea that they emerged in East Africa’s Great Rift Valley.

Today the region is dominated by dry salt pans and desert, but it was once home to the enormous Lake Makgadikgadi, which broke up to form a lush wetland that supported a wide variety of life.

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