Sandra Oliveira (CIBIO-InBIO/UP) | October 2, 2015 - 15h00 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão


The Southwest region of Angola has been under arid or semi-arid conditions for millions of years. Despite the scarce surface water, several species thrived there. Humans as well have adapted to this harsh environment and, over the ages, the Namib Desert has been home to several communities: Khoisan speaking peoples which are known for their characteristic use of click sounds; pre-Bantu pastoral groups whose origin is still unclear; and Bantu-speaking communities that successfully expanded from their homeland in Cameroon towards East and Southern Africa, carrying their own archeological culture, domesticated plants, animals and a sedentary way of life. The contact between these groups resulted in a highly diversified region in terms of culture, languages, subsistence patterns and genes. These characteristics made the Namib an ideal place for studying human migrations, population structure and admixture. In this seminar, I will present a study of the mitochondrial DNA variation in populations from the Angolan Namib and show how the evidence from this genetic marker uncovers features of their structure and social organization. Furthermore, I will show how these populations relate to other groups from Southern Africa.


Sandra Oliveira is a third year PhD student under the Doctoral Program “Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution” at the University of Porto and a member of the Human Evolutionary Genetics (HUMANEVOL) group in CIBIO-InBIO. She is supervised by Jorge Rocha (CIBIO-InBIO) and Mark Stoneking (Max Planck institute for Evolutionary Anthropology) with a thesis project entitled “Inferring the demographic history of southern Angola: a key region for understanding human settlement in southern Africa”.


[Group Leader: Jorge Rocha, Human Evolutionary Genetics]


Image credits: Sandra Oliveira