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On average, mitochondrial DNA evolves slower in birds than in mammals of similar body size.
The DNA, which dates back some 400,000 years, may belong to an unknown human ancestor, say scientists.These properties make birds the ideal model to directly test for population size effects, and to discriminate between competing hypotheses about the causes of substitution rate variation.third-codon position confirms that the mitochondrial DNA mutation rate is quite variable in birds, passerines being the fastest evolving order.erectus populations evolved into modern humans in many regions, and that these groups later bred with each other and with groups that emigrated from Africa.The Eve study examined mitochondrial DNA (mt DNA), which is passed only by mothers to their offspring.
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The oldest known human DNA found yet reveals human evolution was even more confusing than before thought, researchers say.