Analysis of early human-like populations in southern Africa suggests females left their childhood homes, while males stayed at home.
An international team examined tooth samples for metallic traces which can be linked to the geological areas in which individuals grew up.
The conclusion was that while most the males lived and died around the same river valley, the females moved on.
Similar patterns have been observed in chimpanzees, bonobos and modern humans.
Details of the study are published in a letter in Nature.
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