All modern humans descended from a solitary pair who lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, scientists say.

Scientists surveyed the genetic ‘bar codes’ of five million animals – including humans – from 100,000 different species and deduced that we sprang from a single pair of adults after a catastrophic event almost wiped out the human race.

These bar codes, or snippets of DNA that reside outside the nuclei of living cells, suggest that it’s not just people who came from a single pair of beings, but nine out of every 10 animal species, too.

Stoeckle and Thaler, the scientists who headed the study, concluded that ninety percent of all animal species alive today come from parents that all began giving birth at roughly the same time, less than 250 thousand years ago – throwing into doubt the patterns of human evolution.