This one was shared with my by co-author and colleague Scott D deHart, and it is, as George Ann Hughes likes to say, a “whopper-doozie”. When I saw the source – Faux news – my initial reaction was to roll my eyes, and wonder if anything really newsworthy would ever be reported on that network.
Well, spike that coffee with some Jack Daniels, light up the strongest menthol cigarette you can find, and brace yourself:
Genetic ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ uncovered
The article begins conventionally enough, reviewing the standard genetic-historical model:
“Researchers believe that modern humans left Africa between 60,000 and 200,000 years ago, and that the mother of all women likely emerged from East Africa. But beyond that, the details get fuzzy.”Ok, so far so good. And there’s the usual stuff about Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, both living more or less at the same time and more or less coming out of East Africa somewhere:
“Bustamante and his colleagues assembled a much bigger piece of the puzzle by sequencing the entire genome of the Y chromosome for 69 men from seven global populations, from African San Bushmen to the Yakut of Siberia.But then comes the curve ball, and it is, once again, a whopper-doozie, for it seems
“By assuming a mutation rate anchored to archaeological events (such as the migration of people across the Bering Strait), the team concluded that all males in their global sample shared a single male ancestor in Africa roughly 125,000 to 156,000 years ago.
“In addition, mitochondrial DNA from the men, as well as similar samples from 24 women, revealed that all women on the planet trace back to a mitochondrial Eve, who lived in Africa between 99,000 and 148,000 years ago almost the same time period during which the Y-chromosome Adam lived.”
So ladies, you can rejoice: your deepest intuitions – men are not human – may be true.
Seriously, and all joking aside, I will now walk out to the very end of the twig once again, and entertain those speculations that we’re all probably thinking right about now. Those ancient texts that I referred to in Genes, Giants, Monsters, and Men, specifically the Kharsag tablets, suggest that the “gods”, who engineered modern man into existence, were “genetic cousins,” by which I’ve always meant a humanoid species of the genus homo, capable of interbreeding with “us.” You’ll recall that, in the story, modern man emerges as a kind of chimerical offspring between whatever female humanoid may have existed on this planet at the time, and the “gods” who contributed the male component, the Y chromosomal Adam that now appears to be older than our mitochondrial Eve component. A curious, if not altogether convincing, but nonetheless highly suggestive indicator that those ancient stories may be in the process of being confirmed by modern science.
And that, too, should give one pause, for I’ve also stated publicly on a variety of occasions – among them on Ms. Hughes’ The Byte Show – that I strongly suspect one hidden goal of the human genome project was precisely to find evidence within the human genome of this “descent from the gods.”
There are, of course, some nasty implications to this, because some will inevitably take this process farther, into an investigation of other ancient stories, and that’s going to be when it gets messy. For now, however, it looks like yet another datapoint may have been added suggesting that those ancient stories should be taken a little more seriously. Sons of the gods, and daughters of men…