Roots of human family tree are shallow - Yahoo! News

Sunday, July 02, 2006
Roots of human family tree are shallow - Yahoo! News: "When you walk through an exhibit of Ancient Egyptian art from the time of the pyramids, everything there was very likely created by one of your ancestors — every statue, every hieroglyph, every gold necklace. If there is a mummy lying in the center of the room, that person was almost certainly your ancestor, too."


Somehow, this seems to me the best news I've heard in a long time.

9 comments:

terrye said...

Not long ago I saw a documentary on the Science channel about Eve, the real Eve..according tp this show people can be traced back to a female, a single female.

Syl said...

There's a religious reason to hold humans above all other life on the planet. There is something qualitatively different about us. Yes. Quantitative: Not so much.

It seems we are related to most? every living thing on this planet. Through DNA, RNA, mitochondria.

Sometimes I think God did not create man, he created DNA...

CF said...

I lkoved it, too, Seneca.

truepeers said...

Fascinating, but I have some doubts...

I have no doubt about the ultimate unity of the human, that we all descend from a common origin. But I imagine that some groups have been much more isolated than others, and that the assumptions made about migration in this study cannot apply in all situations. How often did people get to Australia or South America from the old world? From what I vaguely recall of genetic studies, not often. Anyway, if we all have a common ancestor around the time of King Tut, 3500? years ago, this surely doesn't mean that almost everything in the museum's Egyptian room was created by one of my ancestors. A lot of people's lines will die out, which is admitted in this story even as they make the claim about our artistic forebears. I also wonder how the study explains how sexual selection works to favour certain lines over others within a population. I'm sure we have little idea, so how does this play into their statistical calculations?

The article concludes with the words "tight web of brotherhood"; but words like brotherhood and race can apply to all of us only metaphorically. In historical reality, our systems of cultural differentiations, which history constantly expands, are all-important.

And if we are so closely related, why do we retain a seemingly biological imperative to favor our own over their near cousins? Why are many step mothers what the horror stories say they are!

What we all share in common is not enough to unite us as one people, and every ideology that says it is ends up, if it gets any power, killing more people than those that teach respect for differences, however arbitrary their origins must certainly be.

chuck said...

Brothers and sisters, cousins, 2'nd cousins, 3'rd cousins... n'th cousins,

Hi ya'll. No family reunion this year, I couldn't find the space.

Love,

Chuck

Skookumchuk said...

OK, if Chuck's place is out, I guess we'll have the barbeque.

Though the back deck may get a bit crowded.

Seneca the Younger said...

Oh, I don't think you can take the story too literally. Consider, for example, the autochthonous Australians, or the Polynesians. Or going the other way, if the mummy in the middle of the room was childless, we know he's not a direct ancestor. But most everyone we know has at least some European ancestors, so the mummy was someone's mommy or daddy or uncle or aunt and is kin to us somehow.

Even if our common ancestor is no closer than "Mitochondrial Eve".

loner said...

The math is sound, but, you know, people and weather are involved. Even so, the odds are overwhelming that what is claimed is true of me and true of you.

amba said...

Reminds me of something I wrote recently:

To them [traditionalists], the crossbreeding of cultures is the new barbarian invasion.

To me, it’s a thrilling reunion of the little family that parted ways in Africa 60,000 years ago, all loaded down with learning to share and hair-raising stories to tell. (Of course, it’s a dysfunctional family, so they’re also loaded down with weapons and grudges. It could be a hell of a party.)