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#274 | The EVE gene
I recently found a snippet of Lupita Nyong'o on 'Finding My Roots', that excellent show that tells famous Americans unknown facts about their ancestry. (It's always fun to watch white people react to how (not) white they really are.)
In Lupita's case, she carries DNA from the oldest maternal haplogroup, Mitochondrial Eve.
Until 1987, the prevailing theory was that different groups of humans evolved separately in different parts of the world, beginning about 2 million years ago. Then Rebecca Cann, Mark Stoneking and Allan Wilson published their groundbreaking research that all humans carry mitochondrial DNA in their cells, dating back to a single woman who lived 200,000 years ago. They dubbed her Mitochondrial Eve.
Mitochondrial Eve, scientists say, is the most recent female historically from whom all living animals of a species can trace their ancestry. The peak of a genealogical pyramid in which all ancestors of a species meet. When human Mitochondrial Eve walked the Earth, no humans were alive outside Africa. Every person on Earth was Black!
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It reminded me of this National Geographic documentary narrated by Kevin Bacon.
With the DNA of a couple of hundred random strangers from Queens, NY, one of the most diverse corners of the world, anthropologist and geneticist Spencer Wells set out to demonstrate how all humanity shares common ancestors.
This other video, narrated by a not-famous person but excellent nonetheless, shows how humans took very different paths out of the continent.
Regardless of race, nationality or religion, all of us can trace our origins back to the cradle of humanity in East Africa.
Makes you wonder, then, why we're hell-bent on behaving otherwise.
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