Are All Men Brothers? While Most Of Us Just Pay Lip Service To The Idea, But Don't Really Believe It...
It's what the Mahatma Gandhi believed and said, but hard as it may be to really believe it turns out to be true. Not all that long ago, DNA tests were run that prove that we (the population of the world) all are the descedents of just one woman.
Link to Science How Stuff Works complete Article
In 1987, a group of geneticists published a surprising study in the journal Nature. The researchers examined the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) taken from 147 people across all of today's major racial groups. These researchers found that the lineage of all people alive today falls on one of two branches in humanity's family tree. One of these branches consists of nothing but African lineage, the other contains all other groups, including some African lineage.
Even more impressive, the geneticists concluded that every person on Earth right now can trace his or her lineage back to a single common female ancestor who lived around 200,000 years ago. Because one entire branch of human lineage is of African origin and the other contains African lineage as well, the study's authors concluded Africa is the place where this woman lived. The scientists named this common female ancestor Mitochondrial Eve....
The complete today I found out article
Even though biologists have shown that all people are descended from one person, this does not mean that only one female was alive at that time. It simply means only one set of genes have been passed down from a single point in history. Most researchers agree that “Eve” was not the only women alive because the fossil record shows much older specimens. From “Java man” at about 800,000 years to “Lucy”, the earliest known remains which are approximately 1-4 million years old.
There are several theories about how just one set of genes could have survived. The most likely is a bottleneck of the human population that would set the stage for an evolutionary “lucky mother”. There have been several possible bottlenecks in history. One report, written in 1998, showed approximately 70,000 years ago humanity was down to around 15,000 people. It showed the reason behind the bottleneck was an ice age that lasted about a 1,000 years.
Other reasons bottlenecks could have happened are: an asteroid impact or volcanic eruption causing drastic climate change; a continuous, widespread plague; or any situation that caused male offspring to have a better chance of survival, leaving relatively few women around to pass on their genes. While no definitive proof exists that these occurred, most researchers believe a combination of one or all of these factors are behind why we all have a common ancestor.
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The Demise of Mitochondrial Eve
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Reproduced by Permission from Apologetics Press
Link to Molecular History Research Center Articlen the first day of 1987, a scientific “discovery” seized the attention of the popular press. The original scientific article that caused all the commotion—“Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution”—appeared in the January 1, 1987 issue of Nature, and was authored by Rebecca Cann, Mark Stoneking, and Allan C. Wilson (see Cann, et al., 1987). These three scientists announced that they had “proven” that all modern human beings can trace their ancestry back to a single woman who lived 200,000 years ago in Africa. This one woman was nicknamed “Eve” (a.k.a., “mitochondrial Eve”)—much to the media’s delight. An article in the January 26, 1987 issue of Time magazine bore the headline, “Everyone’s Genealogical Mother: Biologists Speculate that ‘Eve’ Lived in Sub-Saharan Africa” (Lemonick, 1987). A year later, that “speculation” became a major Newsweek production titled, “The Search for Adam and Eve” (Tierney, et al., 1988). The provocative front cover presented a snake, tree, and a nude African couple in a “Garden of Eden” type setting. The biblical-story imagery was reinforced by showing the woman offering an apple to the man.
A word of explanation is in order. For decades, evolutionists had been trying to determine the specific geographical origin of humans—whether we all came from one specific locale, or whether there were many small pockets of people placed around the globe. When they set out to determine the specific geographical origin of humans, a curious piece of data came to light. As they considered various human populations, Africans seemed to show much more genetic variation than non-Africans (i.e., Asians, Europeans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, et al.). According to molecular biologists, this increased variability is the result of African populations being older, thus, having had more time to accumulate mutations and diverge from one another. This assumption led some researchers to postulate that Africa was the ancient “cradle of civilization” from which all of humanity had emerged.
This is why the world wide survey was able to determine that all people are related via some original mother which they called the "mitochondrial Eve". They produced ancestral trees that depended on the slow mutation rate of mitochondrial DNA to estimate how the whole human population came from a single woman.
After the initial discovery of the "mitochondrial Eve", Wilson felt uneasy about using the term "Eve" because it caused many to think that she was the only woman living at that time, much like what is written in Genesis of the Bible concerning Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Also, the usual evolutionary time-scale for man did not allow such a short time as 200,000 years. Rather, it is believed that man has been around for a much longer period of time. Java man is thought to be 800,000 years old. Homo erectus specimens are found all throughout the world. Over forty specimens of Asian Homo erectus which have been found in China, have been dated 220,000 to 500,000 years of age. Lucy, and the earliest remains of specimens that are thought to be of the first to stand upright, are thought to be at least 1 to 4 million years of age.
So, because the presence of man is thought to have been around for a much longer period of time than just 200,000 years, it was concluded that the mitochondrial Eve must not have been the first human female nor would she have been the only female alive at the time. Evolutionists have come to believe that Eve must have been one of many women of her time, in a genetic bottleneck. A time when there were a tiny population of people alive.
It is not known why the human population would became so depleted in a bottleneck. Some suggests that environmental pressures could have brought the human population almost to extinction. It has even been suggested, that the ability to speak languages was a reason why only one group survived over all others. All sorts of reasons have been offered to explain why bottlenecks would exist: a continuous plaque, asteroid impact, or a climate change are just a few of the many ideas.
Many suggest that Eve must have had some vast superiority because her offspring are thought to have conquered the whole world without any evidence of any interbreeding.