OUR MOTHER, 143 000 YEARS AGO

12 August 2014


RIEUX Adrien et al ‘Improved calibration of the human mitochondrial clock using ancient genomes’ in Molecular biology and evolution August 2014. You can access a free pdf of the full text here.

This research shows that the most recent common female ancestor of homo sapiens dates from 143 000 years ago. We’re all related, as I have said many times on the blog. Where those claims of distinctiveness go wrong is that they stop too soon; despite claims of antiquity, they do not look far enough into the past to see our commonalities. This is not to say tribal differences have not been constructed since but they are comparatively recent and they are only layers on our commonality. I think we should primarily focus on our commonality rather than the constructs and phenotypic traits that separate us.

Of course, 143 000 years ago all homo sapiens were still in Africa. That means we Europeans are all – English, Cornish, and the rest – the descendants of colonists and settlers.

The nationalist ancestry and descendancy delusion

A telling rebuttal to nationalist ancestry and descendancy particularity is this from research into our commonality: “No matter the languages we speak or the color of our skin, we share ancestors who planted rice on the banks of the Yangtze, who first domesticated horses on the steppes of the Ukraine, who hunted giant sloths in the forests of North and South America, and who labored to build the Great Pyramid of Khufu” – Modelling the recent common ancestry of all living humans Douglas LT ROHDE et al Nature 431 pages 562-566, 30 September 2004. (Free summary but full item chargeable.)

Earlier posts

Ranivorous Britons 16 October 2013

The origins of the Cornish 8 March 2013

Cornish and English bulging 6 January 2013

Monkeys and me 24 October 2012

English and Cornish share a part neandertal ancestry 23 October 2012

A common source for the English and Cornish 14 May 2012

A walrus, a mouse, and a man went into a bar 18 July 2010

Puny boundaries 19 May 2010

To see oursels as ithers see us 17 May 2010

A wondrous mixture 8 May 2010

The Cornishman, the Englishman, and the frog 2 May 2010

The first Cornishman 1 May 2010

Cornwall 5460 years ago (The Balaresque study) 31 January 2010

Atomising people 12 September 2008

Blue-eyed Cornish and English are brothers 31 January 2008

English and Cornish are sisters under the skin 20 July 2007

English and Cornish have same milk gene 10 March 2007

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