August 17, 2010
Garden Of Eden 200,000 Years Ago?

The common maternal ancestor of all humans might have lived 200,000 years ago.

HOUSTON -- (Aug. 17, 2010) -- The most robust statistical examination to date of our species' genetic links to "mitochondrial Eve" -- the maternal ancestor of all living humans -- confirms that she lived about 200,000 years ago. The Rice University study was based on a side-by-side comparison of 10 human genetic models that each aim to determine when Eve lived using a very different set of assumptions about the way humans migrated, expanded and spread across Earth.

The research is available online in the journal Theoretical Population Biology.

"Our findings underscore the importance of taking into account the random nature of population processes like growth and extinction," said study co-author Marek Kimmel, professor of statistics at Rice. "Classical, deterministic models, including several that have previously been applied to the dating of mitochondrial Eve, do not fully account for these random processes."

It speaks to the speed of human evolution that we've been able to generate so much genetic diversity in just 200,000 years.

So did Axel Rose go back in a time machine 200,000 years?

New Riders of the Purple Sage also did a Garden of Eden song.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 August 17 11:35 PM  Evolutionary History

PaleoGarden said at August 18, 2010 7:30 AM:

Awesome juxtaposition with the hard science and hard rock interpretations of the garden. Another great piece on this subject is a documentary "The Journey Of Man." At least once a month a tidbit from that film comes up in thought as I see human evolution unfolding in front of me.

tommy said at August 18, 2010 5:43 PM:

Did you completely forget "In A Gadda Da Vida?"

Randall Parker said at August 18, 2010 9:48 PM:


No, I did not forget. It was a conscious choice. In A Gadda Da Vida came up when I did the search in YouTube for Garden Of Eden and I was surprised to learn that In A Gadda Da Vida really means In The Garden Of Eden. But I was sufficiently annoyed by this discovery (and also just plain sick of the Iron Butterfly song after hearing it a thousand times) that I decided not to embed the video for it in the post.

Biobob said at August 19, 2010 12:56 AM:

Show me the error bars on that 200,000 years estimate please. ROFL

More WAGS - these genetics modeler guys make climate science pukes look like pikers.

How about some real data instead of models ? What, you can't possibly get any cuz nobody was doing genetic analysis 200k yr ago ? Gee, that's too bad, but it doesn't mean you can just pull data out of yer arse and expect us all to believe it. At least do mitochondrial analysis on mummies and such and tell us how the results validate or invalidate your WAGS.

Biobob said at August 19, 2010 1:06 AM:

here you go, talk to these guys, and get back to us, LOL

5,000 yr old mtDNA

2,000 yr old mtDNA

jb said at August 19, 2010 7:36 AM:

no no, it was 150,000 years ago, and she was a Human-Cylon hybrid. Duh!

Randall Parker said at August 19, 2010 9:06 PM:


I almost mentioned the human-cylon angle. But I decided to see if someone else would mention it if I didn't.


I am wondering whether Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA exists in present era humans. I think I'll ask a genetic anthropologist.

Biobob said at August 19, 2010 10:04 PM:

Good question, Randall, but a problematic set of answers. seems to be saying that the mtDNA analysis available is unreliable, and the typically theorized rate of genetic change is seriously flawed.

more details are available at in which they conclude "the Neanderthals went extinct without contribution to the present mtDNA of modern humans." However, there is considerable reason to question these conclusions, since mtDNA from only 2 degraded and perhaps contaminated specimens has been sequenced and really all DNA sequencing is in its infancy. There is just way too little baseline data, when perhaps millions of individual data points are needed and only small thousands are available for humans.

I expect we will get there eventually, but honestly we have a long way to go.

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright