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.
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.
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.
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.
no no, it was 150,000 years ago, and she was a Human-Cylon hybrid. Duh!
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.
Good question, Randall, but a problematic set of answers.
http://www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/ce/neanderthal.html 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
http://www.jqjacobs.net/anthro/paleo/neanderthal.html 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.