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Sunday, October 29, 2006 CE

Our most common recent ancestor might have lived only 3500 years ago

This is bad news for all racists of the world. Anthropologic studies tied with computer simulations show that the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all humans could have lived as early as 1500 BCE. The reason for this is that human populations have migrated and interbred significantly throughout the millennia. By estimating how different groups intermingle, the researchers built up a picture of how tightly the world's ancestral lines are linked. What the researchers also stated is that if there were no oceans the MRCA would have lived much more recently. The investigation goes further and stated that the MRCA might have lived in East Asia. The reasoning behind this is that East Asia is close to the Pacific, the Bering Strait and is contiguous with Europe. “Nonetheless, the results show that we are one big family”, the author of the study said. He and his colleagues added: "No matter the languages we speak or the color of our skin, we share ancestors with those 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."

I wonder how a racist would interpret this information. Would he or she question the research, its methodology or the statistical analysis? How would someone who ascertains the superiority of his or her race view the world after learning this? How about the ones who claim the “purity” of their genetic background? Most of my readers are not racists; however I am curious with respect to the opinion of a self-proclaimed racist.

I have researched the topic and the estimates for the time when MRCA existed range from 3500 to 15000 years ago. It does not matter. As the authors of the study said, we are all one big family.

Further reading:


Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

I've seen that hypothesis, and the person who did it isn't using science as much as Math. Considering that the first human probably hit North America at least 12,000 years ago and what about the Aboriginals of Australia who came to Australia long before that, and the African tribesmen who never left Africa and never bred with Asians, I highly doubt this to be true.

So far I'm sticking with science, and right now, we are looking at around 60,000 years ago in Ethiopia for a common ancestor to all man.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Diane S. said...

Thanks for the head's up about you posting.

I'm inclined to agree that mankind is much older than this article is giving us credit for being, but to mee that's a tangential point. The real point is that we are all brothers (and sisters) and that "races" are largely a social construct.

This isn't anything new. Donne said it. Beethoven said it. We are, each of us, more linked than we acknowledged, and embracing this fact makes us each more fully human

9:18 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...


The theory that states that we have common ancestors 60000 years ago is called the Y-chromosome Adam theory. It says that the Y chromosomal Adam is the patrilineal human most recent common ancestor (MRCA) from whom all Y chromosomes in living men are descended. This does not contradict the theory that I just showed because the theory that I showed is explained by migration and breeding between races. Populations can be separated by thousands of years. However it only takes some interbreeding to bring the MRCA several thousand of years closer

9:35 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Diane S

The theory that I showed does not address the age of humanity. As I said in my response to BEAJ, it demonstrates the level of migration and interbreeding. Homo sapiens is still around 200 000 years old and originated in Eastern Africa.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I do believe that it's only 0.1% or less of the human genome that accounts for the actual difference between individual human beings (skin color, hair color, shape, etc.).

It's interesting that examining different parts of the genome dates human events differently. How far back does "mitochondrial Eve" go?

Not that it matters, for we are indeed all one race. For example, here's an interesting (and cute) development. I told my sister that this happened more often than people thought, and she was surprised, but I'm not surprised at all. (I mean, I'm not the same skin color as my mother; she's olive, and I'm transluscent.) Now, these two babies are siblings, but what is society going to do to them? How are they going to be treated differently? When are we going to learn to see ourselves in every other human being and value everyone equally?

Another case was of a very dark-skinned child born to a white couple in South Africa during Apartheid. She was a beautiful girl in an ugly situation. She was classified as "white" but never fit into that absurd, heartless, and superstitious system. It had a destructive effect on her.

I wish we could just wipe racism off the planet with a cloth and throw it away. What a waste of time and human potential! And racists are people with a severe inferiority complex.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...


I agree with everything you said. Racism is plain stupid. We are already mixed enough.

Mithocondrial Eve, the matrilineal most recent common ancestor for all living humans is believed to have lived 150 000 years ago. The difference in timing with respect to Y- chromosomal Adam is due to fertile women having had similar chances of giving birth to a certain number of fertile descendants. The chances for fertile men varied more widely, some fathered no children and others fathered many, with multiple women.

I wish someone can comment and say that he or she was a former racist and, after doing some research, he or she convinced him or herself of the stupidity of the previous beliefs.

10:41 PM  
Blogger The Intolerant One said...

I suspect racism, for the most part, is ingrained thru sterotype and what we expeirence as we grow.

As a child in my neck of the woods it was the "indians" who were often on the streets impoverished and sniffing solvents. Often they were frowned upon, laughed at, and blamed for societals ills. Not everyone looked at the ones who succeded in life. Nor did they take the time to notice that there were "white boys" on those streets as well sharing in the same poverty.

Myself (A very handsome and goodlooking Caucasion male LOL) married a beatiful Cree native woman.

At the end of the day we all bleed the same blood. Racism is most certainly stupid but appears to be mostly rooted in the psyche as opposed to actual "purity". But I already knew what you were telling us anyway.

I found it in the book of Genesis when it started ith Adam ;)

Glad to see you back in blogger world.

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Racism is mostly the product of total ignorance. So, a racist would not be interested in such knowledge. If they were that deep a thinker they wouldn't be a racist.

In some European countries, some football "fans" make monkey noises at the black players (something that everyone is desperate to stamp out). I don't think these people know their alphabet, let alone theories of human migration.

There are some intelectual racists - like a college lecturer in the UK who recently got in trouble because he supported the controversial study which claims Africans have a low IQ (and East Asians a very high average IQ). I doubt he would change his mind after learning of our recent common ancestors.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

The point I'm making is this study is most likely creationist nonsense. A computer model? Sorry, not scientific when it comes to the conclusion arrived at.

This isn't about racism as it is a way to give justification for the Flood. Don't be duped.

Here is a post about it.

The racist argument is stupid regardless as we all trace back to the same guy 60,000 years ago, and the dude was of color.

Simon, it is possible for some cultures to be brighter than others, especially those isolated by geography or dogma. I don't think it is far fetched to believe such a thing. And yes I know IQ tests are very culturally subjective, but I'm a firm believer that if Einstein and Gena Davis had a child, the child would be inherently smarter on average than if some hick from Mississippi and the average Fatima from Qatar had a child.

You can call me racist for that statement, but am I racist for saying what I think is true or racist for even thinking it?

2:01 PM  
Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

Here is a better discussion of the mathematical hypothesis.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...


I understand your concern about creationism in this topic. When I first read about it, I saw that the MRCA was supposed to have lived 10000 years ago. I thought that there was a mistake and that they missed a zero. However, I reviewed the information and it turned to be correct. I read other sources and confirmed the numbers. They ranged between 3500 and 15000 years. Dont underestimate me. Do you think that I can be duped by creationist crap? Just to think, in 3500 years, there are roughly 100 generations. If each generation produces 2 children (less than the average) per couple, we would have 2 elevated to the power of 100 people. that number is far greater that 6 billion, so the idea is not crazy at all.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...


I saw your link. It is only better in the sense that there is more people discussing it. And, they agree with what I said. Just make things clear, I never implied that humans were created 3500 years ago

4:51 PM  
Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

I know you didn't say that, I know you are not a creationist in any way shape or form. But what this "study" implies is that a Flood could have wiped everyone out by Noah. Noah is the second starting point in the bible.

A mathematical model is farcical to use in this instance. With famines, wars, and natural disasters, coupled with shorter life spans, and total guesses in the world populations at various times, this is just creationist bs.

Again, you have the Australian Aboriginals, the African tribes, the tribes of North and South America...Eskimos. All these geographic isolation situations, just make one Asian as a common ancestor around 3500-5000 years ago, highly improbable.

Going forward from here, it could happen though, but I highly doubt the isolated populatins of the world all go back to one dude 5,000 years ago. Maybe 40,000 years.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...


You suggestion for MRCA living 40000 years ago, in Paleolithic times, would be correct if we were living in the 15th century. However, the European explorers and migrations of the 16th and the 17th centuries and their subsequent offspring, product of the racial mixture, moved the time of MRCA from 40000 years ago, several thousand years towards us. Imagine a population South American Indians in the 15th century. Imagine a population Europeans in the 15th century. The MRCA of both populations, assuming no contact since the Indian's ancestors crossed the Bering Straight was probably 40000 years ago. The MRCA amongst Europeans would have lived 1000 years before, same for the Indians. As soon as there is mixture, the offspring, the mestizos, will share the same ancestor with a "pure European" and with the "pure Indian". In order to push back the time of the MRCA's existence to 40000 years ago, we need to find a population of humans that has not had ANY contact with the rest of humanity for 40000 years, highly unlikely situation.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...


I agree with you. (Except the Genesis part, of course)

10:10 PM  
Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

Marco, it might be true that 90% of the worlds population share a common ancestor around 400 years ago, but there are lots of examples like this.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...


We have the technlogy to determine if there has been genetic contact between tribes like the one you showed in the link and the rest of humanity. If it is true that the tribe has been isolated since the time the Americas were populated by humans for the first time, then the MRCA existed 20000 to 40000 years ago

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Canucklehead said...

I am interested in genealogy. Some of my uncles were racist when it came to Germans -- WW II. Well, I found that our ancestors included many German lines. That changed their tune. :-)

7:24 PM  

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