Are human ancestors mentioned in the Bible?

Key and Problem of the Study

The Y chromosome is the key

Bustamante and his colleagues have put together a large piece of the puzzle by deciphering the genome of the Y chromosome of 69 men from seven populations around the world. These included African San Bushmen and the Yakut in Siberia.

From a mutation rate based on archaeological events such as the human migration across the Bering Strait, the researchers concluded that all male humans in their sample shared a single male ancestor in Africa 125,000 to 156,000 years ago.

In addition, 24 samples of mitochondrial DNA from men and women could be traced back to ancient Eve, who lived in Africa 99,000 to 148,000 years ago, almost the same time span as the Y chromosome Adam.

The more primitive Adam

"As interesting as the results are, they're only part of the story," says Michael Hammer, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Arizona. A separate study in the same issue of Science shows that men have a common ancestor as long as 180,000 to 200,000 years ago.

In another study in the American Journal of Human Genetics, in which Hammer took part, various Y chromosomes were discovered, which indicate an even earlier living "forefather". He is said to have lived 237,000 to 581,000 years ago.

"It doesn't fit into the family tree that the Bustamante team constructed. It's older," says Hammer. Gene studies are always based on a DNA sample. They show an incomplete picture of human history. Hammer's group had a different selection and accordingly they came up with different times than Bustamante.

The Bible comparison lags

The primordial people spoken of are not biblical Eve and biblical Adam. They weren't the first modern humans on the planet. You are just the only two people among thousands whose genetic lineage extends to this day.

The rest of the human genome contains tiny snippets of DNA from many other ancestors. "They just don't show up in the mitochondrial or Y-chromosome DNA," says Hammer. For example, if a primitive woman had only sons, her mitochondrial DNA would have disappeared. Bustamante now wants to analyze the Y chromosomes of another 2,000 men in order to make his prognosis about the origin more precisely.

"This is very exciting," says Wilson Sayres, the geneticist mentioned at the beginning. "If we can take samples from more populations in the world, we will understand more precisely where we come from."

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