Scientists Make A Fascinating Discovery: Humans Are Descendants Of One Couple Who Lived About 250,000 Years Ago
A recent study has discovered that all the humans on earth are connected genetically to a couple that lived hundreds of thousands of years ago
Experts at the Rockefeller University teamed up with the University of Basel and surveyed the genetic 'barcodes' from five million speciments, including humans, amounting to 100,000 different species.
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One of the findings made by the study included theories that humans and animals share genetic markers, as though we were all born from the same parents, following a catastrophic event that almost wiped out almost all life. The study also suggested that, apart from humans, nine out of every 10 animals also came from that pair of beings.
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The leading authors of the study, Mark Stoeckle and David Thaler, came to the conclusion that ninety percent of the species we have today have evolved from a single pair of beings. And this pair started giving birth less than 250,000 years ago.
The researchers made use of what is known as the 'mitochondrial DNA', which is passed down from mothers to children to find this link. They found that there was a minute genetic variation with most animal species.
Dr. Stoeckle explained:
Culture, life experience, and other things can make people very different but in terms of basic biology, we're like the birds. One might have thought that, due to their high population numbers and wide geographic distribution, humans might have led to greater genetic diversity than other animal species. At least for mitochondrial DNA, humans turn out to be low to average in genetic diversity.
Jesse Ausubel, Director of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University, also shed more light on what unites humans and animals and how we could all be connected to a similar set of beings.
If a Martian landed on Earth and met a flock of pigeons and a crowd of humans, one would not seem more diverse than the other according to the basic measure of mitochondrial DNA.
While speaking about the study, Thaler said he found the results "surprising." He also mentioned that these findings are a reminder that we are all more similar to each other than we think. At a time when humans are placing too much emphasis on differences, the study is quite significant.
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Stoeckle and Thaler also attempted to offer an explanation for what caused the animal life on Earth to be almost completely renewed such a short time ago, comparatively speaking. It was suggested that ice ages and some form of environmental change, infections, predation or competition with other species for limited resources, could be to blame. Thaler said:
All of animal life experiences pulses of growth and stasis or near extinction on similar time scales.
In other words, all species, including humans, tend to evolve and get wiped out in unison. That is, it's possible that this evidence shows that the universe's slate is wiped clean more frequently than we realize.