Re: [BBC] Genetic 'Adam never met Eve'

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From: Gordon Mohr (
Date: Tue Oct 31 2000 - 18:23:44 PPET writes:
> In a message dated 10/31/2000 4:47:34 AM, writes:
> >But the finding raises new questions, not least because our most recent
> >paternal ancestor would have been about 84,000 years younger than our
> >maternal one.
> aka the mother of all conundra

While a curious result, it's actually quite easy to explain.

Say Mitochondrial "Eve" lived 150,000 years ago. She may have had children
by several fathers, but it doesn't seem strictly necessary. Eventually,
offspring of all her contemporary females died out, leaving only descendants
of "Eve". (She must have had really kickin' mitochondria! Can I have some of
those? Oh, wait, I guess I do.)

Then, 80,000 years later, one of her male descendants, a Y-Chromosome "Adam",
fathers children by several of her female descendants. Eventually, all the
children of men other than "Adam" die out -- maybe his kids are meaner,
stronger, and more immune to something important. (I always thought my
great*3200-grandpa was kind of pushy.)

The latest single "Eve" is 150,000 years ago, and the latest single
"Adam" is just 70,000 years ago -- though it's conceivable there
were earlier singular "Adams" as well, we don't have any of their Ys,
except via Adam(-80,000), so we can't be sure.

- Gordon


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