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September 29, 2004
He Died Of Exhaustion

MIT has determined that all six billion people descended from a single ancestor who lived just 3500 years ago, according to the London Telegraph:

Everyone in the world is descended from a single person who lived around 3,500 years ago, according to a new study. Scientists have worked out the most recent common ancestor of all six billion people alive today probably dwelt in eastern Asia around 1,415BC. ...

Using a computer model, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology attempted to trace back the most recent common ancestor using estimated patterns of migration throughout history.

They calculated that the ancestor's location in eastern Asia allowed his or her descendants to spread to Europe, Asia, remote Pacific Islands and the Americas. Going back a few thousand years more, the researchers found a time when a large fraction of people in the world were the common ancestors of everybody alive today - while the rest were ancestors of no one alive. That date was 5,353BC, the team reports in Nature.

I find this very intriguing. If MIT's research holds up, it could explain much of the Genesis books in the Old Testament, which come down to two men at different times: Adam and Abraham. In both cases, the Scriptures tell us that we all descend from both. I'm not a Biblical scholar, and I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but the two dates could have some Biblical connotations as well. Could the memory of our earliest common ancestor have been passed down for 7,000 years as Adam, and could our latest common ancestor be the Abraham of the Bible? The location and the timeframe are both within reason.

Scientifically, our genetic diversity seems pretty remarkable for a single ancestor less than 4000 years in the past -- about 200 generations, give or take. We've branched out in almost an unlimited way in a short time frame, evolutionarily speaking, so much so that it shakes belief. If MIT can back this up, it may change the way we look at the history of human development.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 29, 2004 8:02 PM

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» Proof of Adam? from letters from babylon
The 30 September 2004 issue of Nature contains an article on the common ancestry of today’s humans that I suspect will make some waves in Christian circles, and perhaps among the scientific community as well. (Nature certainly knows how to [Read More]

Tracked on September 30, 2004 12:31 AM

» Daddy? from FlashBang
Being a Good Christian, I find this really intriguing. I just wonder: If the date is a mere 3500 years ago, then why couldn't it be Noah? After all, the Old Testament states... [Read More]

Tracked on September 30, 2004 4:58 PM

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