Friday, 22 March 2013

Ice House Earth, Greenhouse Earth and those in-between times ... our planet and its peoples ... the female ancestral line ... part 2/4


I watched this two part BBC documentary soon after listening to the Icehouse-Greenhouse Earth radio talk per part 1 of this series ... and as my mind does – thought these journeys would add to the mix ...
Eddie Izzard c/o RootSounds.co.uk


... so to set the scene: this may startle some of you – but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole camp effect ... and the genealogy aspects that tie us all in ...


Eddie Izzard is an actor, comedian, transvestite, and marathon runner extraordinaire ... over and above these talents and attributes – he fits the bill of look-a-like ancient man ...


This time instead of going back two to three hundred years through the genealogical records ... Izzard donates some DNA and we leap backwards in time ...

Dark Green hatched - Namibia to the west,
South Africa to the south and east

Locked deep within each of us is a genetic history book of our ancestry and the journey of mankind over the earth ... man’s family tree across the continents.


Using our own DNA it is possible to unlock this genetic history and that route map, which reveals how our ancestors migrated out of Africa to populate the rest of the world.


This is the first time the story has been told (on tv) of where our first mother and father originated ... through DNA and the significant DNA markers found within a number of present day human genetics recorded in a huge database.


Kalahari Desert, Namibia
Eddie’s ancestral lines reach England after the Romans had been and conquered, yet give us all an insight as to how and why our families are where they are now, wherever that might be.


I thought these four posts – earth’s history, woman’s path out of Africa and man’s journey of life also out of Africa, then a summary – seemed to tie in rather well and give me a perspective on this planet and its occupants that I had not really taken account of before.


All of us are descended from one woman and one man ... this is the story of the Izzard strand of the population of the world – yet one our own ancestors travelled too ...


... usually our Y and X chromosomes do not change much over time, but occasionally a significant change, known as a “DNA marker” occurs, which indicates another branch to a family tree as the globe has been populated.


Here we will follow the female line ... all of our lines ... to start with ...


San Bushman
The first woman to whom we are all related was a San Bushman living in the Kalahari Desert, southern Africa – these Bushmen still live as hunter gatherers, much as they did 192,000 years ago when our Homo sapiens lineage began (as distinct from the evolving archaic Homo sapiens).


10,000 generations later the San Bushmen are one of the last remaining peoples to preserve the way of life that predominated our existence in Africa for those first 100,000 years.


Bushmen making fire
By 60,000 years ago humans had colonised the enormous continent of Africa, so fast forwarding 140,000 years from our Homo sapiens origins about 200,000 years ago the necessity to find new land became an imperative. 


The human is a curious creature, and by now had acquired the ability to make fire – which allowed food to be cooked making it easier to eat, while fire kept us protected from other species – the predators.


Africa, at this stage, was ‘over-populated’ with an estimated 20,000 peoples ...

Red Sea narrowing
Scientists have DNA tested traditional communities to help establish how we migrated out across the world ... which has given us a route map of our early journeys ...


It is thought that humans first left Africa across the narrowing of the Red Sea at the Bab-el-Mandeb Straight, via the now salt lake of Assal – which sits 150m below sea level and is saltier than the Dead Sea ... or via ...


Salt Lake, Assal Sea
... Djibouti on the Red Sea ... where “DNA markers” have been found, strongly suggesting that our ancestors passed this way to colonise the rest of the world.


It is where these early peoples were exploiting the marine environment – evidence of this has been found in archaeological sites ...


Yemen is likely to be the next stop – but with today’s politics these links cannot be checked ... however the other route via Bab-el-Mandel Straight is still a highway to Arabia.


Bab-el-Mandel Straight
A glacial age was in progress, so the sea level would have been lower making the crossing easier – this was the time of the exodus of humanity out of Africa ...


... but what is even more remarkable it is thought that only two women gave birth to nearly everyone else in the world (via DNA testing available at present) ... and one of those women went north, the other went off to Australia ...


This is the story of us ‘northerners’ ... as we jump forward another 42,000 years ... to about 18,000 years ago ...

Arabia and the Persian Gulf - south of Turkey

... those early ancestors took advantage of the fertile crescent in the Persian Gulf up into Turkey ... then after ‘settling’ for about 8,000 years, the birth of agriculture as we know it today had commenced.


Farming gave Homo sapiens something else ... that abundance enabled settlers to settle and develop a life-style – so now we also have the birth of civilisation ...


... then the blue eyes DNA marker comes to the fore – the earliest archaeological evidence of domestication of cattle and sheep has been found on the shore of the Black Sea.

Eastern part of Mediterranean Sea:
showing Turkey and Black Sea

With the domesticity of animals came a new food source – milk ... but in those early communities milk’s intolerance showed itself ... but evolutionary genetic modification came to the rescue ... and now many of us can digest milk easily.


Back to blue eyes ... everyone with blue eyes can be traced back to the Black Sea coast of 10,000 years ago ... however, whoever has blue eyes will have been passed the gene by both parents ...


... this anomaly really means the blue gene trait shouldn’t survive ... the supposition is that blue eyes were more desirable: that sexual attraction retained the blue eye gene ...
Depiction showing Dardanelles east of
Aegean Sea, Sea of Marmara and
the Bosphorus (entrance to Black Sea)


The next move north as part of the agricultural revolution occurring in the Middle East was probably routed across the Bosphorous ... much as we travel now – if we don’t fly in.


Now we’re at about 7,500 years ago ... and there were an estimated 8 million people ...


... there are two main routes north – up the river valleys into mid Europe, or along the Mediterranean shores ... one of Eddie’s offshoots journeyed along the southern fringes for the next 5,000 years ...

Map showing River Danube and its catchment
across southern Europe

... and this is where those early great civilisations arose ... the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, etc ...


By 79AD Pompeii was a flourishing city with about 20,000 people living there ... one family of Eddie’s genetic cousins died 2,000 years ago in a sad and tragic story arising from that Pompeii explosion.


Eddie’s direct ancestors took the more northerly route via central Europe on their way to Britain.


In all the scientists found 69 key DNA markers in Eddie’s mother’s DNA line ... and the closer we get to today, the scientists can be more precise as to his ancestral journey.

Roskilde is in the middle, northern part of
Zealand island.  (Roskilde: east of the urban
city of Copenhagen, Denmark)

The 67th marker is less than 100 generations ago, about 2,000 years ago ... so now living relatives can be searched out and matched up ...


... we have arrived at the Viking age, where the search is focused in Scandinavia ... in fact Roskilde, Denmark ...


... about 793 AD the Vikings began to raid Britain – their long-ships rowing and sailing across the North Sea... 

... the shallow keels meant that the long-ships could just row onto the shore – eliminating the need for harbours and giving the invaders the advantage of surprise.  With a fair wind this would take about three days?!


A Viking ship
It is thought that Eddie’s mother’s ancestors came in the second wave of immigration, when the Vikings brought their families to settle ...


The next 68th DNA marker brings us forward to 1,000 to 500 years ago – to two blonde sisters in Northamptonshire (+/- middle of England) ... who had always thought they were Anglo-Saxon in origin ... but no they are Vikings ...



This finishes Eddie’s mother’s ancestral journey, which shows how many of our ancestors would have travelled too – and perhaps why and who we are ...


5 years ago this ground breaking journey would not have been possible ... but through matching these genetic markers, which the scientists have mapped via the testing of saliva swabs taken from communities or peoples around the world.

Eddie Izzard

I expect this has only been possible because Eddie is a celebrity in this country and his features are pronounced, typically Neanderthal-like  ... the low forehead, blue eyes, smallish and stolid in stature, and with reddish hair ...


...  all features found along the Homo-sapiens world route map, which using these unique genetic markers has been possible to unravel.


I know this is long ... but it does set out the route and time frame of us ... and I thought it worth posting about ... next the male line ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

39 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Overpopulated at 20,000 people - just think how many live in one small town now?
Eddie Izzard narrated? That is really cool.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I find the human journey fascinating. I have to say, I envy Dr. Who and his ability to travel anywhere in time to see what's happening. Eddie Izzard does have a timeless face!

A Lady's Life said...

It sure is an interesting journey life.
DNA
The further back we go the less we see we have to argue about lol

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This is fascinating on so many levels. The origin of mankind has always been interesting to me. I read a book once (the title escapes me) that spoke some about this not not as in-depth as this does.

Summer Ross said...

Wow. I didn't know out DNA could be traced like that. Kind of creepy and cool at the same time.
~Summer

JoJo said...

Fascinating stuff!!! But if we all come from one original mother, that must mean there was some major incest going on?

Suzanne Furness said...

It's fascinating to think we are all descended from two women. Being able to trace DNA back is amazing. Thanks for sharing this, I missed the programme on TV but I bet it was worth watching.

Inger said...

This is just fabulous! It is so nice of you to take the time to share this with all of your readers. It's interesting to me that the people who originally settled in Scandinavia traveled back down into Europe thousands of years later as Vikings and settled in England, Russia, and the Mediterranean countries. Wonder if they got fed up with the cold?

I have both blue eyes and a low forehead, so that was interesting info. Hilarly, you are a marvel with all the information you come up with to share on your blog.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - the details amazed me .. and Eddie doing the narration was fun .. The numbers fascinated me ..

@ Lee - dr Who would be fun wouldn't it - I'd love to know more. Eddie izzard certainly looks the part doesn't he ..

@ A lady's life - you picked up the right aspect we come from all the same stock .. So shouldn't ever be fighting!!

@ Summer - I agree - it made me sit up and think ...

@ joJo - yes had to start somewhere didn't we as humans ... Otherwise we wouldn't be here ...

@ Suzanne - glad you enjoyed these snippets .. The programme doesn't look like its still up, which is a huge pity ....but I expect it'll be repeated ... I'd watch it again!

@ Inger - I just enjoy sharing topics I find interesting. ... That I think many of you may enjoy. Totally - look where you've got to and come from ..... Man and woman have certainly travelled around the world ...

I think you'll enjoy the next post too - following the man's journey out of Africa .... And we learn more about Neanderthal man ...

Lovely to see you all - cheers Hilary

Tina said...

I'm a blue-eyed viking chick...found this fascinating! Thanks for a great history lesson. It's amazing what clues they can find these days...

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

It's amazing what one can find out from our DNA. I did part of my family tree some years ago and got stuck on one person on my mother.s side, but perhaps after the A to Z may continue.
Wonderful post as always Hilary, by the way I envy you my Danny Boy is going to Eastbourne later in the year.
Yvonne.

Christine Rains said...

That's so cool. I love coming to your blog and reading these fascinating posts. Thank you so much for sharing.

Val Poore said...

Wow, Hilary, thank you so much for sharing this with us. It's fascinating! I guess using someone like Eddie Izzard (just a name to me, but I recognise he is a name) means that the programme researchers have someone to 'anchor' this all on, but the message behind it is quite amazing. DNA can really map our anthropological history and provide incredible clues as to our forebears. As I said before, amazing, and thank you!

Paula R C Readman said...

What an amazing posting, Hilary. My mum has blue-eyes and when young Jet-black hair yet her children had blonde hair and green-grey, my father had brown eyes and light brown hair.

(My Mum, bless her, is doing well. We went to see her today & she still wanted to be taken out even though it was very cold. We wrapped her up well and took her around the shop.)

Manzanita said...

Dear Hilary,
WOW This stuff boggles my mind and rightly it should. If I let my mind wander in it, I can see incarnations all throughout that history.(that is if one believes in reincarnation) It has always been said that blue-eye blonds have more fun and you just proved that old cliche. I'm not one of the blue-eye babes.
You did an excellent job of eking out this information, the 2 women, huh. Even though I'm one of the brown eye group, even Hitler wouldn't have owned up to me (wrong eyes), although my ancestors came from Germany. But we all withstand extreme cold very well. LOL
Thanks Hilary

TALON said...

This was so fascinating, Hilary. Thank you so much for sharing. It's incredible, I always think, that we somehow survived and thrived...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Fascinating stuff, Hilary. Thanks.

In a way, I guess that means we're all related... cousins ten thousand times removed, or something like that. One big squabbling family.

Looking forward to your next post. Happy weekend.

Old Kitty said...

I missed this Eddie Izzard show!! I hope the BBC repeat it - utterly fascinating stuff!!!

Take care
x

walk2write said...

Great post, Ms. Hilary. I've always thought it ridiculous that we still have trouble with racial differences in this country. It makes me sad that on certain government forms people are still asked to list their race. What does it matter? We're all related. I know, the statisticians want to justify their existence but what nonsense, really!

~Sia McKye~ said...

It is a very interesting post. I do remember back in High School, controversy and the hoopla that ensued. Mainly because there were those who didn't want to think think they were related to races they considered undesirable. Ditto on those didn't want anything to even hint at an Adam and Eve. The discussion of genetic markers showed we all originated from two people.

The interesting thing, for me anyway, was the fact that those two people had all the ability to produce more than one racial group. If you go by ancient records, it is mentioned that Noah, had several children of different racial features and skin tones. For sure the bloodlines were cleaner and more healthy and so could handle the *inbreeding* better without the mess it can create today. Plus, history bears out the following of the instructions of to go and fill the earth.

Breeding animals, paying attention to bloodlines, I understand how two people could produce all the people of the world a lot better than if I didn't.

juliet said...

Wow, Hilary, you are returning with renewed zest. This post took my breath away. Amazing to track out development so far back in time, and that DNA testing reveals so much information. Thank you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Tina - like you I love finding out more ... I'm just plain Anglo Saxon I guess .. no extraordinary genetic features in our family ...

@ Yvonne - the BBC 2 part programme was so interesting - well done for tracing your roots back and I hope you discover more about that missing ancestor ...

@ Christine - delighted and thank you ..

@ Val - I think that must have happened .. the scientists must have thought the possibility of these markers existing through Eddie's line - proved correct: hence the Meet your Ancestors Izzard programme.

We are finding out more and more - and I love the simpler side of it! So pleased you do too .. thanks.

@ Paula - your mother's colouring must have made her stand out ... she sounds stunning. So there's a little of that gene around in your family ...

Oh I'm so pleased your mother is enjoying her visits from you and those times out - it is freezing just now ... to be in a wheelchair - but it gives her an outing and a chance to shop. Makes my heart warm to think you're giving her what she wants ...

@ Manzanita - certainly we replicate and dilute our genes over the generations .. we can see it now coming to the fore - the olive skin from early settlers ...

Our bodies adapt over time ... certainly mine changed from my time in South African experiences .. and I really don't like it too cold, or too hot for that matter!

@ Talon - the human being certainly was fairly flexible .. settling perhaps doesn't help ... but we'll find out in due course ...

@ Susan - oh yes we're cousins somewhere along the line!! I thought one big happy family - no squabbling one ... we'd get along ok ..

@ Old Kitty - I nearly didn't watch - it was very camp ... but realised the information was fascinating .. so made sure I did and could write the posts ...

@ Walk to Write - different cultures I suspect .. but I'd love us all to get along and be happy.

@ Sia - I didn't go into this aspect ... but over time the skin colour changes ... and we can see that - in the northern climes we don't need so much pigment in our skins - so evolution switched it off over time ...

Survival of the fittest ... seems to come where the two women are concerned - they'd have to have been very tough to travel and survive at all ...

Animals use natural selection - same as us in early life ...

@ Juliet - I couldn't have done it without seeing the BBC programmes, which fascinated me and I knew many of you would enjoy the information ...

Thanks to you all - it is an amazing journey we've travelled - cheers cousins all! Hilary

MorningAJ said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the Eddie Izzard programme. I loved the reaction from the San ladies when they saw his fingernails!

Ghadeer said...

This is fascinating!

Lynn said...

My family is a sea of blue eyes - this is so interesting. I would love to see that program.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I saw one part of that Eddie Izzard programme and completely forgot about the other. It's mind-blowing to think back to those very early people.

Clarissa Draper said...

Two women gave birth to all humankind? How interesting.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I love Izzard's voice, so I bet that added flair to the program. My nephew did our genealogy several years ago and connected our family to the invasion of the Nordics. Fascinating stuff, Hilary.

Patsy said...

I find it fascinating that we're all very much the same and yet all so different.

Friko said...

an excellent summary of what was a very complicated and convoluted journey of man.

The BBC does these things so well.

Deniz Bevan said...

I find this stuff absolutely fascinating. Especially with so many more of us now on the planet - we've gained 6 billion people in just 100 years! How wonderful to be able to trace your own history that closely - lucky Eddie :-)
Someday maybe I'll find out why some humans, as they migrated, actually *chose* to remain in colder lands, instead of continuously moving south :-)

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

A deeply engrossing posting. And with fascination, I've watched the documentary you refer to with Eddie Izzard.

I wonder if the comedy back in the beginning was more advanced than Eddie's. Yes, I'm kidding.

Be well and "Ice House Earth" seems to have descended upon Britain. It's bitterly cold outside. So cold and snowy that Penny wouldn't take me for her usual long walk.

Gary

Empty Nest Insider said...

It is extraordinary how far DNA can be traced back in time! Interesting facts about blue-eyed people. Thanks for sharing this enlightening series, and I'll be on the lookout for it!

Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Morning AJ - yes the reactions from the people Eddie Izzard met along the way were fascinating to see ..

@ Ghadeer - glad you enjoyed it - thanks ..

@ Lynn - sea of blue eyes .. how lovely - they are attractive! I'm sure it'll get distributed in the States sometime ..

@ Annalisa - I'm sure we'll see repeats .. it was a fascinating series. Like you it was so interesting to find out they can trace 'us' back 192,000 years or so ..

@ Clarissa - we had to start somewhere! I found that bit worth noting .. just two women to get where we are now ...

@ Joylene - he certainly put his character into the programme (logical I suppose!). Your nephew has done your family a service, by finding all those details out ..

@ Patsy - it's interesting the way we've all evolved isn't it ...

@ Friko - I certainly couldn't have done these postings without the BBC - by writing them down here, at least they're here for me to refer to ...

@ Deniz - the population is exploding .. and being in the right place at the right time, with the right looks I guess made him an obvious candidate - being a celebrity .... he'd be an obvious choice.

By the sound of it we tend to move where the opportunity is .. ie early on it got "crowded" so the early people moved out ... now we move to the other side - where the grass might be greener! I went south, but came back ... my roots are here.

@ Gary - I'm glad you watched .. it was fascinating and informative. I expect they had much the same characters around then as we do now ... they were probably funnier - no satirical snippets.

It is awful isn't it - I've been feeling for friends and family further north .. I'm not surprised Penny decided she wanted to stick around and not walk far ... the conditions look quite dreadful ...

@ Julie - we're finding out so much more - the DNA journey is interesting isn't it ... part 3 coming up!

Cheers to you all - but honestly we could all do with some decent weather ... Hilary

Ida Chiavaro said...

Long, but so is the story - we are one, we are many. In a round-a-bout kind of way, I found you through the A-Z challenge post, and am pleased to read such a fascinating post - am now looking forward to learning more.

Jo said...

Hilary, have you ever seen the video Journey of Man? This sets out very much the same genetic story you are talking about. When they talked to Aboriginals and told them about their genetic origins the Aboriginals said "no we have always been here". They took samples from a man in Russia too finding a whole host of genetic information from him. If you haven't seen it, suggest you get hold of it, it would certainly fit in with these blogs of yours.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ida .. good to meet you and thanks for leaving a comment. The A-Z will be a fun ride!! Delighted you enjoyed the posting ...

@ Jo - thanks at that stage they were sampling everyone .. the interesting thing about this programme was the traceability of Eddie Izzards ancestors, including that Neanderthal link ..

Cheers Hilary

Laura Eno said...

Ack! I missed this segment!

I've never seen this Eddie Izzard and yet I look at him and think, "He could be my brother!"

And I have blue eyes...now you're telling me that's desirable and I shouldn't squint in the sunlight from lack of pigmentation. Why didn't you tell me this 30 years ago? I would have batted my eyelashes more.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Laura - no worries .. he certainly has an entertaining way with him .. he'd be fun to have around.

Sorry - we should have been blogging 30 years ago and I might have been able to tell you earlier .. if we'd had one of Alex's time machines to catapult us into the 21st century to catch up with science!

I wonder if batting our eyelashes makes that much difference ... perhaps not for me - being of the other variety .. for you - and your life would have been very different!

Cheers for now - Hilary