According to a study conducted by scientists at the University of Basel in Switzerland, all modern humans descended from a single couple who lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. That was before Netflix, so the pair had plenty of time to screw around.
This discovery means that you and I are related. Even worse for you, it also means you are related to President Trump. On the bright side, however, you should be able to get a job in his administration.
The researchers reached this “common ancestor” conclusion by delving into genetic databases and comparing “DNA bar codes”– snippets of DNA that reside outside the nuclei of living cells. According to the Daily Mail article I read, the report suggests that . . .
“. . . it’s not just people who came from a single pair of beings, but nine out of every 10 animal species, too.”
If I’m being honest, I don’t quite know how to interpret that statement. Does it mean that all species originated from Phyllis and George (which are the names I’ve given to that original couple)? Did Phi-Ge (which is what their contemporaries would have called the couple if they had had any contemporaries) not only spawn humanity but also what eventually became, well, this?>>
Or was that original pair even humanoid? After all, it says “a single pair of beings.” Maybe Phyllis and George were a couple of sea sponges on date night.
Then I read a bit further and found some clarification:
“Stoeckle and Thaler, the scientists who headed the study, concluded that ninety percent of all animal species alive today come from parents that all began giving birth at roughly the same time, less than 250,000 years ago – throwing into doubt the patterns of human evolution.”
Ah, okay. So it wasn’t a single couple of anything. Instead, it was a Noah’s Ark* kind of situation, where you had two of every species and they all just started copulating like crazy at about the same time, like modern humans do during a power outage.
The reason that this is big news among those who care about such things is that, apparently, 250,000 years is not that long ago in the evolutionary scheme of things. The scientists were surprised that the common genetic bar code is so young, and also because it seems to trigger a sale price on fair trade coffee if you run it through the scanner at Whole Foods.
According to the Daily Mail:
“This opens up the possibility of an inbuilt human evolutionary process wherein we break down and die out, leaving the need to start from scratch.”
That is a frightening supposition indeed, because, at my age, I’m too old to start anything from scratch, much less a species.
Another interesting finding is that human DNA has a shocking lack of diversity. According to Jesse Ausubel, Director of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University:
That doesn’t mean that Martians are idiots. Of course, the Martian would be able to tell the difference between a pigeon and a human, especially while brushing poop off his shoulder. It means that humans are no more different from each other than a pigeon is from another pigeon. It also means you may be able to use that same genetic bar code to save on kale.
What are we to make of all this? Well, first, we’re all much more alike than we are different, so we should stop focusing on our relatively small differences like skin color or state color. Instead, we should love each other, or at least each other’s mitochondrial DNA.**
And, second, just in case we’re nearing one of those periods when we “break down and die out,” we should begin looking around for a good couple to start us off again. I don’t think we want to leave something like that to chance. You could get people like these two rebooting the human race.
See you soon.