Reality is sometimes stranger than we’d ever credit. Believe it or not but Scientists are actually saying that they can prove that Adam & Eve, that is a single set of ancestors, are parents to us all! Clearly an explanation of this ‘revelation’ is needed.
FIRST : A Bit of Background
Equally as incredible as our opening statement is the the fact that we’re all carrying around some alien DNA in our bodies! Not alien in the sense of little green men from outer space, but alien in that its stuff that wasn’t originally a part of us (or rather of our ancestors way back).
Mitochondria are found in pretty much every complex cell in our bodies. These very small organelles have their own separate DNA (aka mitochondrial DNA). It’s a legacy of the fact that mitochondria were once independent bacteria that evolved to live inside larger cells such as our own.
So, although they are now an integral part of the way our bodies work – they produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) an energy-carrying molecule our bodies use to transfer energy – technically once upon a time they were just hitchhikers.
SECOND : Finding Eve
As if the above weren’t fascinating enough, one feature of this mitochondrial DNA is that it is only inherited through the female line. This makes it possible for scientists to trace our maternal lineage and incredibly such analysis has pointed to the fact that we all share a single common ancestor who lived nearly 200,000 years somewhere in Africa.
That’s one female to whom every single one of us is related! Unsurprisingly, she is often referred to as ‘mitochondrial Eve’, ‘African Eve’ or mEve (catchy 😀 )
THIRD : Discovering Adam
Hold on to your hats because amazingly, there is also a male equivalent of mitochondrial Eve – Y-chromosome Adam. This is because the Y-chromosome is exclusive to males and is passed from father to son. As such, it has been possible for researchers to discover that all men are descended from a single male, again from Africa. As with mEve, where and even when exactly Y-Adam lived hasn’t yet been fixed upon.
As a final point it should be noted that current studies suggest Y-Adam was some 60,000 years younger than mEve … so the original toyboy then!