Fascinating book about our genetic heritage

For those who are curious about humanity’s common genetic origins, may I introduce the book Mapping Human History by Steve Olson. Here are three quick factoids from the book:

  • We all came from Africa. That may come as a surprise to many, but unless you want to throw science out the window and cosy up to creationism, that’s as much of a scientific fact as anything.
  • It’s impossible to accurately trace our family trees, no matter how well written records are kept. Why? According to medical research, there’s about a four percent chance of mistaken paternity. And the more generations you go back, the wronger it gets.
  • On the other hand, if you go back far enough, it is very likely that any one particular ancestor is your ancestor. Keep in mind that as you go back in time, the number of ancestors increases exponentially. After a certain number of generations, the number of ancestors you have is greater than the number of people living on Earth at the time. How is this possible? We’re related to each other through multiple lines of descent.

Don’t believe me? Read the book.

Mapping Human History by Steve Olson

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