Genome of Enigmatic Kennewick Skeleton Confirmed to be Native American

In 1996, a human skeleton washed out of a riverbank in Washington state. In time, searchers found roughly 90 percent of what was identified as a contemporary male of European descent. But carbon dating of the bones threw that ID out the window: the skeleton, which became known as Kennewick Man, was over 8,000 years old—he lived closer to a time when North America was devoid of humans than he did to the arrival of Europeans.

Source: Genome of enigmatic Kennewick skeleton confirms he was Native American

The skeleton did not wash up on the shores of the Columbia river, it was actually found by Will Thomas while watching the boat races (hydros) in the Tri-Cities and the rest of the skeleton was later found when they searched the area for more pieces.

A Handful Of Bronze-Age Men Could Have Fathered Two Thirds Of Europeans

Europe has surprisingly little genetic variety. Learning how and when the modern gene-pool came together has been a long journey. But thanks to new technological advances a picture is slowly coming together of repeated colonization by peoples from the east with more efficient lifestyles.

In a new study, we have added a piece to the puzzle: the Y chromosomes of the majority of European men can be traced back to just three individuals living between 3,500 and 7,300 years ago. How their lineages came to dominate Europe makes for interesting speculation. One possibility could be that their DNA rode across Europe on a wave of new culture brought by nomadic people from the Steppe known as the Yamnaya.

Source: A Handful Of Bronze-Age Men Could Have Fathered Two Thirds Of Europeans

This was interesting to encounter, as it came up in conversation at lunch.  Someone brought up the tidbit about Y Chromosomal Adam

On a related note, it’s interesting to look back on what a wedding is.  What the roles originally meant/signified…  If you read the Game of Thrones series (as the Wilding customs have not been covered on the TV series to date), the Wilding action of “taking a wife” is quite literal – in our history it’s known as marriage “by capture”.  It was a time long before customs and such were white washed by media in the likes of Disney, or even the Brothers Grimm.

What Made the Y Chromosome So Tiny?

The Y chromosome, a chunk of genetic code that is unique to male animals, isn’t just physically smaller than the X. It also contains far fewer genes. The X has more than 1000 genes, while the Y has fewer than 200 —and most of them don’t even work. Why do men have this odd, stunted chromosome in their genomes?

Source: What Made the Y Chromosome So Tiny?

Some animals already have lost the Y for good. And yet, they keep having male offspring. How? Nob0dy knows yet.

Study: Y-Chromosomal Adam Lived 208,300 Years Ago

Mitochondrial Eve is estimated to have lived between 99,000 and 200,000 years ago.   After all this time, she’s still sensitive about her age.

Dr Eran Elhaik from the University of Sheffield and his co-authors used conventional biological models to show that Y-chromosomal Adam is 8,300 years older than scientists originally believed. They put Y-chromosomal Adam within the time frame of the Mitochondrial Eve.

…The findings contradict a recent study – published in the American Journal of Human Genetics in February 2013 – which had claimed the human Y chromosome originated in a different species through interbreeding which dates Adam to be twice as old.

Source: Y-Chromosomal Adam Lived 208,300 Years Ago, Says New Study

How many “greats” would go before our shared grandfather?   The average generation time is about 25 years, so…208,300 divided by 25….  About 8,300 “greats”.

…and his name was probably one syllable.

Why don’t they just call him Mitochondrial Adam? Like Mitochondrial Eve…

Mitochondria are organelles (little functional units within our cells) that actually have their own DNA. When human offspring is conceived, only the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA ) from the mother is passed down to the mitochondria of the offspring.This means that the DNA of the mitochondria in all of your body’s cells is maternally inherited. This fact makes it very useful to trace maternal lineages.

In contrast, Y chromosomes (a chromosome is a big bundle of DNA) are always paternally inherited. When egg and sperm meet prior to fertilization, the egg is always carrying an X chromosome, but the sperm could be carrying either an X or a Y chromosome.

Depending on which chromosome the sperm is carrying (X or Y) the offspring will be male or female. If the sperm carries X, then the fused zygote will have XX producing a female and if the sperm has Y then the fused zygote will be XY producing a male.

TLDR: Mitochondrial DNA is inherited through the female ancestral bloodline, while Y chromosomes are inherited through the male bloodline. You get to the common female ancestor through mtDNA, and to the common male ancestor through the Y chromosome.

The Irony…

…of calling them Adam and Eve, but they lived thousands of years before the Bible suggests.  It’s not that things in the Bible didn’t happen, but it’s an unreliable narrator – we’re finding gaps in time when comparing things like star position, tide implications and such.  But I digress…

Adam is too much of a misnomer. Not exactly the “first man” – why not call him Y-Chromosomal Genghis?

  1. There is still a lot of baggage with the name “Genghis” in many places in the world
  2. More people understand the concept of Adam than how Genghis Khan spread his DNA so successfully. And if they did, it brings us back to point #1 [obligatory Fight Club reference] because he raped his way across a continent…