Maternal mitochondria, Izzy, & Me
My daughter Isabel and I recently decided to join in the human genome project. As the young brave one, she clean swabbed the inside of her cheeks twice and and sent the cells on to Natioal Geograhic. A few weeks later, we had information about our gretest of granmothers–our very own Eve.
Our ancesstress, like all of the human race, came from Africa. She didn’t emigrate inthe first great wave of migration but rather more conservatvely waited for the second. She and her daugher’s daughters noodled around in the horn of Africa for a bit before a sojourn in the Caucus Mountains and a visit to the Near East.
Then they broke out into western Europe and stayed there–getting as far as Italy, Spain, and Ireland. No wonder I’ve always wanted to visit the Caucus Mountains! Not to mention Barcelona!
Of course this was the Pleistocene era–and before. Neanderthal still shared the earth with Homo Sapiens. This is the old stone age–although I’m sure people were recognizably that–both good and evil.
My daughter and I were so excited. I was even weepy. We felt so connected–to each other–to the past. No one else in my family cared at all. What was to get excited about? So we were from the most common western European mitochondrial group. So what? How does that help our problems today?
Maybe it doesn’t. I just love the past–that unbroken chain of women back to the common African mother of us all. And so does Isabel.We must be related.