Genetics News

“Genetic” Adam and Eve could have been contemporaries … ?

Spread the love

… says Christian Science Monitor:

Thousands of years ago, somewhere in Africa, lived a man who – probably – had no idea that he, among all the other men in his group, would go on to become humankind’s most recent common male ancestor. Scientists would call him “Adam.”

Now, a new paper published in the journal Science significantly narrows the time during which Adam could have lived – about 120,000 to 156,000 years ago – putting him in about the same time period as humankind’s most recent common female ancestor, often dubbed “Eve.” The research revises previous findings that dated Adam within a much longer period.

And the findings also ease recent doubts that the Y chromosome can reliably trace ancient lineage, renewing confidence that tracing and dating lineage using mutations in the Y chromosome could be critical in answering some of the vexing questions about how and where the first humans originated.

Here’s the paper:

Sequencing Y Chromosomes Resolves Discrepancy in Time to Common Ancestor of Males Versus Females

The Y chromosome and the mitochondrial genome have been used to estimate when the common patrilineal and matrilineal ancestors of humans lived. We sequenced the genomes of 69 males from nine populations, including two in which we find basal branches of the Y-chromosome tree. We identify ancient phylogenetic structure within African haplogroups and resolve a long-standing ambiguity deep within the tree. Applying equivalent methodologies to the Y chromosome and the mitochondrial genome, we estimate the time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) of the Y chromosome to be 120 to 156 thousand years and the mitochondrial genome TMRCA to be 99 to 148 thousand years. Our findings suggest that, contrary to previous claims, male lineages do not coalesce significantly more recently than female lineages.


6 Replies to ““Genetic” Adam and Eve could have been contemporaries … ?

  1. 1
    JoeCoder says:

    They’re using a mtDNA mutation rate of “2.3 × 10^?8 /bp/year” based on radiometric dating of human migrations, which is 54 times slower than the observed mtDNA mutation rate of “1.24 × 10^-6, per site per year” that we consistently get from pedigree studies.

    Using the observed rate would put mtEve at only a few thousand years ago, instead of the 99-148 thousand years ago they propose. I don’t know which is correct.

  2. 2
    Breckmin says:

    assumption junction what’s your gumption?

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    I wonder how they dealt with the ‘Noah bottleneck’:

    Does human genetic evidence support Noah’s flood? – Fazale Rana – video

    Book Review; Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man:
    Excerpt: The Bible claims that there was a genetic bottleneck at the Genesis flood. Whereas all females can trace their ancestry back to Eve (through the three wives of Noah’s sons), all males trace their Y-chromosomes through Noah (through his three sons). This predicted discrepancy for molecular dates of mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome data is actually seen in the scientific literature.

    The Non-Mythical Adam and Eve! – Refuting errors by Francis Collins and BioLogos – August 2011

    CMI has a excellent video of the preceding paper by Dr. Carter, that makes the technical aspects of the paper much easier to understand;

    The Non Mythical Adam and Eve (Dr Robert Carter) – video

    Adam, Eve and Noah vs Modern Genetics by Dr Robert W. Carter – 11 May 2010
    Excerpt: It comes as a surprise to most people to hear that there is abundant evidence that the entire human race came from two people just a few thousand years ago (Adam and Eve), that there was a serious population crash (bottleneck) in the recent past (at the time of the Flood), and that there was a single dispersal of people across the world after that (the Tower of Babel).1 It surprises them even more to learn that much of this evidence comes from evolutionary scientists.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Ah JoeCoder just read your post at 1, thanks, these new results are thus duly taken with a grain of salt!

  5. 5
    JoeCoder says:

    @BA77 on #3

    Dr. Carter considers the ancient date of Y Adam to be an unsolved problem, and I’ve never seen Fuz Rana mentioned that the observed rate of mtDNA mutations contradict his own dates. Either the radiometric dates or the molecular clocks have to be grossly incorrect. I don’t know which.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Semi OT: “Does the rock and fossil record speak of Noah’s flood or evolution?” – debate
    In a lively debate Young Earth Creationist Andy McIntosh & paleontologist Robert Asher joined me on the most recent show.
    listen at

    Of note, I side on the Old Earth side, but am impressed at the amount of evidence for something catastrophic happening fairly recently worldwide

Leave a Reply