Monday, 18 May 2009

ALL our ancestors are from Africa?

Posted by Marcia

The Incredible Human Journey: Asia
Sunday 17th May 2009 @ 9:30pm

Yesterday I watched a fascinating programme on BBC2, which follwed the footprints of our ancestors, who originally left Africa about 70,000 years ago. The programme introduces how early hunter-gatherers survived in one of the harshest environment on earth - Northern Siberia, in which they managed to film a tribe in Siberia - who I think looked both East Asian and European. I personally thought I could sit amongst them and not stand out. I then wondered how many mixed Eurasian people felt the same whilst watching this programme!

In the latter part of the programme, they introduce a controversial claim that has been all very common in China, as taught at school according to the programme - the belief that the Chinese do not share the same African ancestry as others. Something I suspected to be part of a national regime to construct a strong national identity. This claim is refuted later, by a genetics research of thousands of DNA samples derived from Chinese people (lead by Li Jin at the National Human Genome Center) - it confirmed that all samples contained evidence that their ancestors were once from Africa.

If you missed this programme, you can still watch it online here until 9pm 18th June (UK time).

In fact, this is just one of the five series and you can watch the first piece here:

Interesting websites to read up on:

The National Genographic Project
Get your DNA tested to see the migration paths your ancestors followed thousands of years ago all the way from Africa:

Kenan Malik "The science of race and the politics of ignorance" 2008

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