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Ethiopia's World / የኢትዮጵያ ዓለም

Charles Darwin Was an Ethiopian

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on February 5, 2010

I thought I’ve seen Darwin somewhere near Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Well, “Lucy” could recognize her children very easily, and she won’t be quite amused by Charlie. And Prester John, he could probably give Darwin a lesson or two about the origin of Adam and Eve.

Genographic Project’s DNA Test Reveals Charles Darwin’s Ancestors’ Migratory Journey; Gives Insight into Deep Ancestry of Scientist Who Developed Theory of Natural Selection

It is something that Charles Darwin himself may never have imagined. The man who penned “On the Origin of Species”, the seminal work that hypothesized that all humans evolved from common ancestors, could now discover his own “human deep ancestry.”

Today, 200 years after his birth, DNA technology has helped determine who Darwin’s ancient ancestors were. Darwin’s great-great-grandson, Chris Darwin, 48, who lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, took a Genographic Project public participation cheek swab test analyzing his “Y” chromosome. According to Dr. Spencer Wells, project director of the Genographic Project, a research partnership between National Geographic and IBM with field support from the Waitt Family Foundation, Darwin’s deep ancestry shows his ancestors left Africa around 45,000 years ago.

I couldn’t wait to find out my family’s deep ancestry. I suspect that most people would be fascinated to know their family history over the past 60,000 years. After all, how can you understand who you really are, if you don’t know where you have come from?,” Chris Darwin said.

The test revealed that Chris Darwin, and therefore his paternal great-great-grandfather, Charles Darwin, are from Haplogroup R1b, one of the most common European male lineages. “Approximately 70 percent of men in southern England belong to Haplogroup R1b, and in parts of Ireland and Spain that number exceeds 90 percent,” Wells said.

The Genographic Project’s test results show that Darwin’s paternal ancestors would have migrated out of northeast Africa to the Middle East or North Africa around 45,000 years ago. Diverging from this Middle Eastern clan, a new lineage emerged in a man around 40,000 years ago in Iran or southern Central Asia. Before heading west towards Europe, the next mutation, which defined a new lineage, appeared in a man around 35,000 years ago. Men belonging to Haplogroup R1b are direct descendants of the Cro-Magnon people who, beginning 30,000 years ago, dominated the human expansion into Europe and heralded the demise of the Neanderthal species.

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