Heritage

Where You From?

People enjoy digging into their past, wanting to know who their grand-parents were. Their great-grand-parents and so on. I met people who dug a 100 or more years to trace their ancestry. They sometimes get astounded by the discoveries. Whether they're ancestors came from Holland, Germany, Poland, Slovakia or whatever.

This stuff never interested me. I found it boring and tiresome. So you're great-great-grand-dad was a baker in Denmark? And? The stuff that does interest me... is where are we really from? Ya have to go way further back. Further than human history. Let me ask you: Where do you think you came from? Who do you think your ancestors where? No, seriously.

To answer the question, first we travel back in time.

Around 4 Millions Years Ago,  An an ape climbed down from its arboreal habitat. I won't elaborate. Maybe there was pressure from other apes for the available food. Maybe a climate change caused food shortage. Whatever it was, the ape climbed down from its habitat and wandered the plains in search of food, shelter and whatever else the new vista contained.

This hominid was very special for two reasons.

First reason: It  walked upright. It was a biped. Most apes and simians walk semi-upright, but use their knuckles for support. Not this baby. This  one walked on two and only two feet. That meant a better view of the scenery. being up right meant it could see way better than other mammals. That's an advantage, when your hunting or being hunted.

I also meant less surface area being exposed to the hot African sun. This allowed the hominid to shed body hair which meant it could sweat more easily, to stay cool in the hot sun.

Another change for our ape great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, was a dietary change. No more living on fruit. No way. Now the hominid living on the savannah picked up scraps of meat left by other predators. Soon as he climbed down from the trees, he was a veggie no more. Meat entered the diet. This had two impacts on the human form. First, the brain enlarged due to a high protein intake. This was not possible on a veggie diet at protein intake was too low. Second, due to the change in the diet, which was now high nutrient, low bulk, the  alimentary tract reduced in size. It no longer had to be the size of an ape, which lives mainly on plants and shrubs, it could be closer to a canine or feline. Once meat became part of the diet, the body's intestines shrunk to accommodate.

Around 2 million years ago the first true humans branched from the ape line. They were called Homo Hablis. He used tools. Stone tools. Stones for killing and cutting animals.

Around 120,000 years ago an ice age formed(more correctly known as a glacial period). Sea levels were lower, as much of the water was locked up in ice. The area now known as the Sahara desert, that desolate plain in north Africa was a lush green forest. It may be hard to believe, but what is now desert was once a thriving dense forest. Climate change has been happening for millions of years. Don't let the scaremongers frighten ya into thinking its a recent man-made phenomena.

There is no certainty on the time of the first migration out of Africa, but best guesses say its around 120,000 years ago. A small group crossed from North East Africa to what is modern day Yemen. On their long trek, the first wave of migrants left around 120,000 years ago. They followed the coastline, probably fishing and headed up to present day India. They didn't rest there, another branch headed west and south, through the Islands the comprise Malaysia, Indonesia, and finally landing in Australia.

Some time later, the next wave believed to be around 100,000 years ago, probably under the pressure of further climate change, left Africa and followed the same route out along the Indian coast, but instead of heading south, they went  north and landed in present day Mongolia/China. At that time with sea levels lower and the frozen tundra, a frozen land bridge existed between Siberia and North America.

The frozen land bridge allowed a migration into North, Central and South America. It took around 10,000 years to colonise the American continent.

The last migratory wave out of Africa, headed north into central Europe. They reached the steppes and then headed westward.

This is not speculation, but based on scientific evidence.

Spencer Wells, a geneticist working for the Wellcome foundation in the UK, took DNA samples from peoples all over the world. He was able to map the movement by tracking the Mitochondria in samples collected.

Although we may appear different on the outside, on the inside, we share a common heritage. We are all the same colour within. We are all brothers (and sisters), like it or not.

And for those bible thumping proselytizers, the world was not created 6,000 years ago. That may be hard to swallow.

Done!