Our world, as we know it today, wouldn’t be the same without the cycle of life. Each person is born through the process of reproduction, wherein we came from our mother’s womb – so do our parents and so on. If we trace back our origins in the family tree, we’ll come across thousands of generations of people living in different circumstances. With this said, we might come to think that our existence must originate from somewhere and a particular time.
That is why the origins of the human race have been a subject of research around the world. Until today, there are still several mysteries as to how human life on Earth began. Interestingly, several scientific beliefs came to the scene, which shows a brief explanation of the origins of life. On the other hand, some people believe in the accounts in the Bible, wherein Adam and Eve were the first humans to ever lived on Earth.
Moreover, some scientists and researchers claim that the human race started from a single woman, which is the maternal ancestor of all living humans today.
In this article, we are going to look into one of the believedorigins of themother of all humans living today.
According to the findings of modern research, we can trace our history back to a single person. This person is what scientists believe as the mother of all humans living today named Mitochondrial Eve, also known as mtEve. Researchers coined the name from mitochondria, which is the powerhouse of the cell, and the biblical Eve.
Studies show that she lived roughly 200,000 years ago, most probably in Eastern Africa.MtEve was the only living female of her time, and her female contemporaries failed to produce a female line to any living person in the present day. Meaning to say, mtEve’sdescendants are the only people who survive today. Furthermore, the descendants of others most probably have gone extinct.
This data is a result of mitochondrial DNA analyses. During fertilization, the mother and father’s DNA combine in a process called recombination. Through this process, the mother or father passed down a particular DNA down to the offspring. Since the mitochondrial DNA is found in the energy-producing centers of cells, it can only pass down the maternal line. Over an extendedperiod, the mitochondrial DNA would undergo mutations.
Through this natural process, scientists can compare the DNAs of various people and identify their similarities. Furthermore, they can find out the approximate period during which a particular mutation lived. Because of these experiments, modern scientists reached their conclusion regarding the Mitochondrial Eve.
Who are the scientists that studied mtEve?
Allan Wilson of the University of California is the first scientist to researchmtEve. Wilson, along with a few of his students, conducted various studies about the Mitochondrial Eve.
In 1987, the work of various scientists came to the conclusion that all current humans were descendants of a single woman. This new theory became a significant contrast to the different prevailing multiregional belief, which was proposed in 1984.
The first appearance of the name Mitochondrial Eve was in 1987, when the author, Roger Lewin, included it in an article in the magazine “Science.” Lewin created the article in the said magazine with the title –The Unmasking of Mitochondrial Eve. Several scientists call mtEve with a different name, the Lucky Mother.
Apart from this, scientists have another study regarding the origins of the human race. Similar to Mitochondrial Eve, studies show that there is a specific male from whom all humans descended. This male is what researchers call Y-chromosomal Adam, wherein they derived the name from Y chromosomes found in a person’s DNA and the biblical Adam. Scientists speculated that Y-chromosomal Adam lived roughly 100,000 years ago. In the case of males, the inherited DNA is the nuclear Y chromosome rather than the mitochondrial DNA.
This excellent study is only one of the many theories and beliefs about the origins of the human race. Over the years, various studies and claims continue to widen in hopes of gaining a full understanding of life’s origins. In our modern world, many scientists and researchers are still studying the history of life and unraveling its mysteries.