Friday, April 02, 2010

That's My Mom

Unless new information spontaneously appears from out of the blue, I am thinking that this will be my last post about DNA and our ancient lineage. However, one of those seven clan mothers from yesterday's post is mine, and I want to mention her specifically. I am referring to Jasmine, the youngest of the seven supposed daughters of Eve.

After taking us carefully through all of his DNA science in The Seven Daughters of Eve, Sykes takes off on a bit of a flight of fancy. Essentially, he creates what he deems to be a plausible story for each one. I say story because although he can make a fairly accurate guess as to the time and place where each woman might have lived, he certainly can't be spot on. More importantly, once he had chosen a specific time and place, he could only take a wild guess as to what each woman's life might possibly have been like. Despite the guessing, I feel that creating some sort of plausible account, helped me to relate to my clan mother a little more closely, putting flesh on the skeleton as it were.

Sykes located Jasmine about a mile from the Euphrates River in what is now modern Syria about 10 000 years ago. She lived in a round hut with a thatched roof in a community of perhaps 300 people. As with the six other matriarchs and all people everywhere at the time, this was a village that subsisted on hunting and gathering. She (and perhaps her husband in Sykes' story) noticed that seeds from previous gatherings would tend to sprout where they had dropped.

The next step was to begin to plant seeds deliberately: the beginning of perhaps the greatest change in human history — the Agricultural Revolution. Then, Jasmine began to save seeds from the better plants and thus began to improve the crops and yields. The community soon had a more reliable food supply than ever before, especially when others began to emulate her efforts. From this community, archaeologists and other scientists calculate that the idea quickly spread: in the case of this the subject matter of Sykes' book throughout Europe. The new reality of abundant food supply in turn created a very significant population explosion wherever the Agricultural Revolution went.

Almost 17% of modern Europeans are descended from Jasmine with two specific branches of settlement being evident. "One distinctive branch follows the Mediterranean coast to Spain and Portugal, whence it found its way to the west of Britain where it is particularly common in Cornwall, Wales and the west of Scotland." Meanwhile, another branch traverses through central Europe. Even today, this distribution remains evident.

Jasmine had no idea of what she started and how she changed the world, but change it, she did.

The End


Diana said...

I find this very interesting AC, I think you should keep posting about it. Or maybe I should just read the book! Love Di ♥

Bernie said...

I really enjoy these post A/C and I do hope you will write more, I am like Di, I this should read the book.....:-) hugs

Anonymous said...

So very interesting A/C. Please continue if you have more info. My and my husband's ancestry are from Great Briton.

Cathy said...

Au contraire!

Not boring at all. I am fascinated by genes.

I believe they are more powerful as determinates of who we are than has previously been acknowledged.

When you think about our very very distant ancestors, one cannot help be feel profound gratitude for our lives.

Theirs were 'nasty, brutish and short' and yet they managed to live, love and pass along the DNA - that is us.

Pretty amazing.

jinksy said...

I think it might explain the 'I know you!' feeling when we meet somebody for the first time...