> Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997 15:43:02 EDT
> From: Bruce L Jones <[log in to unmask]>
> On Thu, 17 Apr 1997 11:25:39 +0100 Martin Burns at EasyWeb Design
> <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> >A careful and extensive study of LOTS of women's mitochondrial DNA
> >has STRONGLY suggested that everyone who is alive today is descended
> >from one individual. While scientists have nicknamed her 'the original
> >Eve', they do not use this to support creationism, rather that
> >other family lines did not survive, this one did.
> It was recently admitted that this "research" was fraudulent and the
> assertions retracted by the researchers. It seems the *DID* have a
> religionist agenda after all.
Well, this I didn't know (and I don't think they will really do this,
as there have been a lot of follow-ups to this theory lately, and as
such it will continue to thrive for a while). However, what Scott
writes is describing the problem best:
<snipped a lot of good description>
> I've just spent quite a bit of time on the "Eve" hypothesis; you
> Now for the rub: Note how I said "parsimonious tree" above. The
> total possible number of ancestral trees that can be generated from
> 135 samples is a larger number than could be computed in the
> lifetime of the universe, if every atom in the universe were a
> supercomputer! To handle such a huge task, you need to begin with
> certain assumptions (such as Pacific Islanders are closely related
> to the Chinese). In fact, the order in which you INPUT the trees has
> a significant influence on what constitutes the most "parsimonious"
> tree. Other researchers have taken the same data used by Wilson, and
> after feeding it to a computer, have reached entirely different
> trees rooted in different times and places. Equally valid trees can
> be generated for human origins in Asia, North America (the Hopi are
> right!), and even Europe.
> And then you have the whole problem with assuming that the mutation
> rate is constant (which it isn't).
This are the two main problems with all of this theory, one could not
describe it better.
> So I take "African Eve" with a bit of skepticism.
I'd say not only a bit, but else I agree.
RAY (Raimund Karl,University of Vienna,Dep.of Prehistory)
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