Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Family of Man (and Woman)

Every once in a while something really amazing happens to you right out of the blue. You don't see it coming, it catches you off guard, and it leaves you stunned for a moment before you can respond to it. This recently happened to me when I discovered that I had a family member I never knew existed.

If you've ever read
Steve Danko's blog, you know that he is an excellent writer and an expert when it comes to genealogical research methodology. So when he wrote a recent blog entry sharing his discovery that he and I were separated at birth, I was was rendered momentarily speechless (O.K. because I was laughing so hard ;-) I mean, it's not every day that a girl finds out that she has an evil twin... or maybe I'm the evil twin, whatever!

Now, it's hard to argue with Steve's deduction based on the evidence he presented. He makes a good solid case for his premise. However, I couldn't resist the urge to do a little research of my own. And I too was able to come up with some very solid evidence that we are actually related. I offer you a recent article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (July 1, 2006) as proof that we in fact have a common ancestor. It turns out...

Roots of human family tree are shallow

...everybody on Earth descends from somebody who was around as recently as the reign of Tutankhamen, maybe even during the Golden Age of ancient Greece. There's even a chance that our last shared ancestor lived at the time of Christ.

With the help of a statistician, a computer scientist and a supercomputer, (Steve) Olson has calculated just how interconnected the human family tree is. You would have to go back in time only 2,000 to 5,000 years - and probably on the low side of that range - to find somebody who could count every person alive today as a descendant.

Furthermore, Olson and his colleagues have found that if you go back a little farther - about 5,000 to 7,000 years ago - everybody living today has exactly the same set of ancestors. In other words, every person who was alive at that time is either an ancestor to all 6 billion people living today, or their line died out and they have no remaining descendants.

So there you have it. Incontrovertible proof that Steve and I are related and were separated at birth. Hey, any theory backed up by a statistician, a computer scientist, and supercomputer must be true, right? Being the techno-geekette that I am, the supercomputer is what I put the most stock in. It's hard to argue with bits and bytes!!!

What's that you say? This article just proves that I'm related to everybody? Hey, don't dilute the special bond that Steve and I share with that line. We aren't just related... we were separated at birth!

This is what it feels like inside when you find new family!

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