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Humanity was traced back to an African Eve (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Humanity was traced back to an African Eve (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CB621:

By analyzing the DNA of many different people, it is possible to learn the approximate date and location of their common ancestor. Scientists have done this with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from diverse human populations. Since mtDNA is inherited only from the mother, this traces humanity back to a common "mitochondrial Eve." Scientists say she came from Africa about 200,000 years ago, but the age may be mistaken, and Asia and Europe have also been suggested as the location, consistent with an origin from near Mt. Ararat. Mitochondrial Eve is consistent with Biblical Eve.


CreationWiki response:

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The "mitochondrial Eve," to which this claim refers, is the most recent common female ancestor, not the original female ancestor. There would have been other humans living earlier and at the same time. The mtDNA lineages of other women contemporary with her eventually died out. Mitochondrial Eve was merely the youngest common ancestor of all today's mtDNA. She may not even have been human.

While it is true that this data does not prove that mitochondrial Eve as our original female ancestor, that is not what is being claimed. It is possible that mitochondrial Eve was not the Biblical Eve, but rather her daughter, granddaughter or other female descendant, but that is not the point.

The actual point is that “Mitochondrial Eve is consistent with Biblical Eve” and it is. If one starts with the assumption that mankind started with a single couple then these results are expected.

Talk Origins' above Evolutionary spin is irrelevant to the correctness of this claim. Regardless of the Evolutionary interpretation given this data, it is still 100% consistent with the Biblical Eve.

2. The same principles find that the most recent human male common ancestor ("Y-chromosome Adam") lived an estimated 84,000 years after the "mitochondrial Eve" and also came from Africa

First of all, the 84,000 year figure assumes Evolution like the 200,000 year figure for mitochondrial Eve. That said, the indication that Y-chromosome Adam is younger than mitochondrial Eve is also predicted by the Biblical account since Y-chromosome Adam is not Adam, but Noah. And Noah was born at least 1000 years after Adam and Eve were created. So even though their evolutionary assumptions gave a larger gap, the Biblical order is still there.

2. The results assume negligible paternal inheritance of mitochondrial DNA, but that assumption has been called into question. Male mtDNA resides in the tail of the sperm; the tail usually does not enter the egg that the sperm fertilizes, but rarely a little bit does. It is also possible that there is some recombination of mtDNA between lineages, which would also affect the results. But these challenges have themselves been questioned.

So Talk Origins last desperate attempt to discredit the fact that mtDNA is consistent with the Biblical account, is to raise questions about the research.

Furthermore, as long as the data is based on direct comparisons of differences in DNA, then neither a little male mtDNA nor a little recombination would affect the common ancestor conclusion, but only serve to increase the rate of change.

See Also