The Human Family Tree

Yesterday, I watched a documentary that put all the pieces together for me. The documentary was called, “National Geographic’s The Human Family Tree.” It follows The Genographic Project that was launched by National Geographic. They took DNA samples from various people of different descent to find out what we all have in common. The movie explains that almost all DNA is 99.9% similar. Within our DNA, we have similar markers that scientist can use to determine who we share DNA in the world with. They used these markers to determine the migration pattern of everyone in the world to trace all of our routes back to their origination.

All of the people in the world share a similar marker and it originates with a woman and man in Africa. The birthplace of the world was Africa.

The movies explores each race to discover and show the migration pattern from Africa to different countries. They said that humans remained in Africa for 3/4 of our existence. At one time, Africa was lush and fruitful. Most likely, climate change made it drier and turned the land into desert. Lack of food, resources, overgrowth in population or climate change may have been  the driving force for some of the Africans to journey to seek a new home. The migration from Africa to other countries was possible because of the ice age and low water-levels which meant the countries were connected.

It shows the path of migration moved through the Middle East, Asia, European countries into America with the furthest point being South America. They also explained why we look so different. Over thousands of years, Africans’ features and skin would’ve changed to adapt to the new climates they were inhabiting. In Africa, the skin was darker to act as a sunscreen to protect the people. When Africans moved to countries where the sun was rarely seen, they lost the melanin in their skin because their skin had to absorb the sun for them to survive. Therefore, their skin became lighter. Differences in features were developed to protect people in their new climates.

Basically, what I learned is that we all share the same birthplace and DNA. Race is just an adaptation to climate and, merely, an indication of our ability to survive. Even though we look different, developed different languages and cultures, we are all the same. Race does not actually separate us because we all originated from the same two people. It would be wonderful if the whole world could understand that we are all related. And, really, all of our differences are just adaptations to our environment.  Even emotional adaptations are a result of our mind’s attempt to protect us from a harsh environment.

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I hope that others will view this movie and develop your own opinion. I am interested to get my genetic background tested to find out my ancestor’s migration. Many people in the movie were surprised by their origins and I have a feeling there might be a surprise in my own.

I see the world differently now. I see myself in everyone else.