I have always been fascinated by all things related to ancestry and felt so awed & insignificant, yet important & previleged ( in this chain of evolution ), while going through the sea of information that tells us the story of who we are and where we come from, the story in which Eve plays the most pivotal role.
Who was Eve ?
Contrary to common belief, she wasn?t the first woman to have lived on the face of Earth, although Homo Sapiens did seem to emerge around the time of this mtEve. Eve will have had ancestors of her own. She simply was the first and the only woman whose lineage continues TILL TODAY. Every single woman on the face of this earth can trace her ancestry back to this one single woman !
You only need a man who doesn't have any sons or a woman who doesn't have any daughters for one of those lines to die. A person?s maternal ancestry is traced by mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA for short. Both men and women possess mtDNA, but only women pass it on to their children. We all inherit our mtDNAs from our mothers, but not from our fathers. Your mother inherited it from her mother, who inherited it from hers, and so on back through time. Therefore, mtDNA traces an unbroken maternal line back through time for generation upon generation far further back than any written record.
According to the leading authority on evolution, Prof. Steve Jones the renowned geneticist, Eve lived 140,000 to 200.000 years ago probably in East or South Africa. Whereas Adam?s lineage starts only 65.000 to 100.000 years back in Central Africa.
Among the many possibilities of how did Eve?s lineage continue through time in absence of a male, leads to the possibility of mating with other species of Hominin. Since several subspecies of Hominids existed concurrently through out the time period encompassing a number of Out Of Africa migrations, perhaps there was interbreeding among Homo Sapiens ( Eve?s lineage) & these species.
Also, the virgin birth, although the odds would have to be tremendously high for that, can not be ruled out as a scientific possibility.( Steve Jones )
So what does it say of this woman, whose lineage was biologically far more evolved by the time Adam made his appearance 100,000 years later ? I?d imagine this woman was smart, intelligent, resourceful, possessed great adaptability and needless to say, was tough. Her DNA survived? through many superglacial Ice ages, droughts, deluges, hostile competition from other hominids, to name a few of the odds her ?daughters? faced.
So here?s a tribute to this woman, the Mother of all Mankind, the world's first superwoman and my source of inspiration for this series !