A question about past evolution on earth

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by EmoBorg, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Umm, you're confusing several different levels of relatedness, and I'm not sure whether you're joking or not. Really, if you go back as little as maybe 8 centuries, all humans are related to one another, because there's been so much intermarrying and common ancestors and so forth. So when we say two people aren't related, we're only saying they have no common ancestors for a few centuries back. Go back far enough and everyone is related on the level of having individual ancestors in common. And of course we're all members of the human species.

    But when we talk about species being related, naturally that's on a different level than the relationships between individual members of those species. There it's a matter of the species branching off from a common ancestor species.
     
  2. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    I was joking, but there was a genetic study of people in the UK that found something very surprising. Almost all people with the same last names are actually related, which implies that our surnames were chosen by either just one person or a very, very small group of people, contrary to the assumption that "Smiths" were everyone who worked as a smith, etc.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^That's interesting.
     
  4. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Go ahead, caller. I'm listening...
    How about this?:

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXL0WDZdELc[/yt]

    Note the uploader's name, for extra credit. :D
     
  5. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Gov Kodos on Mohammed's Radio, WZVN Boston
    And
    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul5h6bFZ1TQ[/yt]
     
  6. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    I was slightly mistaken. "Smiths" tend not to be related, but people with rarer surnames generally are. 40 Surnames study

    Another interesting study is here (pdf) where the researchers are using DNA and surnames to figure out more about Viking settlement in Britain.
     
  7. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So did I. :D As we usually think the same way I assume you, too, wondered if the currently dominating species on this planet can rightfully be called intelligent if it requires warnings like "peanut brittle. Warning: may contain traces of peanuts"
     
  8. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    There are about 200 people with my last name in Italy, most of them in the same town. I think it's a given we are all more or less related, including the ones living away from the original hometown like myself.

    The origin of the name is lost in time: it could go back to an ancient Roman family, but it's impossible to know for sure.
     
  9. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Indeed. :rommie:
     
  10. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A pity. Maybe you can find a source after all? They discover old archieves all the time and in your country the warm climate preserves documents rather well.
    I can trace my family back to the 1500s, but in my case it's really very simple as there have never been many of us (currently 11 in the whole world). Our name translates as "people who come from where they cut the shubbery" :D (and yes, we know the exact spot :) It's still owned by relatives of us)
     
  11. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    That's unlikely. Two thousand years does that.
     
  12. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Don't give up hope. Only recently they discovered loads of Roman military diplomas in a village nearby: carved on thin bronze sheets and completely legible
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Museum_Quintana_-_Milit%C3%A4rdiplom_2.jpg
    If your ancestors were belligerent, there's a chance you can trace them :D
    (also, there's always the possibility of genetic comparisms, particularly the mitochondrial RNA)
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Are you telling us that you're one of the Knights of Ni?
     
  14. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    That's interesting, but I am not particularly interested in researching it. Even if it turns out I am the direct descendant of a corrupt, debased, vile Roman consul, it would be nothing more than a cool topic to use at parties. ;)

    I know some people are genealogy enthusiasts, but I am not particularly into it.
     
  15. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, blame the lawyers for that one. People sue product manufacturers and win for less - in this case if you had a peanut allergy. Oh, and we can thank the lawyers on why at a Dr.'s office the voice mail message also says, ' ... if you're calling about a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911,' as if someone wouldn't already know to to so.
     
  16. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You ought to look for your noble roots. People should know these things. It might turn out that you're descended from someone very important, like the Mitochondrial Eve or the Y-chromosomal Adam.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Really, pretty much everyone is descended from a number of important historical figures. I mean, let's say as a simplifying assumption that each historical individual had an average of, oh, three children that each lived to adulthood and had three children in turn, and so on. So in successive generations they'd have 3 descendants, 9 descendants, 27 descendants, and so forth. After just 21 generations, then, they'd have 10 billion descendants, more than enough to include everyone on Earth. And that's only 4-500 years. Maybe that's overoptimistic, though, but even if the average number of surviving descendants is only 2, it would take about 33 generations to produce nearly 9 billion descendants, so maybe 7-800 years for one person's genes to spread through every individual on the planet. Although that's grossly simplified, of course, but it gives a sense of the magnitudes involved. Probably everyone you've ever heard of who lived 1000 years ago or more is a direct ancestor of yours, if they had any children at all, or a close relative of one if they didn't. So being descended from someone famous really isn't a big deal, if they're from that long ago.

    Then again, it only takes about 7-800 years for the genes of any single ancestor to be so diluted in the sheer mass of ancestors as to make no measurable contribution to your genome at all. So that kind of cancels it out.
     
  18. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Genealogy... the only pyramid scheme that works because everyone joins in! ;)
     
  19. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    The caveat to that is that some indigenous peoples don't really have a major historical figure because they weren't writing things down.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Even so, there would be more interbreeding there than you'd think. A number of the cultures that anthropologists have thought of as "pristine" and totally cut off from human contact since the dawn of time are often more like the descendants of formerly more connected populations that got driven into the wilderness by plague or invasion or something.