Timeline Of the Beginning of the Human Race

Human Origins.

As we sit in this place and hear those words it causes many thoughts to come to mind.  The topic is loaded with many scientific and religious connotations,

And yet, because we are able to clear our thoughts and stop, We can easily focus in on the place, the point in time, that naturally, we know is the most relevant to our species.

That point, we know, is the point in time when our distinct genome appeared on earth. And as for that, the point is not really a point at all. It is rather more of a time period.  The reason is simple.  The further back in time we go scientifically, the less precision we are able to assert in most disciplines.

However, we can be very confident of the order of magnitude, and scale.

What we know is that our distinct genome appeared approximately 200,000 to 250,000 years ago. 50,000 years is quite a span, we will grant, but by comparison to the millions of years that we once presumed we would find the human genome on earth, it is less significant.

And as for us, with our average life-span varying from 75 to 100 years, 200,000 years or 250,000 years, become quickly just numbers, as our eyes glaze over.

So let us pause, as we ponder the significance of this number and how we arrived there. This was arrived at principally by the study of mitochondrial D N A.  We will not go into the intricacies of this methodology, other than to say that scientifically speaking, it is one of the most trusted and reliable ways of tracking the history of a population and its origins. Any variations we find are not a result of methodological revision but rather of revisions of the data.

What is interesting about this number is first, neither the evolutionary scientists, nor the hard core Biblical literalists within the many branches of Protestant Christian sects, were inclined to accept it, based upon their pre-existing beliefs. For the first it was much too short, and for the latter it was much too long.

Indeed, as we think about this number of, let us say, 250,000 years for simplicity, we become aware of other anomalies and conflicts created in the theories and beliefs of evolutionary scientists. That is just not enough time for the evolutionary development of humanity from the nearest relative, the hominoids.  The differences are still vast.

But the principle problem in this evolutionary development is the fact that we have 46 chromosomes, 23 pairs, while all of the primates have 48 chromosomes, or 24 pairs. Close examination and comparison between primate D N A and human D N A, shows that the second and third chromosome of the human D N A are fused into one.

That kind of thing can happen randomly in nature, in a long enough time period, but to propagate it needs a breeding pair the same. And then, if it propagates it has to be tested in real world conditions for viability, and then it must become the dominant variant of the species by means of some advantage that the mutation provides.

250,000 years is way too short for such a thing, unless we slip into magical thinking.

As for the Biblical literalists, pretty much anything over 6,000 years is too long.  It must be said in fairness to Christians generally, the young earth segment of Christianity is not the only segment, and although vocal, they are not the most numerous among Christians.


However, there is another very good reason to take this number of 250,000 years seriously, besides the hard-core science that gave it to us in the first place. There is another source of historical record, that predates the Bible and many other histories of people from many parts of the world.

In this record we find a very similar calculation of the length of time that the human species has existed, in order of magnitude the same. For serious science, this should be an immediate flag to show what direction to pursue. 

But because the various branches of scientific study have little interest in comparing notes between disciplines, it has become possible for the genetic science to fix a time constraint on human D N A, yet when faced with a record that would shed light on this time period on earth, the archeologists and scientists of related disciplines dismiss that record as mythology.

Well, so be it.

We will look at the mythology, And we will treat that mythology as we treat any history that has been passed down, with open minds.

Just as Biblical scholars use various perspectives to assess what is written, the literal, the allegorical, the mythological and the spiritual senses.

And because we have open minds, we will seek corroboration with the geological, the paleological, the genealogical, and the archeological knowledge that runs parallel to our investigation.

As we sit here and think about this larger question, we find that the weight and constraints of previous indoctrinations and teachings start to ease from our shoulders.

We feel a shiver of anticipation go through us, knowing that we are about to embark on a journey toward the truth, in the realization that while this may indeed seem like a rabbit hole for some time, when we step out onto the great mountain on the other side and look over the vast plain before us, we will be at peace in the knowledge of who we are and how we got here.

In our next episode, we will begin the back story that we must know, in order to know ourselves.

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