What is the difference between humans? This was the question I asked myself as I was watching a documentary from Nat Geo called The Human Family Tree. It details the research being done by the people from The Genographic Project which attempts to trace the origins of Man – where we came from, and how we came to be. One very interesting thing I learned is that for all our superficial differences, we are all 99.9% identical in terms of genes. Now what does this have to do with anything? Here’s a breakdown:
According to the Genographic Project, we have about 20,000 to 25,000 genes. 99.9% of 25,000 is 24, 975. Now subtracting that number from 25,000 we get 25. Yes, as the numbers suggest, there are possibly only 25 differences in every human being. Of course, it’s just an average estimate. some people might have slightly more or slightly less than others.
Also, for those who don’t know what genes are, lets just say that it’s like a list of commands that tell each part of our body what to do, down to the cellular level. I’m sorry I’m no expert either so please feel free to do your own research on the matter. My point here is, that we are not so different, you and I.
Also as the results suggests, every living human right now have descended from one man and one woman in Africa who lived about 200, 000 years ago. Interestingly, they were called “Scientific Adam” and “Scientific Eve”. Yes, we all have a common ancestor. Regardless of who you are, what color of skin you have, what religion you practice, what gender you carry, and everything else that sets you apart from anyone you could think of, you are both related and you both came from the same person.
The racial and cultural diversity we have right now is only the result of thousands of years of migration and adaptation that resulted from that migration. It’s thought that the migration was simply for practical reasons, as the early humans didn’t control their environment. They went and stayed where there was food and everything else they need. When resources dried up, they moved again. Thus, different environments needed different adaptations, forming the different racial features. The distance from each group of course also created the different culture systems.
Knowing all this leads me to another set of questions: If we all share a common ancestor, then doesn’t that mean that we are all related by blood? Doesn’t that mean that we are all equal? Shouldn’t that mean that we should treat each other with love and respect? The scientific evidence proves it all. What is the point then of racial discrimination and prejudice? What is the point of treating other people like they are lesser beings?
Of course, twenty five or so different combinations plus the different environments and situations that we have been exposed to creates our individual differences and preferences, twenty five combinations that make us unique physically and a number of experiences that give us unique personalities. That is what makes us different from each other, but don’t we actually have more in common?
Every person is unique in their own way, and the uniqueness is what makes each person special. Uniqueness is good because it gives us a sense of self, a sense of identity, a sense of worth. Unfortunately, there are people who believe that they are above other people. Sadly there are people who belittle other people simply for looking different or holding different customs and practices.
Personally, I believe that we should all try to understand and accept the few things that make us different from other people, while still recognizing that we have so much more in common than our eyes could see. There is so much conflict that could be prevented if only we would try to understand each other. There is so much love to be shared if we only recognize that we are not so different from one another.
Thank you so much for reading brothers and sisters. I hope one day we will all come to understand and love each other. I dedicate this to Scientific Adam and Scientific Eve.
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