Not long ago I received my DNA ancestral profile back from the National Geographic Genome Project. I did a simple mouth swab for DNA and sent it to the project. I have good news and bad news. My Y chromosome results identify me as a member of halo group R1b, a lineage defined by a genetic marker called M343. This halo group is the final destination of a genetic journey that began some 60,000 years ago with the ancient y chromosome marker called 168 originating in Eastern Africa.
It seems my personal DNA, the stuff that makes me who and what I am today managed to cross the southern Red Sea about 60,000 years ago in the area of Yemen. This was a tad easier than today as an ice age was locking up much of the water on the planet and the crossing was much easier than today. Spreading north, as Marker 89 through the Arabian Peninsula, "I" migrated across Iran and Iraq into Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and on into the area of Pamir Knot, a four mountain confluence on the Eastern Himalaya. dragging Marker 9 along with me.
It was here someone said go south into India but my ancestors said, "no we shall go north" into the Asian Steppes about 40,000 years ago. After another 5000 years, my DNA had to make a choice. Someone said on the steppes said "we're heading east," and became the Siberians who crossed the Bering Straits and became the first Americans. The Navajo are the direct descendents of these ice savvy Siberians. That was my one chance to become one of the True People.
My DNA, however, headed West as Marker 173 across modern Russia and slide into Europe as Marker 343 35,000-30,000 years ago as Cro-Magnon heading into what today is Western Europe. It was here my DNA routed the Neanderthals who had been surviving nicely as not quite us in Europe for the previous 200,000 years. They walked out of Africa long before I did in the form of Homo Erectus and adapted in Europe to the harsh Ice Age environment. They had little self consciousness and aren't our direct descendents. No humans in Europe today have yet to be found with any remnant of Neanderthal DNA. In 200,000 years they never changed their stone tools and living seemed to be in the moment without vision, insight or the consciousness we have today. My DNA was smarter in the form of Cro-Magnon, the people responsible for the intriguing cave paintings in Lascaux Cave in southern France. My DNA drove their DNA into southern Spain where they died out perhaps as little time ago as 18,000 years.
Finally, with Europe warming and glacial ice withdrawing north, my DNA ancestors moved into Britain and Ireland. They evidently hung out there for most of what we know as civilized history, yeah right, finally made the jump across the Atlantic at the end of the 19th Century, settled in Rochester, NY. It was here I learned that I had no DNA trail but rather was a direct descendent of the long lost tribe of Zebulon, being one of the truly true people, Dutch. After all, if you ain't Dutch, you ain't much... :)
Naw, just kidding. Yes I am Dutch, but my DNA never took the trip north out of Africa into Israel. When my DNA got to Iraq, it never looked back and went east not west with our dear father Abraham. It seems my DNA insisted on a much more difficult way to get to Europe over a period of 35,000 years completely bypassing Israel. I guess we might conclude if "I" was never there, and I am Dutch, then I am going to have give up the idea I am one of the descendents of the Lost Tribes of Israel. Actually I did long ago.
In fact, my DNA tells me I am a black African Saudi Iraqi Iranian Eurasian who made a choice to head north from the Himalayas into the steppes of Asia, and then West bypassing the Middle East and sliding into Europe 30,000 years ago after a 30,000 year trek to become me 55 years ago.
Ya gotta love science Goodbye bad theology. Goodbye exclusivism and false prophecies. Goodbye the idea that Shem, Ham and Japheth brought us the White, Black and Yellow races. Our skin changed color as we moved north where we no longer needed the massive darkening protection of melanin and did need to literally lighten up so we could receive enough sunlight to produce vitamin D for our bones. Someone tell the clan they all started as a small, incredibly tough tribe of "black" men and women who needed to move out of Africa on the worlds most amazing journey, over 60,000 years ago. And goodbye to a mere 6000 years since a literal Adam and Eve weren't our literal first parents. The implications are both stunning and troubling for fundamentalists.
We are all one after all. Be loyal to your family genes...Vote Obama!
Dennis Diehl is a former pastor who outgrew the box.