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  • Patricia Wilcox

62. Who Are You, and Where Do You Come From?

Updated: Apr 16


How well do you really know yourself? Usually we will know our ancestral family names and birthplaces, but what of our nationality? And is our nationality the same thing as our race?


Until recently the answers seemed fairly simple and well known. People didn't move around much.


However, as processes of migration occurred with more frequency over greater areas, information on our origins became more complex.


Today we know that we come from 'all over'. Today we can prove that all modern humans have a common ancestry. The truth is clear that together we possess a bit of everything; we are all one single human species

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According to a study published in the journal 'Science', all humans are 99.9 per cent identical with only a tiny 0.1 per cent difference.


We are 'walking history books' who carry the traces of all our ancestors in our cells.

The advent of cheap genetic sequencing enables the history of modern-day humans to be clearly revealed for the first time, confirming the theory of one single, common origin for everyone. ---https://www.theguardian.com/science/commentisfree/2015/may/24/business-genetic-ancestry-charlemagne-adam-rutherford


Recent DNA evidence confirms the “Out Of Africa” hypothesis that all modern humans stem from a single group of Homo sapiens who emigrated from Africa 2,000 generations ago and spread throughout Eurasia over thousands of years. These settlers replaced, rather than interbred with, other early humans (such as Neanderthals).


Until now, one of the main reasons for doubting this “Out Of Africa” theory for the recent African origin of modern humans - a doubt of special relevance to my own Pacific corner of the world - was due to inconsistent evidence from Australia.


Skeletal and tool remains found there are strikingly different from those elsewhere on the “coastal expressway” – the route through South Asia taken by the earliest settlers.


However, a genetic survey, produced by a collaborative team led by scholars at Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin Universities, shows that Australia's aboriginal population did in fact spring from the same tiny group of colonists as their New Guinean neighbours.


This showed that both Aborigines and Melanesians share genetic features linked to the exodus of modern humans from Africa 50,000 years ago.


Just how far back can we trace our DNA? The answer is; about 700 years. The Mitochondrial DNA Full Genomic Sequence test shows that you and I have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 5 generations (about 125 years). So you and I are just distant cousins!


Today as we roam with increasing ease across the entire planet, we recognise the absolute validity of the words of Bahá’u’lláh spoken nearly 2 centuries ago: "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

“It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world.”

And again,  “Through the power released by these exalted words,” He explains, “He hath lent a fresh impulse, and set a new direction, to the birds of men’s hearts, and hath obliterated every trace of restriction and limitation from God’s Holy Book.” --The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, A World Religion 15.


The core focus of the Baha'i Faith is the establishment of principles and laws that will prove capable of addressing the needs of this great, timeless and ever-growing global community.