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by Adrienne Petterson © 2007     About Me

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Deep Ancestry - Inside the Genographic Project
by Spencer Wells
National Geographic
ISBN 0-7922-6215-8
Published October 2007 - Hardcover - 248 pages - $24.00

From the moment I watched the TV series on PBS, I was hooked.  The fact that the San Bushmen of the Kalahari are the ancestors of all man, according to geneticist Spencer Wells, all made so much sense.  And of course, we don't know for absolute certainty where we came from, so it's worth contemplating, or at least expanding our present options.  Being from Africa myself (south of the Kalahari), I found this fascinating.  Dr. Wells started off with the Y-chromosome "to infer when and how humans populated the planet."  On the book dust jacket it says, "Science tells us we're all related - one vast family sharing a common ancestor who lived in Africa only 60,000 years ago."  It's all in our DNA!  He talks about how the San moved away from Africa and moved to Australia first.  Markers in Australian Aborigines' blood showed traces back to the San, but not vice versa.  Then he goes on to India to connect up the dots.  There he found that in fact, they went to Australia via India.  Pretty heady stuff but supremely captivating and fascinating.  I won't pretend to even begin to understand what the heck he's talking about, nevertheless, I found it grippingly interesting.  How did the San get to Australia?  He tells us.  His next stage was to follow the second wave of San explorers who went to start the European, Native America, Eastern, and other branches, via the Middle East.  He also explores the way we got to look the myriad ways we do today.  He says, "DNA also carries the story of our ancestors written in its simple code.  We inherit our DNA from our parents, and they got it from their parents, and so on - right back to the beginning of life on Earth.  I found it much easier to watch his television program than to read the whole book.  Scientific minds (and curious lay people) will love this interesting book.
Conclusion - Truly fascinating and worth looking into.

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