MYTHS OF MODERN BIOLOGY:
by Andrew Ryan
A CRITIQUE OF THE AFRICAN 'EVE' THEORY
The "African Eve" or "Mitochondrial
Eve" hypothesis is an example of political correctness in biological
theory. Its basic idea is that modern humans can all be traced to one
woman in Africa. Africa then is the mother of us all. Further, the divergence
of people into races only occurred about 100,000 years ago. Hence racial
distinctions are trivial in evolutionary terms.
The "African Eve" hypothesis
has been put into the service of racial nihilists who wish to eliminate
the White race (and especially the Nordic sub-race) through race mixing.
If racial differences are trivial ("only skin deep") then
there can be no objection to race mixing. For those who believe that
race matters, the "African Eve" hypothesis must be refuted.
This essay will offer such a refutation.
The basic biology behind the "African Eve"
theory is as follows.
While most of our genes are coded for in the DNA of the cell nucleus,
some are in the cytoplasm, associated with mitochondria, the site of
much of the cell's energy metabolism. Mitochondrial genes lack the introns
and long expanses of functionless DNA found in the nucleus, and mitochondrial
DNA (mtDNA) evolve quickly. Such DNA lacks repair enzymes which correct
mutations, so that genetic changes accumulate at around 10 times the
rate of nuclear DNA.
The standard "African Eve" theory holds that mtDNA is maternally
inherited because sperm provide no mitochondria to the fertilized egg.
This is an absolutely crucial assumption of the theory and if it is
false (which it is) the theory immediately collapses.
On this view mtDNA contains a matrilineal history
- a history of women. It was allegedly found by Rebecca Cann, Mark Stoneking
and Allan Wilson in 1987 that mtDNA was most variable in Africans, so
they concluded that this lineage must be the oldest. They construed
a computer program to represent a tree of relatedness, and surprise,
surprise, found that all existing humans were descended from a woman
who lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago (a figure to be reduced
to 100,000). Although this "Eve" was not the only woman alive,
she was the one who is the "mother" of existing humanity.
However, while a controlled media was quick to
pronounce that this somehow showed that race did not exist and that
all mankind was one, it was soon shown that the shape of the genetic
tree was affected by the order in which the data was entered, so an
African origin is no more likely than an origin elsewhere as a multitude
of alternative conflicting models can be generated. Eve, it seemed,
was no more than a statistical artefact.
Others have attempted to get around these statistical
problems. The Eve theory competes with the "multi-regional"
hypothesis which holds that "throughout the past 2 million years
humans have been a single wide-spread polytypic species, with multiple,
constantly evolving, inter-linked populations, continually dividing
and merging." The Eve theory seems to be favoured because it
is said to show that racial characteristics are relatively new and unimportant
- something which does not logically follow from the theory.
Racial differences could involve a major evolutionary
Unfortunately for the politically correct, the African Eve theory has
it that modern man was formed in Africa and did not interbreed with
Homo erectus and the Neanderthaloids. The mtDNA of Neanderthals differs
significantly from modern Europeans, making it likely that the Neanderthals
were not the ancestors of modern Europeans. It is probable that modern
humans wiped out Homo erectus and the Neanderthals in acts of "racial"
genocide - a real Holocaust.
The Eve model, like all such models of human
origins is based on assumptions. First, one must evaluate mtDNA sequence
data. Second, an estimate must be given of annual substitution rates.
To calibrate substitution rates an out-group is needed as well as a
figure giving the time of divergence between the out-group and the population
Chimpanzees are often used as an out-group, with five million years
as a divergence rate. But problems immediately arise. The current data
of human/ape divergence is hotly disputed. It is assumed that molecular
clocks tick at the same rate in apes and humans - but it is not known
if this is true. Further, mtDNA databases contain numerous errors.
There is no agreement as to the mutation rate
of mtDNA. A slow "inconsistent" mutation rate could give a
figure for Eve of 800,000 years ago, while a figure of as little as
6,500 years has also been obtained. The 6,500 year figure is incompatible
with evolutionary theory, but immediately seized upon by special creationists.
Other theorists have questioned whether phenomena such as light skin-colour
could have evolved in "short" time-periods such as 100,000
years, and although accepting the thesis of African genesis, opt for
the upper figures. An upper figure will defeat the idea that racial
differences are both "new" and insignificant.
The field is highly speculative.
Goodhart has inverted "African Eve", arguing that sematic
flushing and blushing evolved under pale skin and that dark skin came
later.  Charles Darwin also held this view.
Clearly this entire field is highly speculative and politically motivated.
Its participants have cloaked the area with a mist of 'techno-science'
through the use of molecular biological techniques. Professor Henry
C. Harpending of the University of Utah's Anthropology Department, has
argued that current genetic approaches to unravelling human ancestry
may be distorted.
Geneticists have largely studied neutral markers
rather than adaptive genes. Biologically different populations may have
many neutral markers in common from interbreeding, although they may
differ in adaptive genes. Thus a study based on neutral markers would
be biased for giving relatively recent common ancestry for groups and
underestimate the time of divergence.
Finally, as was noted earlier, the African Eve
theory assumes that only mtDNA is transmitted from mother-to-offspring
through the egg cytoplasm. But this is known to be false. Most mammalian
sperm, including humans, do in fact pass on mtDNA of the egg at fertilisation.
Human sperm mitochondria can be identified in the embryo for several
days after fertilisation.
All of this was ignored by the politically correct establishment (which
resembles an intellectual Mafia) because it would destroy the "African
Eve" theory and its 'multiracial miscegenationary' power.
1. See C. Stringer and R. McKie, African Exodus: The Origin of Modern
Humanity, Henry Holt, New York 1997. Even more politically correct
is Bryan Sykes, The Seven Daughters of Eve, Bantam Press 2001.
Sykes is well known for arguing that human races don't exist. Yet he
claims to have found Korean DNA signatures in Norwegian fishermen and
African DNA in a White dairy farmer in rural England. If "races"
don't exist, then these claims are conceptually nonsensical: what after
all is "African DNA" and "Korean signatures"?
2. M. Wolpoff and R. Caspari, Race and Human Evolution, Simon
and Schuster New York, 1997.
3. T.W. Holliday, "Body Proportions in Late Pleistocene Europe
and Modern Human origins", Journal of Human Evolution, vol.32
1999. However, according to University of Pennsylvania anthropologist
Alan Mann, Neanderthals had microscopic structures on their teeth enamel
which are very similar to the enamel of living Europeans. The differences
between the enamel of living Europeans and living Africans is far greater
than between Neanderthals and living Europeans. Africans share many
traits with extinct hominids and apes. The differences are so great
that other races could not have recently evolved from Africans. The
sub-Saharan African Dental Complex indicates ancient characteristics:
J.D. Irish, "Ancestral Dental Traits in Recent Sub-Saharan Africans
and the origins of Modern Humans," Journal of Human Evolution,
vol.34, 1998. On the genocidal implications of African Eve see A. Thorne
and M. Wolpoff, "Conflict Over Modern Human Origins",
"Search", vol.22, no.5, 1991; R. Leakey, The Origin of
Humankind, Phoenix, London 1996; I. Tattersall, The Last Neanderthal:
The Rise, Success and Mysterious Extinction of Our Closest Human Relatives,
Macmillan, New York 1995.
4. C. Herrnsdadt (et al) "Errors, Phantom and Otherwise, in
Human mtDNA Sequences", Journal of Human Evolution, vol.72,
5. S.M. Itzhoff, The Inevitable Domination by Man: An Evolutionary
Detective Story, Paideia Publishers, Ashfield, 2000.
6. B. Chiarelli, Man Between Past and Future, Institute for the
Study of Man, Washington DC, 1995; C. Wills, "When Did Eve Live?
An Evolutionary Detective Story", Evolution, vol.49, 1995;
T.J. Parsons (et al) "A High Observed Substitution Rate in the
Human Mitochondrial DNA Control Region"; Nature Genetics, vol.15,
1997; M. Nei, Human Evolution at the Molecular Level, in T. Ohta
and K. Acki (eds.). Population Genetics and Molecular Evolution,
C. Springer, New York 1985; E.M. Miller, "Out of Africa: Neanderthals
and Caucasoids", The Mankind Quarterly, vol.37, no.3, Spring,
7. C.B. Goodhart, "The End of the Neanderthals: A Speculative
Essay", The Mankind Quarterly, vol.40, 2000.
8. C. Darwin, The Decent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex,
Murray, London, 1871.
9. G. Whitney, "Traditional Anthropology Resurgent",
American Renaissance, August, 1999.
10. J. Cummins, "Seminal Myth", New Scientist, September
28, 1996, B. Fowler, "A Genetic Tool to Track Evolution - Or
Is It?" New York Times, January 25, 2000.