Bioarchaeology

In Florida there’s a guy named Tom Robinson, and he’s freaking related to Genghis Khan. Well, maybe he is.

Or so says some outfit out of England called Oxford Ancestors. They’re a firm that is pioneering a burgeoning field called “bioarchaeology“. It all sounds very suspect, especially given what Oxford University geneticist Bryan Sykes, the founder of Oxford Ancestors says.

Oxford Ancestors, founded in 2001, offers DNA testing to people who want to test their genetic lineage.

Sykes believes that humanity’s common ancestry can be traced through DNA. In 1994, he linked a woman in Britain and a frozen 5,000-year-old corpse found in the Tyrolean Alps, all through their common DNA.

From the AP –

Sykes’ 2001 book “The Seven Daughters of Eve” claimed that 95 percent of Europeans are descended from seven tribal matriarchs – he dubbed them Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine and Jasmine – who lived between 10,000 and 45,000 years ago. He also believes most Europeans can trace their descent to “Five Sons of Adam,” and offers tests to identify these paternal ancestral clans by mapping patterns of DNA within the Y chromosome, the genetic material handed down from fathers to sons that changes little over generations.

Published in an article in the American Journal of Human Genetics in 2003, research suggested that 16 to 17 million men, most in Central Asia, shared a form of the Y chromosome that indicates a common ancestor.

Sykes says that the obvious candidate for this is Genghis Khan, who conquered almost all of Asia and fathered many children in the process. Of course, there isn’t any actual tissue from the Mongol ruler – whose tomb has never been found – the tests are based on an assessment of probabilities.

“This is circumstantial evidence but it is very good evidence,” said Sykes. “I think it does mean that people who carry this chromosome are direct patrilineal descendants of Genghis Khan.” How this chromosome came to be so prominent was that when he conquered new territory Genghis Khan would kill the men and routinely inseminate all the women.”

Now, this totally sounds like BS. But what I found funnier than the explanation about how this man was related to Khan was his response in finding out he was related to the conqueror. Again, from the AP –

“My first impression was, ‘Oh no, who is it?’ imagining it was Adolf Hitler or something like that,” said Robinson, 48. “So I was actually pleasantly surprised.”

Now, I know Adolph Hitler was responsible for the deaths of millions, but Khan wasn’t much better. He took over the Asiatic continent, and, according to Jack Weatherford, author of “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World“, the death toll estimate caused by Khan was roughly 15 million people over 5 years of conquest.

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