Christian Long

Spencer Wells: Builds a Family Tree for Humanity

In TED Talks on April 25, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Reflection by KIERSTON R.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Spencer Wells:  Builds a Family Tree for Humanity

This passionate speaker attempts to answer a question that we have been trying to figure out for years: where do we come from?

Sure, there is a possibility we came from some form of monkey, but who are our human ancestors? This is what geneticist Spencer Wells wants to find out.

If we take a look around it is very obvious that the human species is very diverse and spread out: how did this happen? Well, the simple answer to that question is migration, and while it may seem like it should have taken over a million years for people to migrate and obtain the diversity that exists today that is not true. Actually people only really started migrating from Africa about 60,000 to 70,000 years ago.

Why had they not migrated sooner?

Well the last ice age began about 125,000 years ago and at the end of it (roughly 70,000 yrs. ago) there had not been much change in human life in over previous 800,000 years. However, soon after the ice age art, culture, and communication began to develop to a new point and people were then able to migrate and form new civilizations that led to the ones we know today.

How did all this information come to be? Well, through DNA. Scientists have spent many years analyzing many samples of DNA and tracing it back to its human roots. While there is still much work to be done in this field, we have come a long way.

The information mentioned is just a rough summery of some of the baffling ideas that Mr. Wells addresses and, while I do not agree with everything that he said I still believe the idea of tracing human ancestry through DNA is fascinating . I would highly recommend this this talk to anyone who is interested in genetics because it it full of information.


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