Talk:Mitochondrial Eve/Archive 1

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Mitochondrial Eve is the last common ancestor of all humans alive today, but this article states that Mitochondrial Eve is the last ancestor of an unbroken line of daughters alive today, and that some of the population does not decend from this Mitochondrial Eve. This is in error, and should be fixed.

The claims in the article are correct. Mitochondrial Eve is not the "last common ancestor of all humans alive today", she is the most recent common mitochondrial ancestor. The article does not state that she is "the last ancestor of an unbroken line of daughters alive today", but the most recent common mitochondrial ancestor. The article does not state that "some of the population does not decend from this Mitochondrial Eve", it states that in addition to carrying the mitochondria of Eve, people may carry nuclear DNA from other women alive at the time of Eve. It is possible that all humans have a common female ancestor more recent than Eve, but Eve is the most recent common ancestor in an unbroken line of daughter to daughter. Rmhermen 02:56, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Large population?

This article says that at all points in human existance, there has always been a "large population" of humans. But in the article for "Human", it says that at one point the population of humans was relatively small and that there was a population bottleneck: "Geneticists Lynn Jorde and Henry Harpending of the University of Utah have concluded that the variation in the total stock of human DNA is minute compared to that of other species; and that around 74,000 years ago, human population was reduced to a small number of breeding pairs, possibly as small as 1000, resulting in a very small residual gene pool." While this is well after the time of Mitochondrial Eve, the article still says that there has been a large number of humans for ALL the time we've been here.

See the newly edited section 'Eve and the Out-of-Africa theory'. The bottleneck misconception was due to people focusing on only one phylogenetic tree based on mtDNA. When you compare all trees based on many nuclear genes and mtDNA, no such population bottleneck is found. Fred Hsu 15:33, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


Suppose 100 women lived concurrently with mitochondrial Eve.

What if all of us (humans) are descended from several, or all, of these 100 women ? Then they're all our ancestors, and this becomes easier to understand -- it is a simple bottleneck; we're all descended from the people who were alive then.

Is this idea ruled out by current knowledge ?

But the "tags" that are formed by the genetic variation in the mitochondria that we all share show that, before those 100 ancestors you're thinking of, we all happen to be descended from one female. She was not the only woman alive in her time of course, just the only one who gave rise to a line of female descendents who didn't die out, line by line. For a male version, compare the genealogy of a house, like Nassau, that eventually didn't have any male descendents.

Question: "one woman—possibly one pre-human woman—" a "pre-human" just 100,000 years ago? This bit has been inserted by a fan of Carleton S. Coon I suppose. A last-ditch attempt! Any way to remove it without stirring up a lot of anger?... Wetman 05:48, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Sorry for the stupid question, but isn't it a bit unlikely that there should have been such an incredibly narrow bottleneck of only one female? I mean, one thousand or one hundred would sound OK, but exactly 1? If we take this mitochondrial similarity stuff as a scientific puzzle, does this sound as a plausible explanation?

By the way, does this not involve a terrible amount of inbreeding? --Tamas 09:14, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Tamas, species doesn't evolve, but individual organisms do. There is no way for the entire human race to evolve collectively. Every new step in evolution starts with one organism. -FredrikM

Species don't evolve? So every species is intact since they arrived, and they all converge on one ancestor of their own? - Jerryseinfeld 11:26, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Is it not possible - at least theoretically- that two or more organisms of a species start to evolve at the same time in the same direction by coincidence? (or because they face the same challenges etc)--Tamas 11:40, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Yes, but the chances of that would be insanely low gracefool 02:13, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Shouldn't the picture show someone that is much darker skinned? That was always the impression I got when reading on this subject. Also is there any mention of the non-mitichondrial contribution of other contemporaries of Eve to modern humans. Just because the mitochondria came from Eve doesn't mean the entire genetic make-up of all her descendants is solely hers. Rmhermen 13:24, Jul 28, 2004 (UTC)


The picture isn't great, 150,000 years ago and decorating herself with jewellery. She looks more like a neolithic Asian.

Also there should be some mention that Mitochondrial Eve is not our only, or even a particularly recent common ancestor. Zeimusu 14:52, 2004 Jul 28 (UTC)

I'm in agreement. How did this get to featured article standard? It is useful to have stuff on evolution. I did an emergency save of the , indicated the picture was an artists impression, and changed family tree (based on birth death and marriage records in history) to phylogeny (based on DNA sequences), and noted that there was a population rather than a single foundress. I think the present article is up to standard now. Dunc_Harris| 18:08, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

How do you know what a neoltihic Asian looks like? Where in Asia exactly? I know it's wikipedia, but i think people need to be alot more careful about the language they use.

Statistics section

The "Statistics" subsection of the "Challenges to the theory" section seems rather out of place and inadequate for its purpose. First, it isn't a challenge; it's support for the theory based on probability. Second, it asserts that the predicted outcome is "inevitable", making a statement about "a side effect of the dynamics of the system", but doesn't really explain this. (Oh, and "bound to happen inevitably" is redundant.) Third, the phrase "Think about it", as if a moment's thought about complex probability calculations without actual documentation — usually the province of mathematicians — could be expected of the average reader of an evolutionary theory article.

But the worst part is the "Think about it" phrase, followed by an analogy that assumes quite a bit about readers' facility with probability theory. For this analogy to produce results analogous to the "mitochondrial Eve" theory, it appears (to me, at least) that after many generations, we should expect that all the counters would have the same color of only one of the original triangular (female) counters, just by random selection. (The text doesn't state this conclusion; it assumes the reader finds this final state obvious.) "Common sense" might very well lead one to expect that most of the colors would be reproduced into further generations. (It's a race between the expansion of the population, which increases the number of random picks per generation, and the loss of colors in each successive generation, based on the small but finite probability of any given color not being selected in that generation.) Of course, common sense is an unreliable guidepost in probability, which often produces results that defy intuition, but that's exactly why such a terse example provides no real illustration of the point. We need a better illustration, it should go in an appropriate location, and it shouldn't assume probability knowledge that isn't intuitive to anyone but mathematicians. — Jeff Q 09:27, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I concur. It is misplaced and poorly explained. I was of half a mind to just delete it, but a discussion is probably more appropriate. Noisy 11:06, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I agree and have deleted it. It was all factually correct (a truism even) except for the conclusion "it's not evidence for a single Eve". As Jeff Q said, it actually supported the theory. Nurg 07:32, 31 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I'm sorry to see it go completely, as I think it's an interesting and relevant point — just not where it was. I was playing with a simulation script that would illustrate the point made, but I hadn't figured out how to make it available for curious readers, nor have I had much bandwidth to devote to it. It still would have needed rewriting, too. Oh, well. — Jeff Q 03:06, 1 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Planning a fix to a wrong statement in Mitochondrial Eve

Just a note. I don't have a clear idea yet how to make a clean fix to the following broken sentence in the Mitochondrial Eve page: "But only Eve produced an unbroken line of daughters that persists today."

The statement is wrong and misleading. But most importantly that sentence misses an opportunity to make a clear and insightful statement about how Eve relates to the reader.

To see what is wrong and misleading about that statement consider the following counter-example. "There are necessarily at least two people who produced an unbroken line of daughters that persists today. For 1) Eve and 2) at least one man with whom she conceived a daughter produced an unbroken line of daughters that persists today."

Furthermore, consider the following counter-example. "Eve's mother in addition to Eve produced an unbroken line of daughters that persists today." In fact, the empirical evidence suggests that each and every mother of the mother of the mother . . . of the mother in the unbroken line of mothers of Eve also "produced an unbroken line of daughters that persists today."

I don't have a fix for the broken statement yet, but I am thinking along the following lines. "Every person alive today has an unbroken maternal line of mothers reaching back into prehistory. However, the maternal lines of all living persons converge on Eve. And since every person has only one mother, in the generations before Eve, all persons alive today have the same unbroken maternal line of mothers, back to a mother that looked like a chimpanzee, back to a mother that looked like a tree shrew, and beyond." ---Rednblu 20:47, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)


"Mitochonrial Eve" is merely the most recent common ancestor of us all. Of course we are all descended in the female line from primitive primates, and from Late Permian eucynodonts. However, since mitochondria are passed down through the female line, we can make no useful statements about the mates of "Mitochondrial Eve". Other females were alive at the time, but their genetic lines died out, by the luck of the draw: "only Eve produced an unbroken line of daughters that persists today." Lots of illuminating links are on the Web. Why not track down the best of them and link them here? As a general rule, it's best to grasp the concept, then make the edits. Wetman 21:06, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)


<<Other females were alive at the time, but their genetic lines died out, by the luck of the draw>>

No. That is simply not true. Many other females in Eve's generation passed their genetic lines to people alive today through 1) other than mitochondrial DNA and through 2) great-great-...-grandsons as well as great-great-...-granddaughters.

By the way, check out our friend Pedro II of Brazil. :)) ---Rednblu 23:09, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)


mitochondrial Eve

Was "mitochondrial Eve" neanderthal? Please email:


Six of the different Neanderthal remains found by 2004 had enough mitochondrial DNA left in them that analysts could calculate how far back the living humans had a great-great--...grandmother in common with the six different Neanderthals. [1]
The results of the DNA study comparing analyzed living humans and analyzed Neanderthal remains showed the following.
    • The last mitochondrial ancestor of the analyzed living humans was 150,000 years ago; she would be the Human Mitochondrial Eve.
    • The last mitochondrial ancestor among the analyzed Neanderthal remains was 200,000 years ago; she would be the Neanderthal Mitochondrial Eve. Neanderthal Mitochondrial Eve was a totally different creature from the Human Mitochondrial Eve, though they had a distant common maternal ancestor from whom they both inherited their mitochondrial DNA.
    • The last common mitochondrial ancestor of both Neanderthals and humans lived 500,000 years ago; she would be the last common maternal ancestor of Human Mitochondrial Eve and Neanderthal Mitochondrial Eve. ---Rednblu 00:02, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Surprising Fact?

In the "Chain of Events" section: <<The surprising fact that no other all-female lines have survived from Eve's day is assumed to be an effect of chance rather than selection. >>

Is this really a surprising fact? It would be surprising if we randomly chose a single individual out of all who have lived and THEN discovered that by coincidence this individual was the most recent common female-line ancestor of all living humans...that would be surprising.

What is not surprising at all is that there must have existed just such an individual. If you can determine that we are all descended from some group of humans of size X then you simply perform the operation again and find the common ancestor of THAT group. By definition you will eventually find the individual who is the most recent common female-line (or male line for that matter) ancestor of everyone currently alive.

The reason that "mitochondrial eve" is interesting is simply because due to the way mitochondrial DNA works we can make an estimate of WHEN the most recent common female-line ancestor lived. There was also a most recent common male-line ancestor but we have no way of tracing the male line and estimating when he lived.

Am I right about this? Peeter 18:34, 03 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Did you consider Y-chromosomal Adam? ---Rednblu 22:03, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)


No, you're right, I hadn't considered Y-chromosonal Adam. So, I should amend my earlier statement to say that we may have a way of assessing when our most recent patrilineal male ancestor lived.
But my main point still stands: There is nothing "surprising" about Mitochondrial Eve being our most recent common matrilineal ancestor simply because "The most recent common matrilineal ancestor of all people alive today" is the definition of "Mitochondrial Eve". See [2] ---Peeter 01:58, 04 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You're right--what's surprising is how recently she lived, not that such a person existed. The way to see this is to work backwards.
Consider the set of all women living today who don't have daughters of their own--call them "the daughters". Now go back one generation and call that group "the mothers". Every daughter has a mother, but some mothers have more than one daughter, so the number of mothers is less than the number of daughters. Go back another generation, to "the grandmothers". Again some grandmothers gave birth to more than one mother, so the number of grandmothers is less than the number of mothers. In general, we see that the number of members of generation N+1 must be ≤ the number of members of generation N. Therefore, if we go back far enough, we come to a generation with only one member--and that's "Eve".
What is surprising is that she lived only 150k years ago, which makes her human, rather than some earlier primate, or reptile, or fish.
—wwoods 20:19, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it is surprising that she was human either, since she is the mtMRCA of humans. If another group, say, Homo Neanderthalsis, was the mtMRCA, it would seem selection would have favored that type (Neanderthals), and our nuclear DNA would have followed suit. i.e. we'd be Neanderthals. It would be surprising, though not impossible, if this weren't the case. Nagelfar 09:50, 24 February 2007 (UTC)


Is it possible to add more precise data and examples to this article? For example, if 100 women had 100% identical mtDNA could they not all be the mothers of future generations? How does it come to be only one person?

How does this one person theory work? 100 women turn into 100,000 women, then every one of those 100,000 descending from 99 of the original women die, and those surviving turn into 6,391,567,079 descending from the one from the first 100?

Do the other Hominids converge on "one" ancestor? Does every species converge on "one" ancestor?

Thanks - Jerryseinfeld 10:05, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)

You need DNA evidence to look for an Eve or Adam and we barely have fossil evidence for other hominids, so that question is unanswerable. A species need not have an Eve or an Adam. If species lived forever, then if you wait enough generations under conditions of a constant population size, then I think some woman and some man from the past is bound to become an Eve or Adam as the longest streaks of same-sex successions from other men and woman are broken.


It says: "Based on the molecular clock technique of correlating elapsed time with observed genetic drift, Eve is believed to have lived about 150,000 years ago (148,000 BC)."

Does't "about 150,000 years ago" mean 150,000 BC rather than 148,000 BC? Salleman 12:36, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

"About" 150,000 years ago means "about" 148,000 BCE, since you do have to account for the (about-) 2000 years of the Common Era. 2,000 minus 150,000 equals -148,000 -- Vystrix Nexoth 14:40, Jun 17, 2005 (UTC)
Which is true, but silly, as the "circa" could be 1000s of years off. Since 150k is a very rounded number. Nagelfar 09:53, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Eve of the past and future

The mitochondrial Eve for currently living humans was quite possibly not the same individual as the mitochondrial Eve for humans living thousands of years ago or thousands of years from now [1].

I think that statement could use some expansion/clarification by someone more knowlegable than me :) I take it just to mean that the current mitochondrial eve will always be the ancesor of all homo sapiens (and branches? :) for the rest of time, she just won't be the most recent one, who would get the forward-in-time-moving title of mitochondrial eve. Is that correct?--Fxer 21:58, July 21, 2005 (UTC)

I believe that is right. But I don't quit understand well enough to expand on that :o) --Cam 02:14, July 22, 2005 (UTC)
This sentence has apparently been removed already. But it is right. Notice how Most recent common ancestor must always be defined based on a 'group' of organisms. Normally, the group is the 'currently alive people in year XYZ'. So, as times marches on, the group of living humans change, and thus the MRCA change. Fred Hsu 04:42, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

How did this turn from a FA ino a brainfart?

It is this full of weasel terms, "most evolutionary biologists believe that mitochondrial Eve was not the sole living human female of her day" should be "mitochondrial Eve was not the sole living human female of her day". Though this shold be mentioned in the lead because people are confused by the Eve name.

"Note that Eve need not be our most recent common ancestor. " should be "Eve was not our most recent common ancestor" - the chance that she was being statistically extremely unlikely, or even impossible but certainly low enough not to note "need not be" before it. I haven't done the calculations).

There is something about population bottlenecks that I don't understand, because there would be a MtEve and a MtAdam regardless of whether there were bottlenecks.

Can this be cleaned up please sharpish or it'll have to go on WP:FARC. Dunc| 21:42, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

oh my, the article is horrible. can we just revert it to the FA stage? It really appears to be full of comments from people who don't grasp the concept of mrca, what whith 'surprising fact that nobody else survived'. Any population will have a mrca, why is this so difficult to understand. Note that there is no 'MtAdam', however, Dunc, there is only Y-Adam, and both are different from mrca proper, mt-Eve and Y-Adam are the mrca for a part of the human genome, each; the mrca proper will be much more difficult to establish, but is necessarily of the same age or older than mt-Eve. For pity's sake, can a biologist take 20 minutes to fix this article, please? dab () 06:50, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, duh silly me, I meant Y-Adam! Dunc| 13:47, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
I don't get the bottleneck stuff either, although it seems to have been in the article when it became an FA. If one fixes the timespan during which the MtEve lived, that doesn't give any firm info about the numbers of individuals alive then, does it? You can't really say whether or not there was a bottleneck then, right? --Cam 15:26, August 5, 2005 (UTC)
How good is your statistics? Everything will be a bit vague and in terms of probabilities. The larger a population, the further back is its matrilineal common ancestor. If a popln went through a bottleneck I think it would increase the chances of MtEve occurring during that time. And if a bottleneck is known because of other evidence then it might vaguely make sense, but it needs to be properly read out from the literature. I suppose this means that I'm volunteering to read it... Dunc| 15:40, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
this is how I seem to remember the situation. There is some evidence[citation needed] that there was a bottleneck, and because of that, it is very likely that mt-Eve lived during that time (ergo, there is a connection, but it has to be phrased properly). Y-Adam is younger though, he is probably the guy who invented speed-dating. dab () 16:43, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, that's an interesting point. Y-Adam is younger than MtEve because the variance in fecundity of males is greater than that of females (er I think) Dunc| 16:50, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

See the newly edited section 'Eve and the Out-of-Africa theory'. The bottleneck misconception was due to people focusing on only one phylogenetic tree based on mtDNA. When you compare all trees based on many nuclear genes and mtDNA, no such population bottleneck is found. Fred Hsu 15:33, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

MRCA date estimation seems suspicious.

This date seems entirely unbelievable: "the MRCA is estimated to have been living within historical times (3000 BC - 1000 AD), though the MRCA was probably less recent than that when accounting for long isolated peoples."

This would mean the Americas and the South Pacific isles were populated since then?! It also means, if you buy the "Out of Africa" Hypothesis that all humans were in Africa around 3000 BC. Isn't there solid evidence for people in China around that time?

Claiming a MRCA of 1000 AD is obviously ridiculous indeed. This is based on a non-genetic model from Rohde, Olson, and Chang (2004). Those figures are just the result of a simulation. "The random mating model ignores essential aspects of population substructure, such as the tendency of individuals to choose mates from the same social group, and the relative isolation of geographically separated groups."[3] Furthermore, in another article Rohde himself mentions: "The point beyond which everyone alive today shares the same set of ancestors is somewhat harder to predict, but it most likely falls between 5,000 and 15,000" [4] --Astator 12:03, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Am I totally confused about the definition of MRCA? Could we improve this section to explain it better?

I found that surprising, but it's not totally out of the question. Suppose there are people in Eurasia and people in Oceania. One person migrates from Eurasia to Oceania, marries a local and has a mess of kids. Those kids in turn intermarry with the locals, etc. The migrant is thus an ancestor of a mess of Oceanian grandkids. Without looking up the math, I would expect the number of Oceanic descendants of the migrant to follow a sigmoid curve (exponential growth followed by leveling off), and it's not out of the question that the migrant's genes would find their way into a substantial portion of the Oceanic population within a surprisingly short number of generations. Meanwhile, if this migrant had any fertile relations (or progeny) back home in Eurasia, they would in turn be diffusing their genes throughout the pool there. The point being that you don't need a mass migration from one place to another for the two populations to share a common ancestor.
Looking backward in time, ancestral trees overlap more and more. There is no such thing as the common ancestor of a population. Even "the most recent" is probably a bit misleading. I wouldn't be surprised if there's an analog to the phase transition in random graphs at work here — that is, a fairly sharp transition point in time, after which there are no common ancestors for a given group and before which there are many. If this is true (and even if it isn't), the date of the MRCA is more important than the number.
It's only when we stipulate a particular line of descent (i.e., matrilineal or patrilineal) that we get a unique individual.
Has anyone mentioned surnames in Korea and Pitcairn Island yet? -Dmh 21:23, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
that's more or less what we are looking at here. There was such a "phase transition" over the past few centuries, starting with the Early Modern explorations (you could say "collapsing family trees", since formerly widely separated groups were connected by intermarriage). The MRCA of the population alive in 1500 AD likely dated to the paleolithic. The MRCA for the population alive today, according to the simulations discussed and referenced on the MRCA article, may have lived in the Bronze Age. dab () 12:15, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Currently at 10,000 years, it still seems suspicious. I think the article is confusing most recent common ancestor with estimates regarding the Identical Ancestors Point. Moreover, a figure of 10,000 years is highly problematic since the western hemisphere was populated and (probably) cut off before then. --Ggbroad 13:03, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
of course the western hemisphere was populated before then. The surprising thing is that the models predict that it was not cut off sufficiently to prevent such a late mrca date, your gut-feeling (your 'probably') nonwithstanding. This is a matter of WP:CITE. We have papers estimating dates in the 10,000 years range. You are perfectly free to cite other papers contradicting that. dab () 14:00, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Okay, fair enough, but the related article - Most Recent Common Ancestor - gives a figure of 60 to 90,000 years. Should that should be changed? --Ggbroad 15:12, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
For questions about MRCA, please discuss at Most recent common ancestor. Also check out books such as River out of Eden and The Ancestor's Tale for more information. Fred Hsu 04:45, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Mitochondrial Noah's wife

That anecodote that got deleted was actually quite a good analogy. It might be worth keeping David D. (Talk) 07:00, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I think the Biblical "connection" should be dwelt upon as little as possible. The woman is dubbed "Eve", fine, let's not talk about Genesis any more. It is much more important to emphasize that "Eve" may be a different individual today than 20 years ago, to dispel the misconception that Eve was somehow at the beginning of something. Even if there had been a "Noah's wife", "Eve" would in all likelyhood be later than her. dab () 09:29, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
The term "Mitochondrial Eve" and the more popular "Eve Hypothesis" gain much of their effectiveness from tying in to a widely-known creation story. It seems worth a bit of space to spell out the exact correspondence and why it breaks down, including the notion of Noah's wife and why that breaks down. Simply ignoring a blatantly obvious biblical connection gives the impression of stonewalling. Often the best way of contrasting science with myth is to let the myth speak for itself.
One possible approach would be to move the biological material relating to MCRAs, Out of Africa and such to its own page (or consolidate it with anything that's already there), and leave "Mitochondrial Eve" as a short entry discussing the biblical connection and pointing to the biological material, something like this:
Mitochondrial Eve is a name popularly given to [rigorous definition and link here]. It derives from the name of the first woman in the Genesis creation story. However, unlike the Eve in the Genesis story, Mitochondrial Eve is not the first woman. In terms of the book of Genesis, she would correspond more closely to Noah's wife [a bit more here], but even this analogy breaks down as the particular individual identified as "Mitochondrial Eve" may change over time as matrilineal lineages disappear.
This would cleanly divorce the scientific discussion from issues relating to a particular popular name for a concept. -Dmh 20:05, 3 January 2006 (UTC)
what "more popular Eve Hypothesis"? I've never heard of an "Eve hypothesis", "X-Eve" is not a hypothesis, the "Eve" label is just that, a label, given to a certain property of the human family tree which it would possess regardless of the label. dab () 12:31, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

The notion of mitochondiral noah's wife is entirely incorrect. Noah took sons and wifes of his sons onto the ark. If we assume (quite correctly so) that his sons did not all marry their sisters, then noah's wife cannot be said to be the biological mothers of her daughters-in-law. In short, Noah's wife clearly cannot be mitochondrial eve, which is exactly why eve is used and not noah's wife. Furthermore, by some accounts noah's wife died during the flood as she was wicked, and so she cannot be attributed 'post-dilluvial'.

Using this story as an example, one sees that it does not automatically follow that all maternal lineage MUST converge. Suppose we start with three dominoes (females) and we knock them down (up), with each domino (female) knocking (giving birth to) zero or more dominoes (females). After umpteen generations, we see 3.2 billion fallen dominoes, and we look back and see that each fallen domino can only have exactly one domino (mother) that caused it to fall. We reason that since these lines can only converge and not diverge, there must be one domino at the start of it all; but we had started with three dominoes, not one.

Detractors might well point out the extremely low likelihood of such an event given the propagation of our species, and I agree, it is just a technical point that it does not necessarily need to converge, and that it need not to have converged in a human.

my edits


  • we don't need to state the 150,000 figure twice in the intro.
  • The MRCA section is both offtopic and misleading, see my edits to that article. X-Eve is not identical to MRCA, fine, let's stress that in the definition, and move on what she is rather than isn't.
  • the "matrilinear descent" repeated the same point three time, phrased slightly differently. I compacted it, adding emphasis that X-Eve is dependent on time, i.e. X-Eve(CURRENTYEAR).
  • I don't know why you removed the two book references; I didn't add those.

dab () 11:23, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Tone of article

Is anyone else bothered by the conversational tone of this piece? ME is a biological topic, and should be treated in the manner of any other scientific topic. IMO, this article is poorly written. Ladlergo 15:53, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Genesis Creation "Myth"

I changed the text "Genesis Creation Myth" to "Genesis Creation Theory" to reflect the fact that no theory of the origin of humanity is scientifically proven. This change was reverted by Duncharris later in the day. Without getting into a very controversial debate, I believe the label of "myth" is inaccurate because of the title of the page it links to, "Creation According to Genesis." To keep this strictly encyclopedic, it doesn't make much sense so have the word "myth" linking to an article that has been presented in such a way that (I feel) it is coming from a historical perspective. I've changed the link to "story of Creation according to Genesis," because I think the word "story" represents something that both sides of the debate can agree on--indeed, stories can be true or not, myth or fact, and still be labeled stories. Any further discussion is, of course, welcome.

Atchius 18:40, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

My bad, read the article under disput on the word "mythology." It makes me uneasy, but I'll at least wait to argue here. Atchius 18:46, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes i have been following that dispute too. The definition of myth and usage is obviously a charged topic. This will be a challenge for wikipedia in the future if myth effectively becomes a taboo word in its academic usage. Of course this may well be an early example of wikipedia leading the way? I guess we'll know in twenty more years. David D. (Talk) 20:19, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
"Theory" is a poor choice. Some use it in the scientific sense of (roughly) a coherent body of testable hypotheses, while some use it in the sense of "something not known for certain". Changing "Genesis Creation Myth" to "Genesis Creation Theory" does not "reflect the fact that no theory of the origin of humanity is scientifically proven" (not something most working scientists would regard as fact, but then what do they know about science?). Rather, it asserts that the text in Genesis constitues a Theory. This depends on one's POV.
If you think a theory is a coherent body of empirically testable hypotheses, then Genesis contains no discernible theories. If you think a theory is simply something not known for sure, then Genesis contains at least one and arguably two theories of creation which can stand alongside Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, any number of other "creation theories" and the "theory" that there is a physical world with more than one sentient being in it.
For obvious reasons, NPOV is going to be a challenge here. I agree that "story" is better here than "myth" and far better than "theory". -Dmh 18:46, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
How can anyone use the term "Theory" if we are going to be in a NPOV environment? It seems like the popular connotation of the word, unlike the science "uncertainty" meaning. I agree that there are popular science "Theories" in which science has more certainty than others, but in an NPOV enviroment how do we decide which ones these are? I think words with different academic meanings compared to their popular meanings should always be used carefully. Ansell 04:44, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Mother dies childless

I edited this part which was reverted immediately, but I still have a concern with it:

Starting with the entire human population alive around 150,000 years ago, lineages will become extinct as mothers die childless or only have male children. Eventually, only a single lineage remains, which is the same as before.

The sentence makes no sense - if a mother dies childless - she isn't a mother. Should this not read "women die childless" Michael Dorosh 23:14, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

This reads like a fourth-grader's science report.

This problem has been corrected by now. Fred Hsu 14:02, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


Would she necessarily have been human? --LakeHMM 23:14, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm not an expert, but I believe so. As was mentioned somewhere above, all speciation originally occurs with a single individual (except under extremely unlikely circumstances where two identical and concurrent mutations cause a speciation and both procreate successfully). Therefore, it would be nearly impossible for one earlier non-human organism to trace separate lineages down to two or more humans at the point where humans originally speciated. Perhaps this could be worded better. Doze 18:55, 09 May 2006 (UTC)
Genes mutate and species speciate. These are two different things. Genes only mutate within the body of an individual, but a species is formed when a population of individuals drifts apart from other populatin sharing same ancestors. We share many genes with non-human organisms. The ABO blood group system is one of these. In The Ancestor's Tale, Dawkins describes how the same system is found in apes such as Chimpanzees. From the perspective of these blood group genes, you may be more closely related to chimps than to your neighbor. This is because an organism such as human is nothing more than a temporary vehicle to hold a set of genes together. Genes are the ultimate evolution driver (see The Selfish Gene). The mitochondrial DNA can be treated like individual nuclear genes, because it is not affected by genetic recombination (see River out of Eden). Therefore, I think Mitochondrial Eve does not necessarily need to be human. But the current estimate happens to point to a date after the speciation of Homo sapiens. My two cents. Fred Hsu 14:28, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Matrilineal descent section - confusing?

Can someone explain this more clearly?

Try reading River out of Eden Fred Hsu 13:06, 11 July 2006 (UTC)


This part is rather confusing:

Let this too proves to be a mixed blessing of "support" for the Eve theory since the same relative diversity is explained if more people lived in Africa than in other regions - an interpretation of the past that all evolutionary models accept, even those that contradict the Eve theory, such as Multiregional evolution.

It confuses two things:

1) the definition of Mitochondrial Eve, that is, a female (human or otherwise) who is the mitochondrial MRCA of all living humans,
2) the theory, which is connected with the out-of-Africa model, that mitochondrial Eve was a modern anatomical human.

No scientist would doubt that 1) exists, just as no one would deny there was a mitochondrial MRCA for all living mammals. Therefore the "Eve theory" must refer to 2), but this needs to be explained better. People must understand that Mitochondrial Eve's existence is not "presumed" or "alleged" but utterly undeniable; what is perhaps questionable is when and where she lived, and what species she was. --saforrest 18:13, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

I hope I fixed it. Fred Hsu 04:42, 8 February 2007 (UTC). The whole paragraph now reads:

The Mitochondrial DNA provides another support for the Out of Africa hypothesis in the form of gene diversity. One finding not subject to interpretation is that the greatest diversity of mitochondrial DNA sequences exists among Africans. This diversity would not have accumulated, researchers argue, if humans had not been living longer in Africa than anywhere else. Yet this too proves to be a mixed blessing of "support" for the African-origin theory since the same relative diversity is explained if more people lived in Africa than in other regions - an interpretation of the past that all evolutionary models accept, even those that contradict the African-origin theory, such as Multiregional evolution.


First body paragraph refers to "Wilson," without supplying a given name (or a link to an article about Wilson). Please delete this note once this oversight is corrected. ---Ransom (-- 03:57, 18 December 2006 (UTC))

Still unsourced "Wilson"eRipley 04:34, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

This is now corrected. It's Allan Wilson. Fred Hsu 04:17, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Disputed, contradictory, not neural, citations not tied to passages

This article needs serious work. "Many women alive at the same time as Mitochondrial Eve have descendants alive today. Some of those women may even be ancestors to all humans alive today while others may be ancestors to only some of the humans alive today." What? Some of the women alive at the same time may be the ancestors to all while others may be the ancestors to only some? Unless you're talking about her own ancestors or descendants, there are problems with this statement. Article needs rewritten entirely. KP Botany 22:21, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Could you explain in more detail what you mean by "Unless you're talking about her own ancestors or descendants, there are problems with this statement." Thanks. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 22:24, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Also, could you please explain
  • which assertions in the article you believe are contradictory
  • which assertions in the article you believe lack neutrality
  • which assertions in the article you believe are disputed or factually inaccurate

Thanks. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 22:50, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

The one statement you have quoted is correct as it stands - it is about ordinary DNA, not mitochondrial DNA and so might be made clearer but is not incorrect. Rmhermen 23:07, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

I put one, and started putting others, but am having great difficulties actually following the article and what is being said. If you tied assertions in the article to specific references listed, it might be easier to figure out what is being said. However, as the article now stands it's almost impossible. However, let's start with this one I quoted above:

"Many women alive at the same time as Mitochondrial Eve have descendants alive today. Some of those women may even be ancestors to all humans alive today while others may be ancestors to only some of the humans alive today."

Okay, "Many woman alive at the same time as Mitochondrial Eve have descendants alive today." Let's call other members of Mitochondrial Eve's cohort Alpha, Beta and Gamma. So, "many woman alive at the same time as Mitochondrial Eve," Alpha, Beta, Gamma, "have descendants alive today." So, there are living descendants of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Eve, alive today.

"Some of those women may even be ancestors to all humans alive today ..."

So, let's say that Alpha and Beta are "some of those women (women alive at the same time as Mitochondrial Eve)" who are "ancestors to all humans alive today." If Alpha and Beta are ancestors to all humans alive today, then, unless Eve is their descendant, or their ancestor, there are instances in which Eve cannot be ancestor to any humans alive today, because all humans alive today are descendants of only Alpha and Beta.

Huh? This doesn't follow at all. It would only follow if we only had one ancestor per generation. We aren't talking about descent of a surname (or a mitochondria) here - we are talking about ancestors. Twice as many each generation as before (approximately!). Rmhermen 23:40, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

"... while others may be ancestors to only some of the humans alive today."

Hmmmm, so, in other words, some women left descendants and others didn't?

I'm not even sure what you are trying to say with this. So, what are you trying to say with this? If some women are ancestors to all humans alive, then no other ancestors of the same cohort are needed, if those "some women" are the only ones who have living descendants.

And, heck, if this is the case, the lead sentence is false, "Mitochondrial Eve (mt-mrca) is the name given by researchers to the woman who is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor for all living humans; the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in all living humans is derived from hers."

This is true: the Mitochondrial DNA descends only from Eve. This is entirely unrelated to the descent of pieces of ordinary DNA through other female lines or even common ancestors who contributed no DNA. Rmhermen 23:40, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

"Wilson's naming Mitochondrial Eve after Eve of the Genesis creation story has led to some misunderstandings among the general public."

Who's Wilson? Don't you think you ought to mention who he is before you discuss what he did? E. O. Wilson? American President Wilson? If you tied it directly to a citation, we might know when and where the name was originated in the literature, also.

"A common misconception is that Mitochondrial Eve was the only living human female of her time — she was not."

Interesting misconception that I never thought of. Why not elaborate? Where's the direct reference for this? Was it a study done? Is this because people believe she is the first human, the only human left, God's creation?

Why do insist on reading each sentence independently. The previous sentence explains this? DO we need to elaborate more on a misconception? Rmhermen 23:40, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

"Had she been the only living female of her time, humanity would most likely have become extinct due to extreme population bottleneck."

Okay, again, so the lead sentence is wrong.

Again, nothing wrong with the lead sentence. Rmhermen 23:40, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

"Some of those women may even be ancestors to all humans alive today ..."

So, it wasn't Mitochnodrial Diana/Eve, but rather it was the Mitochondrial Supremes who gave birth to modern humans? Which is it?

"However, only Mitochondrial Eve, and her matrilineal ancestors, have a pure matrilineal line of descent to all humans alive today."

Huh? So, only her descendants are thoroughly modern humans? Or only her descendants are alive today, but you just said other women may be the moms of all humans? Or only her descendants were born of women? I think not....

But, wait, here we go again, "Because mitochondrial DNA is passed through matrilineal descent, all humans alive today have mitochondrial DNA that is traceable back to Mitochondrial Eve."

So, which is it, Eve or the Alpha and Beta? Or all? Or none? This doesn't look contradictory and inexplicible to you?

No, you seem not to be familiar with what mitochondrial DNA is. Rmhermen 23:40, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

You have to explain what these terms mean as you use them, so that any general reader can follow what is being said. The article misses entirely the explanation of matrilineal descent, initially, and then treats it haphazardly, and by doing so, makes it seem like it is saying things it is not saying or contradicting things it said.

The matrilinear descent section isn't enough? Rmhermen 23:40, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

There's also no explanation or understanding of the relationship between MRCA and ME.

There is a link in the text. Rmhermen 23:40, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

I've read the papers and the theories and generally understood them. Until I read this article. It really needs an outline, preparation to be written for a general audience, for anyone to understand, and it needs directly attached to its references so others can ask questions of interpretation. It also needs to stand alone. It's a finite theory that can be explained well within the scope and purpose of an encyclopedia article. But there is no attempt to do this.

KP Botany 23:21, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

As to disputed, I have to dispute it because I can't understand it, and it is written from the viewpoint of a very positive attitude towards the theory, as if it is already proven, without the science background or without putting it in context, it's simply glorification of a theory. There is a lot of interesting research that has gone into it, and additional insights into human ancestory and diversity have been learned from these theories, and failing to put the scientific background and speculative nature of some aspects into a neutral context fails to create the proper atmosphere for showing additional insights into human genetics learned from studies of mitochondrial lineages. So, disputed, unreferences, contradictory, and failing neutral pov. KP Botany 23:33, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

If you have some published sources opposing this theory, please add a discussion to the article. I can't say I have ever seen any though. Rmhermen 23:48, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps the following will help to illustrate.
Let the first cohort consist of the couples Deborah and Paul, and Eve and Robert.
Let Deborah and Paul have the children John and James
Let Eva and Robert have the children Irene and Isabel
Let everyone on earth be a desecendant of either John and Irene or James and Isabel
Now, Deborah is an ancestor of all living individuals, but she is not an ancestor of any living individuals through a pure matrilineal line.
It can also be shown that if Eve is the most recent common matrilineal ancestor, then both Irene and Isabel have pure matrilineal lines to the living generation, but for neither is it the case that they have pure matrilineal lines to all living individuals.
I don't know if that helps or not. Sincerely, --BostonMA talk 23:41, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
The article appears to be saying things it is not saying, because of the failure to clarify where you are talking about the nuclear genome in one instance, and for the initial failure of introducing a basic concept, criticial to the discussion, early on, namely what a matrilineal line of descent is. Keeping these two instances, of DNA, of descent, absolutely clear within the text, would help, but I think, as another editor confused the issue himself, that the article really needs a strong and fairly complete rewrite.
What if you said instead, "Now, Deborah's nuclear DNA is present in all living individuals, but, because she had only sons, her matrilineal line has died out with her. It can also be shown that if Eve is the most recent common matrilineal ancestor, then both Irene and Isabel have pure matrilineal lines, through their mitochondrial DNA as Eva's daughters, to all living women in the present generation. But for niether is it the case that they have pure matrilineal lines to all living individuals, because.... Hmmmm because some of those living individuals are men, and men do not pass on mitochondrial DNA to their offspring. KP Botany 00:01, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Although it may be extremely, extremely, unlikely, I believe is theoretically possible for Deborah to be a common ancestor of all living individuals, yet some individuals have no DNA inheritted from her.
Regarding Eve's daughters, neither can have a pure matrilineal line to all living individuals because the other has a pure matrilineal line to at least one living individual, and that excludes the possibility that her sister also has a pure matrilineal line to that same individual. Each must have a matrilineal line to at least one living individual because otherwise the other would be a more recent common matrilineal ancestor than their mother (called in this example Eve). --BostonMA talk 00:39, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Technically we can't know that with the information given, because we aren't given any descriptions of the offspring of the daughters, simply that all living persons are their descendants. KP Botany 01:34, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Which statement do you believe we can't know? --BostonMA talk 01:42, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
We can't know what you haven't given, any description of the daughters' offspring. KP Botany 01:57, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm afraid I still don't know to what you are referring. Could you give me a specific statement that you believe we can't know please? --BostonMA talk 02:44, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the article can be better re-organized. But it is quite accurate and not confusing, if you already know some of the basic concepts. Try reading River out of Eden if you are interested in the details. Fred Hsu 04:52, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I think the confusion can be reduced, if the following list of articles are edited at the same time to make them more consistent:

In particular, the current article needs to clearly state that MRCA can be used alone, meaning the one MRCA of all human alive today. And that MRCA can be 'qualified'. That is, you can refer to a particular MRCA by tracing a particular gene of all human alive today. There are tens of thousands of ways such MRCAs may be found. Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam are only two of those tens of thousands of MRCAs. Again, see River out of Eden for details. Fred Hsu 05:34, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I JUST DID A FIRST-CUT MAJOR EDIT. I will copyedit the new stuff shortly, and will clean up the rest of the article in the next couple of days. Fred Hsu 00:41, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Ah, so now we're requiring readers to read a book first before they can use Wikipedia as an encyclopedia. I missed this Wikipedia policy, maybe you can post a link to it? KP Botany 23:12, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't know where you got this idea. I have been slaving away the past few days trying to make this article clear and accessible to as many readers as possible. Along the line I have made mistakes and others have corrected them. You can help too, if you have better ideas. I may have suggested on this talk page that people interested in more details read other books. What is wrong with that? This is an encyclopedia, not a library. Please let us limit discussion in the future to other sections at the end of this talk page. So many things have changed that the old talk sections are no longer appropriate. Fred Hsu 23:58, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm, is it possible I got the idea from your post, "I agree that the article can be better re-organized. But it is quite accurate and not confusing, if you already know some of the basic concepts. Try reading River out of Eden if you are interested in the details. Fred Hsu 04:52, 8 February 2007 (UTC)" In particular the quoted part, followed by a sentence recommending that a book be read. This is what an encyclopedia is, the place to get the basic concepts. What do you think is being given here, if not the basic concepts? You're the one who put your post here. KP Botany 00:06, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Ah, now that I've re-read my earlier comments, I realized that I might have given people the wrong impression before. I was trying to 'terminate' all ealier threads of discussion as I tried to resolve each one of them while editing the article. I was hoping that we can start new talk sections based on the current version of article, not the 2003, 2004, 2005 or 2006 version. I pointed out that River out of Eden wikipedia article contained enough information to answer most of these questions. And if people felt that was not enough to resolve these disputes, then a reading of that book or The Ancestor's Tale should do it. Fred Hsu 00:11, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I was referring to the previous version of the article before I started to rewrite it. Clearly, it was not my goal to leave the article in that state, otherwise I wouldn't have spent so much time making it better. I agree that a wikipedia article should be readable without prior basic knowledge of the field. Anything that cannot be easily explained in the aritcle should be linked to the appropriate wiki page for that specific sub-topic. I hope the current version of the article meets this criteria. Please check article history. Thanks. Fred Hsu 00:15, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I'll be glad to reread it if you've dealt with some of the issues I raised earlier. KP Botany 00:54, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I have also cleaned up and expanded most recent common ancestor. Please make sure to go back to read changes to this article as well. Thanks. Fred Hsu 14:30, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

New external link, and question about existing external link

I'll shortly be adding an external link to [6], a chart I made explaining the mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam concepts. I think it will be helpful to those interested in this topic.

I see anexisting external link to [7], titled "Mitochondrial Eve - An Explanation". The explanation on that page seems to me to be at variance with a lot of the material in the entry here.

I'm a chartmaker, not a geneticist, so I'm not prepared to argue this in depth. But, that link and this page don't agree.

JoeCasey 14:21, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

GA Re-Review and In-line citations

Members of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles are in the process of doing a re-review of current Good Article listings to ensure compliance with the standards of the Good Article Criteria. (Discussion of the changes and re-review can be found here). A significant change to the GA criteria is the mandatory use of some sort of in-line citation (In accordance to WP:CITE) to be used in order for an article to pass the verification and reference criteria. Currently this article does not include in-line citations. It is recommended that the article's editors take a look at the inclusion of in-line citations as well as how the article stacks up against the rest of the Good Article criteria. GA reviewers will give you at least a week's time from the date of this notice to work on the in-line citations before doing a full re-review and deciding if the article still merits being considered a Good Article or would need to be de-listed. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us on the Good Article project talk page or you may contact me personally. On behalf of the Good Articles Project, I want to thank you for all the time and effort that you have put into working on this article and improving the overall quality of the Wikipedia project. LuciferMorgan 02:12, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I have cleaned up most of the article, and have added inline references. I am still working on the last section, 'Eve and the Out-of-Africa theory'. But the article is now in good shape, I think. Fred Hsu 15:04, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

After reorganization on Feb 8th, 2007

"Mitochondrial DNA pathway is equivalent to maternal lineage, because Mitochondrial DNA is only passed down from mothers to daughters, but never to sons." I believe this is wrong. It is passed from mother to all children, never from father to children. The statement as it stood before I altered it implied that males have no mitochondria! --Nerdvana 13:02, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Ah, my bad. Thanks for carefully reading my changes and pointing out mistakes. I am fixing it. I think you removed the inline reference by mistake though :( Fred Hsu 13:37, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

I think I am done editing this article. I have to force myself to stop trying to enhance it further. The last few paragraphs I added include discussion about the identical ancestors point which should once and for all settle the dispute about whether contemporary women of Mitochondrial Eve 1) left no descendants, 2) are ancestors of subset of living people, or 3) are ancestors of all living people. Fred Hsu 16:24, 11 February 2007 (UTC)


I am slightly confused, why can't we trace ourselves with the mother of Mitochondrial Eve?

read again: we can, but she's not most recent, her daughter "Eve" being more recent. This is the entire point of "most recent common ancestor". dab (𒁳) 21:02, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

MRCA versus IAP

The article states: No contemporary of Mitochondrial Eve or Y-chromosomal Adam is an ancestor of only a subset of people alive today, because both of them lived much longer ago than the identical ancestors point.

However, this is not possible, as the IAP is necessariy further in the past than the MRCA - as correctly stated in the article on identical ancestors point: In genetic genealogy, the identical ancestors point (IAP) is that point in a given population's past where each individual then alive turned out to be either the ancestor of every individual alive now, or to have no living descendants at all. This point lies further in the past than the population's most recent common ancestor (MRCA).

I have deleted the paragraph, because it is wrong, and I cannot immediately see how to make sense of it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:51, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

MRCA lived 3000 BP?

The article states that the MRCA of all humans (not M. Eve or Y. Adam) lived 3000 BP. But the land bridge to the Americas was crossed over 15,000 BP and there was no significant contact between the old and new worlds from atleast a couple thousand years after that until 1492 (vikings contact with northern tribes don't count I don't think). There are Amerindians that have no European descent right? So how can they have a MRCA in common with Europeans AFTER the land bridge was crossed but before 1492? I can't fathom how that is possible? Brentt 23:38, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I know. I found it hard to believe myself at first. But see the Time Estimate section in Most recent common ancestor. Dawkins also talked about this in the Ancestor's Tale. Fred Hsu 03:05, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Actually the Viking influence would be very relevant to the Amerindian / MRCA date question. It would only take one cross-breed left behind.... --Michael C. Price talk 08:30, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

This makes no sense, how can every human on earth have the same matrilineal ancestor stretching back only 3,000 years, this has to be an error. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:40, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

In any case, the section on this subject was woefully out of shape and poorly written, almost incomprehensibly so. I've tried to correct some wording to make the point more obvious, but if I've munged anything up, someone should feel free to revert. JWAbrams (talk) 14:37, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

The information about the MRCA living 3,000 years ago is woefully taken out of context, and I recommend that it be deleted from this article. (The poor explanation will also confuse young earth creationists who will almost certainly misinterpret it as legitimizing their views about a young earth.) First of all, the MRCA talked about in the Wiki is the MRCA of the *mitochondrial* DNA. The MRCA talked about in Nature has nothing to do with Mitochondrial DNA. It appears that the MRCA talked about in Nature is the most recent living person who all humans on earth could claim as an ancestor (according to their computer mating model). That person was most definitely not the source of all humanity's mitochondrial DNA, and would've contributed virtually nothing to the genome of each individual human being. (To use an example: All my cousins and I have a MRCA of two generations ago - we all share a pair of grandparents. However, the MRCA of our mitochondrial DNA is much more than two-generations back because we didn't all inherit our mitochrondrial DNA from that grandmother.) So, it's confusing and misleading to jump back and forth with different types of MRCA, as this article does. I would also add that no professor or scientist would ever make the mistake of mixing these things together like this if they were writing an article about the subject.

Nominated most ancient common ancestor for deletion

Someone created a new article called Most ancient common ancestor. Notice that it is ancient, not recent. It appears to be a new name coined by the author without research backing (i.e. original research). I nominated that page for deletion. Please visit Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Most ancient common ancestor if you wish to participate in the discussion. I am posting this message in this discussion page because the topic in question is closely related to this article. Again, please note that I am not nominating the Most Recent Common Ancestor article for deletion; I am nominating the newly created Most Ancient Common Ancestor. Fred Hsu 05:42, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Confused paragraph

A paragraph has been added to the misconceptions section:

Suppose Mitochondrial Eve lived before the identical ancestor point. Then, she would have to live with some people that are not ancestors of all the population and who have passed-on their own mitochondrial dna to their descent up to now. As such Mitochondrial Eve can not be considered the Most Recent Common Ancestor for Mitochondrial DNA because a subset of the common descent will not bear its mitochondrial DNA. Note that this reasoning can be applied to all genes, which means that a gene-specific MRCA has to be older than the identical ancestor point.

It seems rather confused to me.--Michael C. Price talk 15:07, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

I removed it. 'Ancestors' referred to in identical ancestors point are ancestors via both paternal and maternal lines. An ancestor in this case may actual leave no gene from himself/herself today because of meiosis and recombination. mtEve is defined strictly by mitochondria inheritance, on the other hand. I can't fathom how one can produce an argument based on identical ancestor point and mtEve based on this logic. But I could be wrong. But until a better paragraph is written and reference is cited, I don't think we should have the above in the article. Fred Hsu 15:38, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I just moved the sub-section on identical ancestors point in Most_recent_common_ancestor#MRCA_of_all_living_humans to a different place. Hopefully this will make it more clear. Fred Hsu 15:55, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Further clarified this in Identical ancestors point. Fred Hsu 16:03, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I though an "absurd reasonning" could clarify the timeline between Mitochondrial Eve and Identical Ancestor Point. I will double check what I wrote and try to have a clearer version. --Donvinzk 20:00, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I suggest you talk through changes here first, before altering the article.--Michael C. Price talk 21:32, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I will for sure since all previous edits have been immediately reverted. As for the last one, it was just to give a small explanation to the assertion "contemporary woman to mitochondrial eve can not have matrilineal descent to current population", which I did not grasp at first and though I could help others similar to me. I wanted to use "contraposée" and "absurd reasoning" which are French barbarism since I can not find the English term.--Donvinzk 00:21, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Proof by contradiction is the term.--Donvinzk 00:21, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I see where you are coming from. I'll try to clarify the section. --Michael C. Price talk 00:25, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Obviously, you meant to improve the article. We appreciate that. The article already states "every mtDNA in every living person is derived from hers..." in the lead section. If every mtDNA in every person is from mtMRCA, then obviously no other contemporary woman of mtMRCA could have passed down her mtDNA. As MichaelCPrice said, your absurd reasoning isn't helping in this case. We can add the same absurd reasoning to pretty much every single wikipedia article. Notice how the paragraph rigth above the on you last edited talks explicitly about how contemporary women of mtMRCA could have left descendants today, but her descendants will NOT have her mtDNA. Fred Hsu 00:28, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
I think it's mostly a language issue -- I won't add anything unless it looks quite necessary. But it has to be admitted that some parts of the article do require close reading; but then it is a complex subject to outsiders. --Michael C. Price talk 00:38, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
No offense for me. I might understand things better argumenting by contradiction than by direct proof, and this does not mean I should edit every single articles to fulfill this need. However, it is a complex subject, I am an outsider to the field, and I think the article might need some "graphic" example, I'll share ideas here if I think of something. (And, by the way, my argument was a tautology, not a non sequitur ;-) )
Correction accepted.  :-) --Michael C. Price talk 01:02, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Michael, thank you for copyediting. I think, however, you may want to preserve this line: "Eventually, only one single lineage remains which includes all mothers alive today and their male and female children.". That paragraph talks about how females pass mtDNA to daugheters. Sons are dead ends as far as mtDNA is concerned. This sentence is explicitly saying that the 'last' generation of mothers pass the same mtDNA down to living people at the present. Fred Hsu 01:24, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

The previous wording seemed to leave open the possibility that we know of humans-alive-today-with-deceased-mothers with different mtDNA. Now I know that it is extremely unlikely (but not impossible) -- but the wording seemed to suggest it was a known fact. So it should be written "Eventually, only one single lineage remains which includes all mothers alive today and their male and female children and all mothers not alive today and their male and female children who are alive today." -- so we might as well just say "everybody alive today". --Michael C. Price talk 01:43, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

mt DNA statement

The statement

Unlike mtDNA, which is outside the nucleus, genes in nuclear DNA become mixed because of genetic recombination, and therefore we can be statistically less certain about their origins.

seems wrong. Whilst mtDNA is outside the nucleus this has nothing to do with recombination (a single mitochondrian contains multiple copies of mtDNA and undergoes recombination to maintain its integrity). Thus it is not the recombination that is the source of the mixing but the fact that we inherit two nuclear alleles, one from each parent, whereas we inherit mtDNA from only one parent.--Michael C. Price talk 01:02, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that paragraph can be made clearer: the trouble with tracking nuclear DNA is caused by both meiosis and Chromosomal crossover/Genetic recombination. See better phrasing at Most_recent_common_ancestor#Patrilineal_and_matrilineal_ancestry. Fred Hsu 01:32, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Michael, I see that you have also enhanced Mitochondrion. As I said in previous comment, the difficulties with tracking nuclear DNA is not only due to the 1/2 chance of inheritance from either parent. Yes, that makes it more difficult, but you can still infer statistically about what would happen in a long period of time. But with further recombination, the task becomes exponentially more difficult. I have read it somewhere, and perhaps I'll find references to it. I don't think it is wise to simply drop recombination from the article. Fred Hsu 04:57, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
But the tracking difficulty with nDNA can't be due to recombination per se, since mtDNA also recombines. I've updated the description about recombination at Mitochondrial DNA and mentioned it here. --Michael C. Price talk 10:07, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Wanted edit

In Science, 2. January 1998, the article "Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock" refers to evidence that the 140 000 years referred to in this article are not so certain. Could someone please make this article a bit more balanced on this point? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gubbanoa (talkcontribs) 21:07, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Feel free to add the point yourself, but make sure you cite your source. WLU 21:08, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
You are right about me not putting the reference in the text and two wrongs do not make a right. However, I think it is a shame you took out critisism of the weak claim you have left unquoted. I cannot see why. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:19, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
If you are very motivated, you should edit it with proper citation. Or at least provide an URL to make it easier for people to help you. At the moment, Mitochondrial_Eve#Eve_and_the_Out-of-Africa_theory should provide some of the answers. Yes, mitochondrial DNA alone is not enough to support African origin of 'human race'. However, it is good enough for the African origin of 'mtEve', as long as you keep in mind that mtEve is nothing special (there are thousands of other ways to trace common ancestry by different gene pathways). I'll try to find the article you are talking about when I have more time. Fred Hsu 03:22, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Mitochondria in sperm

Someone inserted these (in bold):

[quote]We know about Eve because of mitochondrial organelles that are passed only from mother to offspring. (Strictly speaking, the sperm do bring some mitochondria to the egg, but their contribution amounts to at most about 0.01% of the fertilized egg's total, so is normally ignored.) Each mitochondrion contains Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). [/quote]

This is actually not quite right. One of Sykes book actually talks about how sperm mitochondria are destroyed by the egg or later in the embryo. I don't have time to look it up right now. But in any case, the main article on Mitochondrial DNA already talks about this. The section in MtEve actually links to it as 'main article'. There is no need to interrupt the flow of this paragraph with such details, in my view. I reverted the change. Fred Hsu (talk) 23:39, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it was Sykes', Seven Daughters of Eve, that refutes the notion that some mtDNA comes from the father. Says that more detailed studies failed to show any such paternal effect. --Michael C. Price talk 20:30, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Reference on date of Mitochondrial Eve

TalkOrigins has an interesting short article on the date of Mitochondrial Eve, with references. - "created 2004-2-26" --
"Revised studies of all of the mtDNA ... placed the age of the most recent common mitochondrial ancestor at 171,500 +/- 50,000 years ago."
-- Writtenonsand (talk) 22:32, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion to clarify opening sentence.

I suggest adding the qualification "via the mitochondrial DNA pathway" to the opening sentence, so it reads:

Mitochondrial Eve (mt-mrca) is the name given by researchers to the woman who is defined as the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA), via the mitochondrial DNA pathway, for all currently living humans.

Para 3 contains this qualification, and expands on it. Omitting the qualification in the opening sentence is potentially confusing (at least it was for me, having come to this page after reading the page on MRCA). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:58, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

The word "matrilineal" (a link to another article) essentially means the same thing. So either we keep it the way it is, or we drop "matrilineal" and replace it with the longer qualification sentence. I vote for the shorter version, but I understand how how reader may miss this one word. Fred Hsu (talk) 16:13, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Fred. The problem with the clarification is that it is redundant -- the matrilineal ancestor is, by definition, the mt contributor. A reader may think that these must be distinct concepts since they are both mentioned, which will really confuse them. The sentence as it is (now) looks fine.
I suggest the deletion of for over a hundred thousand years from the 2nd sentence, because mtDNA has been passed down for well over a billion years, not just 100,000. --Michael C. Price talk 20:27, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Note to user: MichaelCPrice

Howdy -- I'm the author of the "concrete example," and I wanted to see if you thought a diagram might be better than a narrative? I have a sort of love affair (scientifically speaking) w/mitochondria and the whole dynamic of mitochondrial DNA is so fascinating, especially w/r/t "Mitochondrial Eve," that I want badly to make the notion of matrilineal descendence of m. DNA crystal clear, even to the most unscientific-minded. Sadly, though, and as much as I also love Wikipedia, I think this is one of those instances where words muddy instead of enlighten. I'm thinking about making a simple flow-chart-type thingie (via graphics software) to illustrate both the matrilineal line of mitochondrial DNA *and* how it's possible that Eve could have had contemporaries whose m. DNA was not passed on as Eve's was, but whose regular DNA *was*. I think that point is probably the basis for most laymen's confusion, and I think that ,as a result, it's at that point where the whole premise might lose its impact.

So I'll make a little graphic in the next few days & post it and you (and everybody else watching this page) can take a look and tell me what you think, yes?

cheers, Sugarbat (talk) 17:27, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

I hope you didn't mind me removing the concrete example you gave, but I found myself getting lost in the details. Anyway, glad to see that you took it positively: diagrams are always a great idea -- a picture paints a thousand words and all that -- so go right ahead. The concept definitely creates a lot of misconceptions for the layman, and anything that clarifies this is good.--Michael C. Price talk 20:17, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

3000 y ago

is it so difficult to read fool sentences? I hope the books quoted (whose are in deleted paragraph) are misquoted and not based on this '3000 years' false assumption. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock

I took out "yet based on the newly calibrated Mitochondrial clock she is only but 6000 years old." part in the article. According to

Calibrating the Mitochrondrial Clock [8], the 6000 year part is a part that "nobody believes" and that experiments haven't been done in a large enough subset.

This piece of text was cut / paste to try and sneak creationist credibility into the article --SeventhCycle (talk) 00:03, 12 January 2009 (UTC)SeventhCycle

Uhmmmmm.... it said "citation needed" so I looked it up and posted a citation along with information taken from a credible source. Yes, it is true that nobody believes the results cause it doesn't fit the "expected" result, but that is the results of the Mitochrondrial Clock. I've included the disagreement in the next sentence with a citation which talks about it. If you wish to add further details of the disagreement you may, but don't remove the results. Potatoeist

Since it's an area of needed expansion, I went ahead and moved it to a separate section of it's own, titled "Mitochondrial Clock." Potatoeist January 12, 2009 —Preceding undated comment was added at 20:00, 12 January 2009 (UTC).

Utter Rot, for Homo sapiens she was not.

The variance in physical parameters in the 'races' of the human 'species' clearly indicate parallel evolutions with some very recent hybridizing, as seen in many other animals. For any species except humans, a variation in average height of in excess of 20%, combined with significant difference in physical prowess (consider how the more globalized, less culture-specific Olympic sports clearly dominated by African males and Slavic women - unlike intellect, this is a product of nature, not nurture!), given good nutrition for both populations, is grounds for considering them different. In other words, who ever said our common ancestor was of homo sapiens?! If it indeed exists, Mitochondrial Eve is most likely a higher ape. Political correctness is making us hypocrites. What we are observing with globalization is clearly the mixing of several different Homo species, not the divergence of one, as evidenced by highly mixed-race communities ending up at a mocha-skinned, dark-haired, dark-and-slightly-slanted-eyed, average height common denominator. The human race (Homo sapiens), in the common ancestry with everyone sense propagated by political correctness, as such exists in Cuba or Hawaii, at the convergence point of the different races. The politicized idea of common ancestry and a common human race is great for peace and tolerance, but suffers from being untrue: neither the pale blue-eyed blond Scandinavian, nor the dark-skinned, dark-eyed, dark-haired Congolese are Homo sapiens in the PC sense. Now, if they intermix, their great-grandchildren just might be. NOTE: this written by someone not matching any common denominator, in appearance, build, or ability, thus not exactly Homo sapiens under his own definition, and therefore clearly not using these views to preach discrimination. Instead, I see this as a time to recognize and celebrate difference, rather than try to continue mixing up the concepts of legal equality and genetic sameness. (talk) 12:55, 11 February 2009 (UTC)Adieu

the above is, as the section title indicates, utter rot. "the mixing of several different Homo species" is already a contradiction in terms, since by definition separate species don't mix. ME is estimated to have lived about 140 kya. Homo sapiens is estimated to have appeared about 130 kya. These figures are within each other's margin of error. Thus, it is anyone's guess whether ME should properly be classified as narrowly pre-sapiens, or narrowly sapiens. --dab (𒁳) 20:33, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

GA Reassessment

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Mitochondrial Eve/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

I feel that this article (promoted in 2005) has too much emphasis on popular perceptions, and the "Academic investigation" section is too poorly sourced (in breadth not quality, Nature is fine) for a GA by today's standards. There are also sizeable passages with no obvious source—the list of sources with no inline citation being quite long. Xasodfuih (talk) 14:32, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

No improvements since this reassessment began more than a week ago, so I'm demoting this article. Xasodfuih (talk) 08:05, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Mitochondrial Eve lived longer ago than the MRCA of ALL HUMANITY?

The introduction states "[Mitochondrial Eve] necessarily lived at least as long, though likely much longer, ago than the MRCA of all humanity." I don't understand how this can be true, but perhaps it just has to do with the confusing terminology in this article.

Mitochondrial Eve (ME) is the matrilineal MRCA of all humans ALIVE TODAY. But the MRCA of ALL HUMANITY would by definition be an ancestor of ME herself (she was human, correct?). Therefore the MRCA of all humanity must be older than ME, right?

Restated another way:
1. The MRCA of all humanity is the MRCA of all humans who have ever lived.
2. Mitochondrial Eve was a human.
3. Therefore, the MRCA of all humanity is an ancestor of ME.
4. Ancestors live before their descendants.
5. Therefore, the MRCA of all humanity is older than ME. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:18, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

No. Evidently the article is not as clear as it should be. The matrilineal MRCA is "harder" (much harder) title to occupy than just the plain old MRCA because all the lines have to be purely matrilineal for the former. Hence they converge much further back in time. --Michael C. Price talk 19:46, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

people often fail to grok that "mrca" always means "mrca(t)", i.e. time dependence is implicit in the term. I did hope this was made sufficiently clear at the mrca article. ME (i.e. mt-mrca, meaning her mitochondria are the mrca of everyone's mitochondria today) is of course a common ancestor. Just like Y-Adami is also a common ancestor, and a more recent one than ME at that, hence the "most recent" common ancestor must be more recent than Y-Adam (or, in theory, identical to Y-Adam, but that's astronomically unlikely). --dab (𒁳) 20:26, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

According to the identical ancestors point article, MRCA existed 2000-5000 years ago. Shashamula (talk) 00:14, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
I know, but that is just the result of a simulation, not of any measurement taken in the real world. --dab (𒁳) 15:53, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Do we need a Pop Culture section

Really? Why would you want to put a spoiler for the very last episode of a popular television show for any poor biology student trying to do some studying? Honestly. (talk) 03:32, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I don't think this sort of article should have a pop culture section. Wood also had this situation. --Mosquitopsu (talk) 14:45, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I seem to recall Mitochondrion(Eve) having a popular culture section in the past. The history proves otherwise although. Anyhow, I see no harm in referencing Mitochondrial Eve to popular culture. I can recall several references in film, literature and video games. As well as some that have used it as the primary theme. Someone looking for works with this theme would, no doubt, appreciate a compiled list. --Redhood (talk) 20:04, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

removed utterly pointless Battlestar Galactica reference —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:39, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

"Continued edit war over Battlestar Galactica reference". There, fixed that for you. Let's work this out here for consensus first instead of fighting it out in the article. - CHAIRBOY () 04:51, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Cut a bunch - we don't need the whole story, those interested can go to the fiction article. Fiction header more descriptive. Vsmith (talk) 12:09, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

You wouldn't add to the log cabin page "In BSG, we saw the spot where xxxxx was going to build his log cabin", in the suicide page you wouldn't add "In BSG, xxxx made the decision to take his own life because...", and on and on. Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a playground for Battlestar Galactica fanwank. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 13:51, 22 March 2009 (UTC).

Hey mister unsigned, we get it, you didn't like BSG. Now get over yourself and stop deleting things just because of your personal preference. If you'd notice, they're asking for a GENERAL CONSENSUS before it is deleted. You, alone, do not make a consensus. Theroguex (talk) 15:14, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

I watched every single episode - loved the show. That has no bearing on whether this article needs fanboys screwing up the place. Perhaps I'll go through all Wikipedia articles detailing how they all relate to Babylon 5. How about I go edit the Tenancy articles and shit them up with how Captain Sheridan had to get around a newly imposed rent increase by reallocating 60 credits a week from the military readiness budget... blah blah blah". That's the level of usefulness this BSG reference is at. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:03, 22 March 2009
Please read WP:CIVIL and WP:POINT. That said, I agree that the trivia does not belong in the article. Vsmith (talk) 16:15, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Why not? It attests to the concept's notability, and mirrors similar sections in other scientific articles. --Michael C. Price talk 16:38, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
The BSG characters also used guns that fired projectiles. Should we add a BSG reference into those articles also? Let's do our best to change Wikipedia into Lostpedia24.117.27.57 (talk) 17:25, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
No need to be sarcastic. Can you make your point civilly? It's much more likely to get consensus that way. - CHAIRBOY () 17:32, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
You know, this is why schools don't allow students to use Wikipedia as a source. Instead of someone just removing pointless sections that have no need to be included in an article there's a huge song and dance about "consensus". More often than not this consensus is reached when one side of the argument just gives up banging their head against the brick wall that is the article's "owners" - the editors that have more time to sit in front of their monitor hitting F5. Consensus on Wikipedia generally means "the person who held out the longest". I've already been warned that my last edit will cause me to be banned from wikipedia so like I said before - go change this scientific article into TVGuide. (talk) 17:41, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
No, WP usually IS 'just do it', but when things get controversial, we need to work things out. - CHAIRBOY () 20:10, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Plenty of other scientific articles have pop culture sections. No reason why this should differ. Bear in mind that BSG will some people's first introduction to Mt Eve. --Michael C. Price talk 20:47, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Other science topics have rejected popular culture sections. Wood did this, for example. --Mosquitopsu (talk) 21:11, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Mitochondrial Eve is not a very common term though, unlike wood. You'll find wood (or projectile weapons) in nearly any tv show, or book, or movie. You won't find mitochondrial eve mentioned in most. For many people it might even be a concept they have never heard about. Also, it becomes a major theme in the final episode of BSG, unlike wood or guns. I'm not saying there should be an 'in popular culture' section, but if there is, than BSG deserves to be on it. And many similar articles have 'in popular culture' sections. I don't see what makes this one different. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with wikipedia's protocols. How is consensus measured? Is there someplace you vote or is it established from the comments people make in this section? Thanks. Thespyofcharles (talk) 05:18, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Ideally, we all make reasoned arguments and, being reasonable people, we all end up agreeing with each other. Ideally, that it.... But seriously, it's not normally a vote. --Michael C. Price talk 07:08, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Usually, like I said, one side just gives up because they have other things to do in their lives and it's not worth the hassle to prolong the argument with Captain Cheeto-fingers that a 17 page synopsis of some anime crap doesn't need to be in an article that was supposed to be about Mount Rainier, no matter how awesome that episode where the dragon totally created Mount Rainer over a thousand years with the help from the forgotten space people was. (talk) 01:20, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
If it's taken out that's fine with me. However, I would like to point out that this isn't exactly a household term, and it was used as a central part to a very popular show. Even if this article doesn't, I'm sure that BSG's mitochondrial eve will be referenced in all sorts of ways for years to come. Juventas (talk) 02:18, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't think mitochondrial eve has any pop cultural significance. Being mentioned in a science fiction movie doesn't make Eve a pop cultural icon. Shashamula (talk) 19:56, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
It makes it notable. Live with it. --Michael C. Price talk 01:38, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

There are a number of wikipedia policies, guidelines and essays that deal with such issues including

In general the guidelines seem to prefer integrating trivial sections into the main body of the article. The guidelines also discourage lists of disjointed information in preference for prose. My concern about the current information is how sustainable is it. Will people be talking about mitochondrial eve's appearance in BSG in three years time. Wapondaponda (talk) 07:28, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I have moved the popular section to a separate article Mitochondrial Eve in popular culture and created a link to the article from this article. In this way this article can focus on issues directly related to mitochondrial eve, and the popular culture article can deal with pop culture. Wapondaponda (talk) 06:05, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Looks like a good idea. --Michael C. Price talk 09:50, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

In Pop Culture AfD

If you have an opinion on whether the pop culture entries should be maintained as a separate article then I suggest you make your views known here. --Michael C. Price talk 00:06, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

"Scientists Explore a Controversial Theory About Man's Origins"

I would be interested in how Newsweek managed to contort this into a "controversy", when all the Cann study did was put a rough estimate on the age of the mt-mrca. That there must be a mt-mrca to any population is clear even without such an estimate, and their estimate wasn't too far out to be controversial in any way, so I really have no idea what the title is referring to. --dab (𒁳) 14:42, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

The Cann study did create some controversy, I think it took several years before mitochondrial eve was accepted. There was the controversy relating to Paternal mtDNA transmission such as Paradise lost: Mitochondrial eve refuted . Alan Templeton also disputed Eve, as in this New York Times article. Critics Batter Proof Of an African Eve Wapondaponda (talk) 16:23, 29 March 2009 (UTC)