Category: Ancestry

What Makes Us Human? Study Finds Hints By Comparing Chimp and Human DNA

We may be another step closer to discovering what makes us human. A new study published online this week in Genome Research has pinpointed three genes in humans that may genetically differentiate us from chimps and other primates. Genetically we are very similar to chimps, so most of the differences ...

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New Study on Genetics of Ethnic Groups Reveals We May Not Be So Different After All

There are many examples around the world of two distinct ethnic groups living side by side. Sometimes these groups co-exist peacefully. Other times they do not. Often two groups' differences - along with circumstantial factors - lead to tension between them and sometimes violence. The Hutus and Tutsis ...

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Ancient DNA Analysis Reveals Family Ties in Ruins of Pompeii

On August 20, 79 AD, a series of small tremors and earthquakes began to shake the two ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.  Lying in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius — about 150 miles south of the Roman capital — the two cities were often hit by tremors and earthquakes, so most residents were ...

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New Study Reveals Complex Origins of the Malagasy

Only 250 miles separates the island of Madagascar from the southeast coast of Africa.  The short distance between the two land masses traditionally led the outside world to assume that the native inhabitants of Madagascar - known as the Malagasy - originally came from the west, probably from the present day ...

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The Giggling Chimp: Researchers Draw Evolutionary Link Between Human and Ape Laughter

Great apes really do giggle when tickled, new research says - just like you and me. Researchers from the University of Hannover in Germany recorded the tickle-induced vocalizations from three human infants and 21 infant and juvenile orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos and analyzed this acoustic ...

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The End of a Dynasty: How Inbreeding Doomed the House of Habsburg

The Royal House of Habsburg, one of the most powerful dynasties of Medieval and Renaissance Europe, reigned over much of Europe for centuries. Beginning in the early 12th century they quickly expanded their realm through a series of strategically executed marriages, from the mountains of Switzerland to a ...

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23andMe Labs Kicks Off With Haplogroup Tree Mutation Mapper

The 23andMe Personal Genome Service™ offers information about customers' maternal and paternal ancestry by examining their mitochondrial DNA (which we all inherit from our mothers) and the Y chromosome (which is passed by fathers to their sons). Over our species' history new genetic variations have arisen ...

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One if by Land, Two if by Sea: New Genetics Study Indicates Multiple Paleo-Indian Migration Routes

It seems like new discoveries about the peopling of the Americas are a dime a dozen these days.  Without a doubt, the journey those first Americans took from the frozen wastelands of Asia down the Pacific coast into the Americas has been an active research subject for many decades.  Archaeologists, linguists, ...

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Across the Pillars of Hercules: Recent Study Confirms Prehistoric Connection between Iberia and North Africa

Less than eight nautical miles wide, the Strait of Gibraltar is an easily surmountable barrier between northwest Africa and Spain. Military invaders such as Hannibal of Carthage and the caliphs of the Islamic Empire have had no trouble traversing this sliver of sea in the process of invading Europe. But in ...

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What’s in a Name: Surnames and the Y-Chromosome

My surname — Holden — has gone through many incarnations since it originated in England nearly 700 years ago.  Letters were added, then dropped.  Some branches of my family added an extra "u" in the middle, while others changed the pronunciation entirely.  Then, when my ancestors arrived in America over 200 ...

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