Whilst reading the BBC News website at lunch, as I have a habit of doing at work, I found an article on another (now extinct) breed of man that once lived in Africa. It suggests that once, there were three species of men living on this Earth, and now, we are the only ones left. In essence, from what science is now telling us, we are the result of, at least, three separate species, which no doubt mated, interbred and became a new species.
Automatically, as my brain would, I thought of Battlestar Galactica (the modern version, I’m sorry but the original bores me to tears). I thought of Hera, the young baby, half human, half cylon. But I also thought of the humans that they also found here on ‘New Earth’ or ‘Earth 2.0’ as some people have referred to it. Three species that, if you were to believe the BSG version of events, would have interbred to produce us.
When there is talk of Mitochondrial Eve, our earliest known female ancestor to share enough common DNA traits to a modern human, BSG used Hera. If we take this idea and expand on it, this would mean that Mitochondrial Eve shows aspects of two of our three human ancestor types and therefore is the most alike to us today. In the BSG universe, Hera did indeed have traits from two of the three.
But what are we now going to find as we look closer at remains that will be uncovered in the future? Will we find a Mitochondrial Eve 2.0? One that has traits from the third species as well? I remember a conversation with a friend a long time ago, where we discussed the notion that all humans living today are related in one shape or form. That if you were able to go back beyond human record, we’d find that we all came from the exact same human. If this is the case, then where did the split come from in the species? Why start as one species, separate into three and then join again as one? When did the genes of our closest animal brethren (the apes) and ours take a strange mutational departure from each other?
There is a lot we don’t understand about evolution as yet. Yes we can see the need for adaptation, the way in which those of the human race living in the Northern continents adapted to different climbs than those from the Southern continents, genes mutated and helped us to acclimatise to the places we call home. But with modern transport, the shift in our own patterns of migration, some of those genetic pre-dispositions are losing the importance they once held. We are becoming a race, that once again, through evolution is adapting. Sometimes I wonder if it’s for the better or not, but that is not important right now.
As we continue to evolve, what will we see? Will we ever truly understand what we evolved from and how we reached where we are now as a species? Even in watching BSG we only learnt part of the path of evolution as that particular science fiction universe teaches it. Where did they start off from in the wide expanse of things and where, did the humans on Earth 2.0 start off?
My random thought process might not be coherent as I type this into my blog, but the questions are brimming inside my head, and the comparisons with a show I plan to start re-watching soon are starting to bubble to the surface again.