A short while ago – in zestful arrogance – I wrote a sarcastic email to some poor enterprising con man in Burkina Faso. I took the mickey out of his risible attempts to get me involved in a multi-million dollar scam and scoffed at the very idea that my Great Aunt Matilda could have enjoyed sexual congress with a tribesman of that region a century ago producing an off-shoot of the family tree that would, in 2009, name me as a the sole heir to his dubiously misbegotten fortune.
Of course I was aware of the scientific theory that we all ultimately descended from a single tribe in central Africa many thousands of years ago but ignored it in favour of cutting edge satire and a cheap joke about Kunte Kinte being my long lost cousin.
I now bow my head in shame.
Dr Alice Roberts (if my doctor looked liked her I’d become a hypochondriac) has investigated and, to my mind, proven the theory as fact beyond all shadow of a doubt. Her programme, The Human Journey, has been essential Sunday night viewing for the last 4 weeks.
And what a terrific gig for Dr R.
She got to sashay her pert little tush across every continent on the planet and got her hands wrapped around some amazing looking bones. Lucky girl.
But it wasn’t all sun screen and sultry pouts to camera for Dr R, Oh no. She worked bloody hard too. She risked a night alone in the African bush, fingered lots of ancient skulls in dusty museum store rooms and correlated and produced a work of such superlative televisual research that it stopped me mourning the absence of Lark Rise To Candleford.
It seems that we did indeed – all of us – descend from one single tribe that emerged out of Africa about 50,000 years ago. A tribe that gradually worked its way up into Europe, jogged across into Asia and Australasia and finally made the big leap into the Americas about 14,500 years ago – spreading its bounteous seed like wild oats as it went. Genetically the theory has also been proven. Undeniably. Irrefutably. The men in white coats say so. Their scientific barcode thingies prove it.
We are all of us related.
You are all of you – including the con man in Burkina Faso, including Dr Alice Roberts – my brothers and sisters.
Technically we’ve been inbreeding for years.
No wonder the planet is in such a God-awful mess.