Considering Yadam and Meve

In writing my book, I’m very frustrated with the term Y-Chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve. Variously, I have demoted them thusly:

  1. Y-chromosome adam and Mitochondrial eve.
  2. y-adam and mito-eve
  3. y-MRCA and m-MRCA

All these are mouthfuls. What do you think of moving to Yadam and Meve? They would be pronounceable “Yad-am” and “Meev,” are far more concise and clear. We could then have sensible sentences about the hypothesis that Yadam is Adam and Meve is Eve.

Too much? What do you all think?


Sounds perfectly fine to me! Who knows, it might catch on more generally.

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YC Adam and MC Eve? Or, since you are not referring to the Biblical Adam and Eve by those terms, perhaps drop them entirely? MRCHA-M and MRCHA-F? Assuming that all agree they were human or homo?

Yes. The most usual shorthand terms are Y-Adam and Mt-Eve. I see no reason to abandon them. Although, as Mung points out, in a book about actual Adam and Eve, they may be confusing, and any association of the names with the term might be a bad idea. Perhaps Y-coalescent and Mt-coalescent? Or Y-MRCA and Mt-MRCA. (I find MRCHA-M and MRCHA-F to be factually incorrect, as it doesn’t seem to refer to the exclusive male and female lineages.)


Very helpful @John_Harshman.

In a specialist discussion intended for a lay audience, I’d find “Yadam and Meve” to be a helpful way of distinguishing them from their much younger versions. Perhaps even the same with the potential alphabet soup of characters like MRCA, LUCA, LSLS (last subspecies left standing) and the like.
It’s a playful way to deflect alarm, create clarity, and distinguish historical referents… my two cents.


“Yadam and Meve” is growing on me - provided the couple are introduced as such adequately as soon as the subject is introduced.

The whole use of Adam and Eve in relation to Y-chrmoso=mes and mitochondria, at least in the press releases if not the papers, was miselading. I mean, seriously misleading in that in conversations with scientifically literate types at BioLogos, it was seriously contended, or perhaps unthinkingly assumed, that our last common male ancestor was Y-Adam, etc. "If Eve existed, she would have to be 250K years ago (or whatever the figure is).

So the mild mocking tone inYadam and Meve is both appropriate and usefully descriptive.


But this is true by definition, if you mean “last common ancestor in a strictly male lineage”. If you refer to last common ancestor, period, that fellow is probably much more recent than any suggested age for Adam.

And that’s true if Eve is considered to be the female member of a bottleneck of two. Biblical Eve could conceivably be older than Mt-Eve, but not younger. The only thing that would distinguish the two would be some kind of genealogical or theological Adam/Eve, of the sort that Joshua is proposing.

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That is not what he means @John_Harshman. This might seems surprising, but many bright people thought that Meve and Yadam were lower-bounds on genealogical universal ancestry.

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What isn’t what he means? I gave two choices, of which genealogical universal ancestry was the second. Do you mean that people thought that the most recent genealogical ancestor must be Y-Adam or Mt-Eve rather than some unknown person within the last few thousand years? Who thought this? Why?

Yes that is what I mean.

I’m still trying to sort through this. @jongarvey and @Joel_Duff, do you have ideas for why?

Well the memory gets hazy, but I wrote about it back in 2011 after a long discussion (not the first) on BioLogos, with many participants of course. I doidn’t want to name names then, and the whole article and comments are no longer there.

But the reason was, essentially, lack of thought.

I was already on board with Genealogical Adam then (it wasn’t named that then), and had, like the original researchers, I guess, twigged that whilst Y-Adam and Mito-Eve said something about the inheritance of individual genetic elements, they said nothing much about human origins.

It was easy to take the message from “We all descend from one man 142K ago” and “We descend from a woman 200K years ago” that those were our most recent male and female common ancestors, and a number of folks who should have known better did. Since there was no contemporaneous couple, as some Creationists misinterpreted the Yadam and Meve story, they reasoned there could not have been a real Adam and Eve.

But I think in the rush to deny that, the genetic mindset attributed more significance to what I called in my article Y-Abdullah and Mitochondrial Yvonne.

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You are getting outvoted here @John_Harshman. Any reason to ignore them all and go with you?

Sounds like a sit-com on Israeli tv. :wink:

I think the hyphenated versions would be better: Y-Adam, M-Eve (or Mt-Eve). A more secular version would be Y-MRCA and Mt-MRCA. It also has the advantage of having the George Bush pronunciation of 'Murica.

Say what?

Wasn’t that already earmaked by Village People?:slightly_smiling_face:


More people like Yadam and Meve than don’t.

I dunno. To me Yadam and Meve sounds like a Jewish vaudeville comedy act. :confused:


That’s why I like it!:smile:

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In light of Walton’s observation that Eve’s presentation was after a revelatory vision, rather than a description of the “manufacture” of the very first human woman, @jongarvey , the Biblical Eve most certainly could be, and in fact almost certainly is, younger than Meve.
Did you misspeak a while back? If not, what is your reasoning?
The irony is, that Adam and Eve, not Yadam and Meve, are more like the comedy act… with pratfalls, even slapstick, devolving into “unclean” comedy.
Good thing Jesus got the last laugh on the “Heckler.”