mtEve and yAdam

I don’t understand the science behind how mtEve and yAdam were discovered. But I wanted to ask if DNA samples from an old/ancient human specimen could be examined to see if that specimen would have a “different” (or earlier) dating of mtEve and yAdam. Would the sample be too degraded over the years? If a different “Adam and Eve” are found, this would almost certainly be a defeater to the RTB model.


It’s calculated based on mutation rates and modern differences in DNA sequences between people. The more differences there are between people the more time it has been since those sequences diverged from a common ancestor.

If you count neanderthals as humans, then there is a more ancient date for our common ancestor based on mtDNA:

I have not heard of any ancient anatomically modern mtDNA that points to an older lineage. The best place to look would probably be African populations from >100,000 years ago, but I don’t think they have been able to get any DNA from samples that old and in those environments.


The key point is that different definitions of “everyone” will yield different mt-eve and y-adam. So yes, including ancient genomes is likely to alter when they are.

Also, there are “mutations“ that arise in DNA as it degrades. The good news is that these changes have a different signature than biological mutations. We can quantify and account for this when we compute phylogenetic trees using ancient DNA.

It never made sense to understand AE as mt-eve and y-adam. So a later date or different versions of them don’t overturn RTBs model, but some of their arguments for their model are not good.


@Eric_Johnson You may enjoy Joshua’s new book, a description of which is linked below: