What Do "Basal Eurasians" Say About Genealogical Adam?

Basal Eurasian (genetic anthropology) is a “ghost population” in that it has never been discovered in an unadmixed or “pure” form. The defining trait is that this genetic signature is genetically equidistant to every Eurasian group, is somewhat “African-like” without being African, and is associated with a lack of genetic contribution from other hominid groups such as Neanderthal.

The assumption has been that this was a group which split from the OOA group very early, before their admixture with Neanderthals, and stayed isolated for at least 40K years before showing up again in the near east admixed with other divergent populations a bit under 15K ago. It is associated with the rise of farming and animal domestication. Here is a more detailed article…

The genes from this group, if indeed they were a real group, are widely admixed around the world but are not found in every group. I wonder two things 1) What does that say about a genealogical Adam from around the same date? Is it OK the genes are not found everywhere because the extent that we do find them still could put them in every family tree? And 2) What if this population was NOT hanging around unnoticed for 40K years but show up 13.5K ago, could we be looking at the genetic signature of Adam and Eve? The Geneological Adam theory does not REQUIRE Adam’s genetic fingerprint to be detectable, but what if it is?

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And I realize that last question has some implications that go much farther- to the question of naturalism’s role in science. It doesn’t change the fact that science can only test for natural causes. But if we keep looking and it turns out that this lineage does seem to appear suddenly at 14K ago then isn’t it fair to say that the evidence is not inconsistent with the hypothesis that this is Adam’s line?

Answering the original post, it really says nothing. The science here posits a somewhat genetically isolated population in Europe. Even if this were true, genetic isolation is not genealogical isolation. We do not expect to see evidence of rare interbreeding events, and we cannot even establish with certitude that there was total genetic isolation.

This would not be evidence against a genealogical Adam. Identification of genetically isolated populations do not usually mean they were totally genetically isolated. Even if they were, rare interbreeding would create genetically isolated populations that are genealogically linked.

Hmm. My read on it is more favorable for your position than your read then. It did not start in Europe. The last few paragraphs of that link says that the modern spread of these genes are linked to Near Eastern/West Asian genes. I.E. everywhere those genes went in the modern world, BE genes went with them. Sure Europe was one of the places, but they went east too. In that spread sheet they link to they can’t seem to find a population entirely lacking, unless it is pygmies or something. And as you say, events below a certain size are liable to be untraceable over time. Still, the stats on their spreadsheet shows a lot of admixing with a lot of populations all over the globe from a group which just shows up maybe 14K ago.

IOW you are hypothesizing that Gen. Adam could have been in everyone’s ancestry even if we can’t detect that in the genes anymore. Here is an example that shows up in a comparable time frame where we DO detect the genes in a widespread way and can only assume that the genealogical mixing is more extensive than the detectable genetic mixing. The genes are a floor, not a ceiling, on the genealogical relatedness, and the floor is pretty impressive in this case.

True. I think it is evidence showing how plausible GEN ADAM is. More than that, what if this group, whoever they might have been, is more than just a PROXY for how Adam and Eve could have established relatedness around the globe in this time frame? What if this is them? You point out that there does not HAVE to be a distinct genetic signature for A&E but you don’t rule that out either right? And all the circumstances surrounding this particular signature “fit” pretty well with what it would look like if their signatures WAS detectable.

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I responded from a defensive point of view, but that seems to have been a mistake.

That is exactly right. Everywhere we look, we see mixing. I’m not even sure if any population has been definitively identified as genetically isolated across their whole genomes. If we can observe genetic mixing in every population we look at, we know there was genealogical mixing. So you are right, the floor is pretty high.

I do not rule a genetic signature out, but the problem is underdefined. The fact of the matter is that anyone far enough back is related to everyone now. We just need more information if we want to see a marker.

One such proposal (which may or maynot be true) is that Adam and Eve’s offspring are associated with the agricultural revolution. In that case, it is possible that migrations paralleling the spread of agriculture from the Middle East might be the proxy you are looking for.

However, not everyone would place Adam there.

It is, and of course scientific methods have limits about what they can tell us concerning one-time acts of history, in particular on such a small scale. I might have a some-what broader view than you do about how much they can say, but then it is easy for me to think that- I am not in a field dominated by aggressive philosophical naturalists!

Science may not be able to tell us if this is in fact the genetic signature of Adam and Eve, but it can tell us some things which relate to matters of theology. For example, when deciding whether the scriptures are teaching us that Adam and Eve were the sole progenitors of all mankind, or merely the ubiquitous genealogical ancestor of all mankind, or something else, we can use the evidence that you have shared with us here to rule out the first of those options anytime within the last 50K (or maybe even 100K) years. So if our scriptural hypothesis has an Adam any more recent than that, we must consider one of the latter two options.

In the same way, Y-chromosome data has pretty much ruled out the doctrine that the flood of Noah reduced the entire human race to a single Y-Chromosome anytime in the last 50K years. This pretty much invalidates the Reasons-to-Believe view of scripture on the flood. It does not invalidate the Christ-centered model that I have written about. So while science may not be able to prove a particular act of God or account in scripture as true, it can prove certain ideas about classes of interventions which left lasting traces false.

So the problem is only underdefined if we fail to specify a particular view of Adam which can be measured against what is observed in the lab or in the field. To their credit, RTB produced a testable creation model. To my view even though its confidence levels are not as high as we might like it was robust on its astronomical and astrophysical points but fell down once we get to Adam and the Flood. It was a testable model and the first part passed the test- maybe not with flying colors, but the second part has not passed the test. They need a new model. I have one, and so do you. Others may have yet more models.

So long as they define it enough to test to a similar degree as things that we consider science now (I am looking at you sociologists and theoretical astrophysicists!) then science has a little something to say about theology, even if ultimately God is not going to submit Himself to our lab tricks and is by definition beyond the laws of nature which science is designed to discover. Men cannot expect to discover God strictly through the scientific method, but we discover which of competing views of scripture are more or less compatible with evidence from the natural universe.

The Bible does not directly say that Adam and Eve had a unique genetic signature, but if you hold that they were a special creation after Adam the Race came to be then it is a reasonable inference. If they did, Basal Eurasian looks like a great candidate for that based on my model for time, place, and circumstances. Moreso than I have time to go into here.

Now it could be that this idea will be falsified tomorrow. Indeed when I first wrote the book I wrote that if Kostenki 14 really did have Basal Eurasian genes then the hypothesis that this was the signature of Adam and Even would be falsified. This is because it would have shown that this group was “out there” 30K plus years ago and did not suddenly show up in the crossroads of the world 14K ago! It turned out that it did not - it only looked more similar to basal because it had not gotten to the fully Western-Hunter-Gatherer profile yet. It was “basal” to the East-West split, but was not that basal.

If they find such a specimen for real, it does not falsify the Christ-Centered model, only the idea that this signature is that of Adam and Eve according to the Christ-Centered model. Though I don’t go as far as you do in broad terms I agree with your position that the scientific method has limits in its application to theology and apologetics.


Adding to the story of massive migrations and interbreeding everywhere:

Ahh, this is an early synopsis of what the fellow who runs the Eurogenes blog calls the “Bell Beaker Behemoth” study because it contains so much data on that key culture. Someone on that same blog posted this picture which you may find of interest. Basically this study is only talking about the RED oval in that picture.

There was actually another expansion in many directions around that same time in the black oval. Further, if you compare the black oval with arrows to the Table of Nations in Genesis chapter ten, there is an incredible correlation, a practically perfect one from Iran westward. If you consider that some of the black arrows going up came back down with the eastern red arrows going south it would fully explain the eastern part too.

All that starts around 4500 B.C., so not that long ago.

Very interesting article! Thanks for sharing!


Let’s remember one thing, at the very least, to help keep us grounded:

Humans have 46 chromosomes… that’s all we have. This is a finite number with finite permutations before the presence of an Adam or Eve chromosome is either a “1” bit or a “0” bit. When you throw in some statistical possiblities for genes on one chromosome switching out to another (as isolated incidents), you get a few more generations. But not an endless string of generations:

46 / 2
23 / 2
12 / 2
6 / 2
3 / 2
2 / 2
1 / 2
1 or 0.

7 Generations from the original 46

That’s a pretty short ride on the bus to eternity!
If we assume 40 year generations, that’s only 280 years.

But the math for a universal genealogical ancestor can accomplish its co-opting an entire living population in less than 2000 years. This is by far the more dynamic process… in a way, it is the equivalent of the Federal headship concept.

This means that if Adam & Eve were special creations 6,000 years ago, with God’s helpful hand the pair could have co-opted the entire human race by the year 2000 BCE! But If you adhere to a Global Flood, you have to pause a little while after 6,000 years ago before the genealogical process can become relevant… but it is actually already accomplished! It’s only those who think the Biblical Flood was regional (or figurative) that have to be paying attention at this point … because Noah’s descendants have to get moving to all parts of the world for the Adam/Eve genealogical stamp to cover the globe before Jesus is born!

In fact, the age old question of why humanity had to wait until 1 BCE (or thereabouts) before Jesus arrives may be found in the need for all the world to be successfully enrolled in the Adam/Eve genealogical system first!

And another very interesting paper:

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I have seen evidence to suggest that the Yamnaya culture has in its roots female-mediated gene flow which is rich in Basal Eurasian. Though scripture does not teach that Adam and Eve had a distinctive genetic signature, you may recall that I hypothesize that they did and for a lot of reasons this group fits what it should look like.

There is a lot of theology that is not in the bible that I would have to unwrap before I could explain what I think the text is actually saying, but the short version is that I hypothesize that the “mighty men” who were the offspring of the daughters of Adam and “the sons of Elohim” were at least in part from the group which formed the Yamnaya culture. When we see the female mediated basal eurasian gene flow into those ancient north Eurasians we see the genetic results of what is written in the first few verses of Genesis chapter six.