The Human Family Tree is a video on YouTube that talks about human evolution, beginning with human origins in Africa, and tracing them all the way to the ends of the world. A major focal point of the video is a project in Queens New York, called the “Genographic” Project,” which uses genealogy (i.e., DNA profiling) to trace ancestry back many thousands of years. Ordinary citizens from various racial backgrounds are subject to DNA testing to see how far back their ancestral roots go. According to the video, “Scientific Eve” and “Scientific Adam” are the two people from Africa whose DNA profiles have survived throughout history. Essentially, they are the woman and man (respectively) to whom each person living today can trace back their DNA (irrespective of race or color). As a result of this project, the scientists have been able to find out that 99.9% of our DNA is similar. This is quite amazing that someone who is African American and Asian, for example, are so similar when it comes to their genetic makeup. Scientists have also been able to determine (through DNA testing) where people came from and the time period during which they lived. They have assigned certain DNA markers to people (e.g., M star), which shows distinct patterns of migrations for an individual person’s ancestors.
As the video progressed, the narrator discussed how approximately three quarters of human life as a species was spent in Africa. Furthermore, it was mentioned that the African population is the most diverse out of any other race in the world. As people migrated out of Africa, they became more and more diverse. Different elements, such as climate change and access to food and resources affected how people moved and also their physical characteristics (e.g., shorter stature to protect from cold).
My overall impression of the video was that it did a very good job at explaining how “racially” similar we all actually are. Not that I was not before, but after watching this video, I have certainly become more open and tolerant of our individual differences. More importantly, I could help educate other people that may be less tolerant with the information I learned here. For example, I have two friends that are dating and because they are from different cultural backgrounds, their parents do not agree of the relationship. I wonder if such a video would help open their eyes. I still believe in holding on to heritage and family traditions, but not at the expense of pointing the finger at others because they are different from us.

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