Common Ancestors

by Anna

If I share the same mitochondrial DNA with a certain group of people, that can be traced back to 20 000 years ago, how much do I have in common with these people?

Bryan Sykes gives us an idea of how life must have been like for Helena, the woman that everyone with the haplogroup H can be traced back to. He bases it on DNA, archaeological finds and global weather data. The last ice age was still covering most of Europe back then and Helena survived with her clan in caves in Southern France. A lot of it is speculation, a lot remains unknown.

What I found striking in the inspiring TV show “Meet the Izzards” was how similar Eddie Izzard looked next to random people with the same DNA markers as his despite them being from different ethnic groups. I have only a handful of people from my maternal line to compare to. Can you spot similarities?

My brother, granny, mother and me.

It’s funny that we all share my grandfathers surname and at the same time share the mitochondrial DNA from one individual female who is said to have lived 20 000 years ago, which has nothing to do with my grandfather. Watch below as I trace back my own mother line.

My brother and I share the same mtDNA from our mother, but only I could give it on to my children.

My mother and I.

My mother as a young child.

My granny Ursula when she was about 18.

Granny when she was a young child.

My great grandmother Anna with baby granny.

My great grandmother Anna as a young girl, born 1897.

My great great grandmother Pauline born 1862.

A younger great great grandmother Pauline.

My great great great grandmother Katharina, born 1833.

Of my great great great great grandmother I only know her name, Elisabeth, but not when she was born or what she looked like. Everything before that is a mystery.

As with anything, we can put far too much into this. Looking back from today’s view point, we can say that only the strongest and cleverest prevailed. Natural selection played its part. How much is my decision to not continue my maternal line part of this natural selection process? Is it because my physiology wouldn’t permit it anyway? Should I maybe try anyway, just to carry on the tradition? Why would I show so much interest only to then not actively contribute to it? Or is this where my belief comes in, that the physical is secondary to the spiritual?

In the belief of incarnation, some say that we choose the conditions we would like to be born into. These can be good or bad, depending on what we would like to learn from it. Looking at my own birth conditions, my mother being told she had a chance near to nothing to be able to conceive, yet I came, despite my father’s request of abortion, with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck twice, reluctant to breathe and yet announcing myself long before my mother even knew she was expecting by repeatedly telling her my name. Bless her, she was actually seeking psychological support because of it and only a supposed appendicitis revealed that she was actually pregnant.

Growing up without a father isn’t really a problem, as long as you ignore the arising feelings of rejection. Once they come up, and they do, literally at any junction on your life’s path, you learn from them and transform. For me, they were basically my outboard motor that accelerated me into unknown territory, always on the quest to a better me.

What I learned from my mother’s line DNA is that I belong to the strongest mitochondrial haplogroup to populate Europe, said to be well equipped to stand up against infection, which made it so widespread. Long before the DNA report have I come to realise that I am blessed with strong immunity.

Bringing in my personal life purpose, I have decided I am going to save the world by helping one person at a time to become better after an illness as part of my clinical role, and to become happier overall as part of my complimentary business.  Which is why I don’t feel the need to concentrate on just one individual, as in a child of my own.

All in all, I am a born fighter. And I really don’t think I would be a fighter if I had been born into a happy “standard” family environment, because I wouldn’t have felt the need to fight for myself and others against injustices and misunderstandings.

Still, the original question remains: Is there a connection between my soul purpose and my mitochondrial past? Or is it all just a coincidence? Why don’t I like to believe it is a mere coincidence? Does life really need to have a purpose for it to be worth living?

Until the next.