A guest article this week: We All Have Royal Ancestry – so are you on the Royals’ Christmas card list as a distant releative?
We All Have Royal Ancestry
By Christopher Tisch
One of the greatest thrills as we research our genealogy is discovering we are descended from royal bloodlines. The idea that some distant uncle was a king or noble is exciting and can make anyone feel special. The whole allure of royalty, besides the obvious money and power, is belonging to a small group of people having a high place in society. For some, being a distant part of this group means we’re finally one of the “in crowd.”
But before you go wearing a crown to work tomorrow, you should know that science has shown that royalty in your bloodlines really isn’t all that special. It turns out that more people have royal blood than you would think. Statistician Joseph Chang discovered that the bloodlines of prominent royal figures like Emperor Charlemagne have crossed over into literally every present-day European’s ancestry.
This doesn’t mean that Charlemagne had thousands of kids, but instead is an observation that, if you go back far enough, almost all bloodlines within a given megapopulation will come together around a common ancestor. The further back you go, the wider your family tree spreads, to the point that at some point about 1,000 years ago, “all individuals who have any descendants among the present-day individuals are actually ancestors of all present-day individuals,” Chang determined.
Translating that into plain English, what he’s saying is that the population of Europe 1,000 years ago was so much smaller than it is today that, statistically, every person that was alive then and had children will somehow fit into the family tree of any given European alive today. What that means to us is that if you’re European, then you are definitely descended from Charlemagne. Taadaa! We’re all royal.
So, is it just the Europeans who are guaranteed royal lines? Not even close. By expanding his mathematical model from covering only living Europeans to everyone else on the planet today, Chang discovered that every single person on earth today is related to the Egyptian queen Nefertiti.
Yet another study found that all living Europeans can be traced back to the same pair of people going back only 1,000 years. When you look at how long people have been on Earth, 1,000 years isn’t very long at all. This study also found that people living as far away from each other as Britain and Turkey (at their closest points, more than 1,300 miles and 8 countries apart) share enough DNA to prove they are direct relatives around 20% of the time.
“It underlines the commonality of all of our histories,” said UC Davis evolutionary biologist Graham Coop. “You don’t have to go back many generations to find that we’re all related to each other.”
To learn more, go to http://www.dnaspectrum.com
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