Bringing the Text to Life
Advances in both genealogical research and DNA tracking have revealed many things, including the news that all of us are more closely related to one another than we used to think.
That could be a good thing or a bad thing.
We often don’t have to go back too many generations to find common ancestors not only with people on the other side of town but also with people on the other side of the world.
In 2007, Harvard professor Steven Pinker wrote about the genealogy craze for The New Republic: “We are all related — not just in the obvious sense that we are all descended from the same population of the first humans, but also because everyone’s ancestors mated with everyone else’s at many points since that dawn of humanity,” he said. “There aren’t enough ancestors to go around for everyone to have a family tree of his or her own.”
So there’s a sense in which everybody is our cousin at some remove.
But at the same time, studies in genetic inheritance reveal how quickly our percentage of...