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Do Blue Eyes Originate From The Black Sea?
Blue eyes are an amazing mutation that stems from a single individual around 8,000 years ago. When we gaze into they eyes of famous people such as Leonardo DCaprio and David Beckham we don't really think about why and how they have blue eyes.
I have recently watched the TV Program Meet The Izzards where TV personality Eddie Izzard is given a once in a lifetime opportunity to trace his ancestors back through time on his mothers side, to the original African ancestor. Evidently according to scientists we all have a common ancestor named Eve, no not that Eve, this was the original African link to all the humans alive today.
On his journey through time he was directed to go around the world and meet up at the place where his genetic marker showed a slight change. Following the map we were shown where his ancestors, and ours, began their first migration out of Africa, ending up in a region of Turkey on the Black Sea.
Our Genetic History
Blue Eyes And Farming
According to the research it was suggested that blue eyes were a side effect of farming animals such as goats and cows.
It was the process of drinking milk that changed the genetics. Evidently brown eyed people throughout history had never been able to stomach milk. Literally.
After drinking milk from their mothers, babies outgrew milk and became lactose intolerant. Milk wasn't part of their staple diet, and it was only with the migration to Turkey and the beginning of settlement farming that people started to drink milk.
The blue eyed mutation was a side effect according to the scientists on the program.
There is another suggestion that states lighter skinned people have adapted genetically because they need to process vitamin D more so than their brown eyed counterparts. This was not covered, but looking at the Turkish families on the program showed that they did indeed have blue eyes.
Neolithic migration 6,000 to 10,000 years ago took two different paths. One settled in Turkey and then headed either in to Europe or the Mediterranean, and the other migrants missed out Turkey and either stayed within Africa, went straight to Europe, or travelled down to Australia where we know them today as Aborigines.
What's Your Eye Color?
The genetic leap that shows blue eyed people came from this small area of Turkey has been talked and argued over for a number of years.
But it seems that it has now been proven without a doubt. Blue eyed people originated in that part of Turkey around 8,000 years ago. Nowhere else on the planet did or has any blue eyed genetics from that period or after.
The question was, if there were so few blue eyed people, how did they manage to not only survive but thrive to such an extent that we have thousands today?
The answer was that back in the Neolithic times and since, the tribes of people began to see blue eyes as something special. When the brown eyed males of the tribe were out hunting, the few men that were left behind to protect the tribe had an abundant of females to chose from. The blue eyed woman was selected over all the rest because of her special appearance. And this continued over the years until there were millions of us blue eyed girls and guys.
I often wondered why I felt so at home when I visited Turkey and Greece. Now I know. I was just following the path of my mother, or should I say my mothers ancestors. And mine of course.
To think of that great migration over thousands of years, with all those people settling in each country on their way and maybe ending up in England like my ancestor did, is an awe inspiring thought. It makes me feel quite humble. Maybe with the common ancestor we all have we should start thinking of peace in the world. Lets face it, we are all related.
c) copyright Nell Rose
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