The Ultimate Grandmother

How far back can you trace your ancestry? An article in The Daily Record tries to answer that question (with surprising results):

Thousands of years ago, my ultimate grandmother eked out an existence at the foot of Mount Parnassus in Greece.

Scientists have named her Ursula and she belonged to a band of hunter gatherers who struggled to survive in a hostile environment bristling with leopards, bears and Neanderthals before dying in her thirties – if she was lucky.

In fact, 11 per cent of Europeans are descended from Ursula, which means that thousands of people across the Continent are my distant relatives.

But how do I know? By consulting a new service called Oxford Ancestors, founded by Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University.

According to the prof, 97 per cent of modern Europeans are descended from just seven women or “clan mothers”.

The article has an interesting bit at the end – a pseudo-biography of the seven women that 97% of all modern Europeans are descended from.

The website mentioned is www.oxfordancestors.com.

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