Chapter 126: Where I’m actually ‘from’

Socially and Culturally

I went to high school in Pittsburgh, college in Cleveland and have spent my post-college years (thus far) in Washington, DC. The fact that I was homeschooled and moved 9 times before that tends to be unproductive in most conversations. My accent is generally determined to be western or mid-western, thus assuring my viability in a radio or television career.

Where my body came into being

I’m from the desert. The Chihuahuan desert, to be precise. I was born in Carlsbad, a small town in southeastern New Mexico, a part of the world more known for what lies beneath the ground (Carlsbad Caverns, pot ash, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) than what you can find on top. I don’t have many memories from Carlsbad, but I’ll always have a certain affinity for the wild beauty of the west.

Map of Northwest Europe, colored to represent grandparent origin
Dark yellow = 1 great-grandparent
Bright yellow = 2 great-grandparents

Recent familial origins

I’m Germanic to the core. My mother’s careful genealogical skills have determined that all eight of my great-grandparents hail from North-Western Europe. My ancestors are one each of Dutch, Irish, Scottish and Swiss, and two each of English and German. Check out the nifty map for a color coded representation of just how Germanic I am (each of the colored countries primarily speaks one of the West-germanic family of languages).

Origin of my Species

I’m originally from Africa. The oldest known fossilized remains of what are considered Homo sapiens were found in south-west Ethiopia and were dated to being approximately 200,000 years old. We weren’t the first of the Homo genus out of Africa, as others (Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis, etc) had wandered throughout most of Afro-Eurasia starting at least 1-2 million years ago. There are two main theories as to how Homo sapiens / my ancestors left Africa.

Map of Human migration over the Earth according to one-origin theory
Recent African origin of modern humans

Multiregional model: multiple groups of Homo erectus et al. that were spread over Afro-Eurasia evolved into Homo sapiens concurrently, or all at the same time. I don’t really buy it.

Recent single-origin model: Homo sapiens evolved in Africa and spread throughout the world, ‘replacing’ older populations of Homo erectus et al. Though not without controversy, this appears to be the majority opinion as of late, and is supported by mitochondrial DNA tests (see migration map).

As far as I can tell, my ancestors moved north through Egypt (haplogroup L3), up through the Levant and the Caucasus (haplogroup N), and then finally hoofed it to reach Western Europe (haplogroups I, J, K, or perhaps T, U, V, W, damn Vikings). I don’t know what my actual haplogroup is, as that service tends to cost money.

Gaeabionta (Life on Earth)

Being a multi-cellular life form, I’m from the sea. The fundamental building blocks of multi-cellular processes require the presence of water to function properly, and so though there is an incredible range of theories as to how life originated on Earth, we can be sure that it involved the sea. And making lots of babies.

Galactically and philosophically

There are lots of shorthand questions people use in order to facilitate getting to know someone they just met. “What do you do?”, “Where are you from?”, “What music do you listen to?”, “What team do you like?”, “Where’d you go to school?”, “Who you voting for this fall?”, etc, etc. Some are more fun to answer than others.

Drawn far enough back, we are all children of the stars.






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