Next time you find lice in your child's hair or the doctor tells you you've got a tapeworm, fret not. Scientists may one day take great interest in your hosting abilities because researchers have been able to track global human migration patterns by studying the histories of hitchhiking parasites. Fuz Rana reports on one such freeloader, Helicobacter pylori, on Creation Update. Don't look now, but you might find this bacterium in your gut—perhaps 2/3 of humanity is infected-although doctors don't get excited about it unless you complain of stomach pain. H. pylori serves as an ideal substitute for studying the origin and spread of humanity because it passes from human parent to child, mimicking the host DNA as it moves along. Due to this intimate association, scientists recognize the bacterium as a genetic marker for tracing human history. By studying various strands of H. pylori obtained from different parts of the world, geneticists have been able to determine where and when humans were on the move. The results resonate with the predictions of RTB's biblical human origins model. Fuz Rana and Hugh Ross lay out the case in detail in Who Was Adam?, but very briefly, RTB holds that humans originated roughly 10,000–100,000 years ago from a small population size in a region at or near northeast Africa (a location consistent with where Bible scholars believe the Garden of Eden existed). This study stands as another independent measuring technique for testing the "Out of Africa" or "Garden of Eden" hypotheses (and RTB's model) for human origins. It shows consistency with other independent tests derived from other parasites such as lice, malaria, and the JC virus. So, absent the DNA of early human specimens, we can thank these free riders for delivering a genetic history of humans and their migration patterns. Parasites are nasty to be sure, but we can also view their presence positively. They "know" us in some ways better than we know ourselves, and they have preserved a record of our history that even we can't recall.
Subjects: TCM - Human Origins