Race and âThe Journey of Manâ I have recently watched the documentary âThe Journey of Man: A Genetic Odysseyâ created by the geneticist Spencer Wells and I have to admit that I found some contradictions in the reasoning presented. At issue here is the concept of race and human origin. Wells tells us that all people today are descended from a single man âY-chromosomal Adamâ who lived in Africa about 60000-90000 years ago. I can not personally deny this particular fact. Nevertheless, this âAdamâ man creates two Haplogroup lineages; Haplogoup A and Haplogroup BT. Haplogroup A which can be found in large quantities in Namidia and Sudan emerged close to 60000 years ago and has no lineages emerging from it. Haplogroup A still has a large amount of carriers in Southern Africa today. On the other hand Haplogroup BT emerged close to the same time around 60000-75000 years ago and all modern humans except Haplogroup A are descended from it. Now Wells takes us on a genetic journey across the world and concludes that there is no such thing as race and that race is a social construct. Nevertheless I find that the very evidence that Wells provides contradicts him. Let us examine this further. I chose to focus on the example Wells provided with the Chukchi people of Russia who reside close to the Arctic Ocean and Bering Strait. These are the Chukchi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anadyr_residents_1906.JPG A drawing representing their nomadic lifestyle from 1816: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Choris,_Tschuktschen.jpg My issue with Wells is that he contradicts himself on the issue of race. Wells tells us that race is a âsocial constructâ. Nevertheless, he also tells us that the Chukchi are a people specifically adapted for surviving in Arctic conditions. Their bodies are modified to conserve and produce more heat. Their arms and legs are shorter and they are mostly âbarrel chestedâ or in other words âstoutâ. Now the Chukchi also display typical âmongoloidâ characteristics and have a Haplogoup related to most Native Americans and other mongoloid people. I can not accept that this evidence supports the idea that race is a social construct. This man is a San tribesman who are generally carriers of Haplogroup A. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/San_tribesman.jpg I have chosen this example due to the fact that there is a great deal of contrast in adaptations between these people and because they are separated by Haplogroup mutations. The San live in Southern Africa and are specifically adapted to live in a hot climate. We have both a difference in DNA and in appearance. Now we are going to examine modern Europeans who are generally carriers of Haplogroup R and I. Haplogroup I is unique because it is the only Haplogroup that emerged in Europe exclusively. If we focus on Haplogroup R and trace it back to Haplogroup BT (excluding R and BT from the count) we find no less than seven genetic mutations. Tracing it back from R we have Haplogroup R > P > MNOPS > K > IJK > F > CF > CT > BT. Haplogroup Family Tree: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroups Again based on this evidence I have to argue against the notion that race is simply a social construct. Europeans do in fact look different and have different genes. There are in fact more factors to consider when examining race. Simple Y-chromosome DNA is not enough. The anthropologist George W. Gill argues for the existence of race as a biological fact. However, his argument mentions that more factors need to be taken into account in a population to determine race. For instance skin colour may not be enough on its own but skin colour combined with DNA, skeletons, blood types and general physiology can in fact determine race. Personally I have to agree with his assessment.