June 10, 2008


Yesterday I had the pleasure of showing a man from the BBC Radio Gloucestershire station up the tower. He was equipped with a special camera which takes 360 degree pictures. The results can be found on the BBC Radio Gloucester page. There is a further set of 'normal' pictures taken with a stills camera in a separate gallery.

Do take the time and trouble to take a look. Maybe it will show you why I love this place and this area so much.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:57 AM | TrackBack

September 08, 2005

Genographic update

I am now starting to get e-mails from people who have matches to my Y-chromosome DNA and share a relatively recent ancestor - that is, somewhere in the last few hundred years. I can see this is going to prove very interesting indeed as we explore the where and who.

For the moment, most of them seem to have fairly organised information and family relationship charts, whereas mine is still very patchy and incomplete. While I know a lot about the broad sweep of the family, there are some significant "missing links" between my branch and the supposed parent branch. Finding them is going to be quite a task methinks, and perhaps this will help.

Another task for the "Golden Years" perhaps. I can hear myself now - "They just don't make family trees like they used to!"

Maybe not!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 06, 2005

Genographic survey - the ongoing discovery

In a further interesting development from the National Geographic's Genographic Project, I have contributed my DNA to the next step - the Family Tree DNA exploration. DNA released to this project is matched against all the samples they have in the database and produces lists based on the best matches to your DNA measured on 12 marker matches. Presumably at some point this will be further refined to the 25 marker match, but for now ends at 12 markers and assembles a profile of "Recent" Ethnic Origins at "exact" match, one-step mutation and two-step mutation.

Reading through the lists of these for my own DNA I find a fascinating pattern emerging, especially at the "exact" match, but it just gets more and more interesting as you go through the other matches. In the first group I find I have genetic relatives in the following places:

England 109
Ireland 34
Germany 33
Scotland 13
Netherlands 4
France 4
Poland 2

and Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, the USA and South Africa all feature as well. (There are many more as well, but I have been selective!) At the first step mutation group this process becomes even more interesting, because the numbers for the countries above increase dramatically, but a whole lot more join the list. So I find that I now have genetic relations in:

Australia, Belgium, Bohemia, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, Hungary, Iran, Polynesia, Sweden, the Ukraine, Slovakia and Shetland and many more. At the two-step mutation, the above are joined by genetic relations in Belarus, Siberia and Romani among many more which include China, the Melanesia, the Balkans and the Americas.

Now some of that can be ascribed to the fact that we are a family who have served the Crown in many lands through the centuries, either at sea or in the various armies sent abroad to settle or occupy territory so we have left genetic markers which show up now. One of the more interesting discoveries has been that of a Quaker family of my surname - who emigrated with the Pilgrim Fathers, though probably not on the same ship. They orginate from near where I live (a friend lives in the "Old 'Friends' House - the former Quaker Meeting House in Tewkesbury.) and photos from the late 1890's and early 1900's show remarkable family resemblances to me, my brother and my parents and grandparents! Quite scary in one sense, but an astonishing link in the overall family history chain.

The project is still incomplete, and I would definitely urge everyone who reads this to make the effort and to take the plunge - contribute your DNA. For me, it has shown just how close a family we all are, just how closely related we all are and how we have spread around the globe. Go here to sign up now.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 05, 2005

Can he say that?

Shock, horror! Sir Gulam, the "Curry King", writing in the Financial Times, has said that his fellow Muslim's "must integrate into British culture and society, or get out!" And this from a man who is a Muslim, was born in India, but immigrated here, wears a "Western" suit and clothes, and runs a multi-million pound empire he and his wife built from scratch.

In his view, Muslim immigrants who retreat into their ghettos and try to change the world to the culture and society they have left do themselves and every other Muslim no good at all. Hence his advice to them, become British, or go! Now the last time someone said this, or very nearly this - his name is Lord Tebbit - the left wing press, the entire Labour Party and the whole "multi-cultural" industry rose up in arms and howled "racist". They seem to have a bit of a problem with Sir Gulam on that one! But it could also be that he has donated a rather large amount of money to the Labour Party and a few other "causes" so beloved of the Left and they are afraid he might want it back!

It is incredibly refreshing to hear someone from within that community denouncing the stupidity of trying to recreate the very oppressive culture you have fled from, in the country you came to because it was so free and relaxed! Equally interesting, the Leader of the Muslim Council of Britain, endorsed Sir Gulam's sentiments - with the usual caveat about all militancy is the government's fault because of the war in Iraq. Hypocrite! As usual, he wants it both ways.

Just how much of a problem this importation of the culture and mindset of the mainly Muslim dominated Eastern countries these folk have come from, is illustrated by the images we have recently seen, one of the Yorkshire raised and educated Teaching Assistant turned suicide bomber, and the other of the young woman who threw herself and her two infant children under the Heathrow Express to escape an "arranged" marriage she could no longer bear. I would suspect that this last image is the real reason the Mullahs and Imams want to force Britain into the Islamic vision of piety, the conflict that arises between women who see all around them the freedom enjoyed by their non-Muslim neighbours and the oppression they themselves endure under the heel of their menfolk who, under Muslim law, own them, will sooner, rather than later, either shatter the hold of Islam over women completely, or the men will soon be compelled to accept change and a redistribution of power - and an abandonment to their "divine" right to beat their womenfolk, force them to marry, or to have sex.

I hope that Sir Gulam's words are taken to heart by Mr Blair and his sycophants. This is a man who is not a slave to a failed ideology, he is sincere and he is right. The success of this country has long depended not on the isolation of its disparate immigrant groups but on their integration - sometimes over many centuries. That is why we have places like Petit France in the heart of London, why we have Flemish weavers names in the Cotswolds and why we have such a tolerant society. Successful immigrants are the ones who, after arriving in a new country, adapt, adopt those customs and practices which they like and adapt to those they don't - or adapt the customs to suit them. They don't wear clothes designed for the desert in the English winter, grow scruffy beards and walk around wearing turbans or headscarves, they blend in and became part of the majority.

Sir Gulam deserves some praise for his statement. Let us hope that Tony the Cronymaker will also heed his words and reign in the cretins who are destroying this nation and its tolerance. Somehow I doubt he has either the authority or the wisdom. Pity!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:30 AM | TrackBack

September 02, 2005

Orders of magnitude

Watching the news of the scale of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, I am struck by the way the media and others are presenting this as a case of the US Federal government, and the President in particular, doing too little or nothing at all. On every bulletin I have so far watched, I have had to listen to and watch the same hysterical woman rant about how nothing is being done and how no one cares. Good television, good human interest, but is it the real picture?

The sheer scale of the devastation is equal to that caused by the boxing day tsunami, probably the only reason the deathtoll isn't as high is that at least some of the population had been evacuated. An area of 90,000 square miles is more than the entire land surface of the UK - in fact it is more than the whole of the Netherlands and Belgium and probably a bit of Germany and Denmark! The entire infrastructure is destroyed or damaged, the roads (you want to get trucks and busses in you need usable roads!) the airports, and the electricity (modern cities need that just to keep clean water flowing and sewerage going out!) is out as well. And you still have upwards of a million people who need to be fed, watered and evacuated!

All very well for the armchair critics in the US, the UK and the usual suspects in the media to start blaming "the government" or "the President", but you can be damned sure they would have been no better at solving this one in a couple of hours.

Probably uniquely in the world today the US does have the structures and resources to deal with this. The problem is it takes time to get the people and the equipment to where you need it and then it takes time to actually penetrate the zone and find everyone in need. When the law and order also breaks down as it has in parts of New Orleans, you then have an added problem of the rescue personnel coming under attack. And then you have the media contribution. One of the most infuriating "news" broadcasts I have seen so far is of a placard waving mob "demonstrating" and demanding help. It is so obviously "staged for television" that it is nauseating! Yes it is a tragedy! Yes it is a disaster of unbelievable proportions, but where the hell are the priorities of the news media when they can take up airspace and valuable cargo space on helicopters, about the only viable means of getting to those in need quickly, with "celebrities" whose main contribution seems to be to weep and accuse their President of "failing" to help. They will happily interview hysterical people who need clean water and food, having flown in with a full payload of reporter, camera crew and sound man when what was really needed was a helicopter loaded with food, water and equipment for sanitation! Not more handwringing and pontificating media reporters. Certainly the world needs to know what is happening, and those who are so quick to criticise the President in this should know that no emergency management or planning system can be activiated until the full extent of what is needed is known. That means getting good intelligence from the scene, real intelligence, not media circus spin, not party political spin.

Having been involved in Emergency Planning and Management for a large part of my career I can say with some authority that the emergency relief Command will have been assembled as the storm approached. They will have been trying to ensure that, initially, the right things were in place to "protect in situ", that is to maintain the dykes (levees to the US) and to pump out the areas that did flood. Evacuation and emergency shelter will also have been a high priority, but evacuation would have been suspended as the storm struck and is impossible until after it has passed. Once the storm begins to ease, the next phase kicks into gear, usually at local level - not national - and requires a local team to assess and report back on the actions required and the equipment needed. They will also prioritise the needs, still considering in order;

maintenance of law

In New Orleans, the initial assessment was that the flood water could be contained, then the levee failed and containment was not an option. With the roads destroyed, evacuation becomes difficult as does reaching those who need food, water and assistance. When the law and order fails and the gangs start to seize control of areas, this compounds the problems because now the aid and rescue workers are denied access. So the National Guard has been mobilised and sent in - a few thousand against a few hundred thousand - and combing an area bigger than several countries in Europe. How much impact could they have immediately? The simple answer is not much, but they will. It won't happen instantly and in a nice convenient Hollywood style with the "good guys" cavalry riding over the hill and putting it all right immediately, it will take time and time is a very subjective thing. For those waiting for relief it is a lifetime, to those bringing the relief it seems to fly past as they struggle through the debris at an agonising pace. I know, I have been there, I have done this and struggled afterwards with the few who have only seen their waiting and not the effort that went into reaching them.

It is even worse when you are the co-ordinator in what is now frequently referred to as "Gold Command". You are not "on the scene" able to actually "do" the job. You are reliant on reports of progress from the teams on the ground, aerial reconnaissance (if available) and any other reliable and verifiable source to make your assessments and priorities from. Then comes the even more difficult bit of where to make your dispositions to. Who do I leave in place, who do I move, who is the most urgent and who the least. Where do I send the equipment and where do I send in the food, water, medical supplies? How do they get there? What obstacles need to be overcome to achieve this and how will they be overcome - also, how long will it take to go this route as opposed to that one. Even more tricky is the fact that Gold Command must work as a team - it is also an "Interagency" assembly and each agency has a different capability and agenda. Ultimately they must all be pointed in the same direction and all the synergies utilised in the best possible way to achieve the maximum effect. There is no easy way to do this and sometimes the "Commander" is obliged to bang heads on the table and issue unpopular orders. Being the Number One in Gold Command is a bit like being God, most of the time you are working on amicable and co-operative levels, occassionally it's time to issue thunderbolts. Those who have never been in Command, can never know the loneliness of having to make a choice between taking one action which will save this small group and another which will save a larger group in more imminent danger further away, in the hope that you will be able to save the others on the return swing.

It doesn't always work and sometimes you have to live with that. I well recall an incident my father talked of when, as a young seaman serving on one of the RN's large battleships, there was a torpedo hit which started a fire in the 15 inch gun magazine. Fire in cordite is not a good idea, but there are also upwards of ninety men and officers in the magazine when at action stations. The officer in charge opened the seacocks and flooded it, drowning himself and the other eighty nine in the magazine. It saved more than 1100 members of the crew and the ship - brave, terminal for him and all with him, but the only option. Only those who have had to make similar choices can ever appreciate that.

So, the media circus now gathering like flies around the Mississippi Delta would do well to remember that they are hindering not helping, the critics would do better to shut up, cut their fuel usage which is drawing off fuel vital for the aid delivery and get down to the local charity centre and see what they can do to help instead of throwing criticisms.

No emergency plan or management system is ever perfect. It can always be improved and so it should be, we learn, after all, from the mistakes of the past. Now we all know that the levee's around New Orleans should have been strengthened and raised several years ago - carping about it now isn't going to improve it! Besides, surely it was the state and city legislature and not the Presidency which should have dealt with that? Looking at a map shows that most of New Orleans and St Louis is below sea level, so maybe that should be addressed when rebuilding the city after this disaster.

In the meantime, I raise my cap to those actually getting in there and getting aid in. I salute those who are getting to grips with this and starting to try to bring normailty back to a scene of such devastation and on such a scale that I very much doubt any nation, the US included, could have done any better. Now is not the time for recriminations, now is the time for every man, woman and child to get in there and do whatever is need to help - and that includes the rest of the world.

Let us hope that the EU and UK governments get the message! In particular, let's see less of the media circus and a lot more of their acting in assisting the emergency crews in any way they can.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:36 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

Hurricane threats

The news of the damage caused by the category 5 hurricane which has hit the Mississippi Delta area and New Orleans is bad enough, but I do find it strange that the UK Media is not reporting the fact that there have been an increased number of these devastating storms in recent years. Given that they usually have lots to say from the Doom and Gloom merchants of Friends of the Earth (Enemies of Humanity) and Greenpeace (Ecoterrorists Inc), this seems to me to be a missed opportunity - or, perhaps it has to do with the fact that it hasn't devastated an area in a "Thud Wurld" nation? Could it be that the US and its citizens are not seen as being in need of sympathy or assistance?

If one considers the devastation that arises from flooding of "protected" low lying areas when the dykes are breached (Levees in the US parlance!) and the storm surge produces rises in water levels of three to four metres in populated areas, you do have to acknowledge that the US economy takes a huge hit every time one of these storms strikes. That raises the question; if we are prepared to pour billions of pounds in aid into third world areas where most of the money is misappropriated and seldom results in anything which will prevent the next disaster, why are we not being encouraged to offer the same aid to the affected States in the US? Surely the annual damage to their economy must eventually hit the rest of us, restricting our natural and laudable impulse and ability to offer real improvement and aid to everyone else?

One normally hears a great deal about how we are all one "global family" and "owe it to the world's poor struck by disaster" to pour our hardearned Pounds, Euros, and any other currency into "aid". But, evidently, not for the US. Yet, the US is not universally flush with money, everyone is not "rich" and many of those worst hit in the Gulf States and further inland as the storm blows out across the Mississippi valley, will be people who are poor, struggle to make ends meet and who will not be covered by adequate insurance or even by any form of aid programme. The National infrastructure in the US should also cause us all concern, as it cannot continually absorb damage without degradation and massive investment is needed to put it right. That hits at the funding available for Foreign Aid, for renewal and for growth.

The US is not the "enemy" of the rest of the world, it is the powerhouse and the engine of the world economy, whenever it falters or takes a serious hit, the world catches cold! That is something we all do very well to remember, and it is something that the Liberal Left of the EU and the UK would do very well to learn. The funds they are so generous in handing out to every tinpot dictator of every really deprived and oppressed nation they love to patronise will dry up very rapidly if we do not recognise the damage being absorbed by the US at present affects us all. One look at the oil prices in the last 72 hours will tell you that!

My prayers are with all my friends and acquaintances in the Gulf States as they begin the mammoth task of clearing up, restoring and repairing the damage this latest hurricane has done to them. Their great strength lies in their resilience and their ability as a nation to do what we in the socialist-dominated "rest of the West" have lost the ability to do, to pull together, to muck in, and get on with rebuilding without the whinging, whining, and demands for help from the "state" that accompany any disaster in this country. We need to acknowledge that, and we need to at the very least offer all the assistance we can as their need is every bit as great as that of South East Asia, Africa, or anywhere else. And before anyone attacks me for that sentiment, remember that Third World Aid receives probably its biggest single shot in the arm from US government funding.

We are all one family, and our American cousins, self sufficient and resilient though they are, need our aid and support as much as anyone at this time. The indications from the weather data for the last ten years suggests that they will suffer increasing storm damage over the next few decades and beyond. That poses the very real threat of eventual serious economic damage to what is possibly the most important single economy in the world - we need to acknowledge that, put aside the pernicious prejudice pumped out by our left wing media circus and the Liberal Left and look seriously at what can be done to help.

If not, we will all catch a serious cold in the not too distant future - and we all face being labelled hypocrites for our attitude to those in need just because they happen to belong to a nation our leaders envy!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:40 AM | Comments (3)

July 16, 2005

Common Sense Has Died

This was far too good not to spread further. I found it on a UK-based union Chat Room/News Website. Someone has hit the nail on the head - my thanks go to the person who posted it on the News Site - one Miss Whiplash, believe it or not!

Common Sense Has Died

To Whom It May Concern,

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Mr. Common Sense.

Mr. Sense had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that life isn't always fair.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to rapidly deteriorate when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place: reports of a six-year boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, these only worsened his condition.

Mr. Sense declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student; but, could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Finally, Common Sense lost his will to live as the Ten Commandants became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, she spilled a bit in her lap and was awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son Reason. He is survived by two stepbrothers; My Rights and Ima Whiner. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on; if not, join the majority and do nothing.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:55 PM | Comments (3)

July 06, 2005

Devolution - Democratic or Bureaucratic bonanza?

According to the former editor of that eminent purveyor of news North of the Border, "The Scotsman", Mr Blair's "triumph" of demographic reform since 1997 - Scottish and Welsh Devolution - has, to quote Mr Luckhurst verbatim, "created the most bloated public sector in the developed world. And you fools in England are paying for it!" He has written a scathing piece in that right wing paper that Blair's media spinners actually named in an effort to take the sting out of the reports the paper was running, the "Daily Mail".

According to the line fed to parliament and to those of us South of the Border and East of that other border, this would increase democracy and ensure the stability of the Kingdom by creating a "group of equals" among the four nations. He forgot to mention then, and still denies, that it would be the English who would pay for it all the way, and he also quietly tried to break up England into eight so-called "Regions" so that he and his party of gerrymanderers could be entrenched in government by virtue of the sheer demographic breakdown with the rural constituencies lumped in with the mainly Labour voting Urban ones. Smart move, it makes sure you have a built in majority - and the other function of the Regions was to split up the "English" nation so that they can be more easily controlled by the Labour party's Scottish and Welsh majority. Because therein lies yet another rub. Scottish and Welsh constituents now have double representation - and what is worse, not only do they have the power to say how Scotland or Wales will or will not be governed, but they have a voice over English affairs as well. Naturally, the nasty oppressive English may not have any say over their affairs (such as student fees!), but must pick up the bills and pay for their profiligacy with the tax payers money.

One reason this is costing so much is that where we once had one set of paper shuffling civil servants to pay for, we now have four. Where we once had one set of expensive interfering passengers on the parliamentary gravy train - we now have four. Leaving the Scottish Parliament aside for the moment, let us look at the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly. It has a number of "elected" members, who are still drawing their "parliamentary" salaries even though they are not in fact "sitting". The reason for this?

Well, the fact that the imposed Good Friday Agreement - imposed by Blair and his sycophants in revenge for the fact that the Labour Party is totally unelectable in the Province - basically attempted to sell the Unionist population down the river. Blair thought that he and his cronies could get away with doing a deal with Sinn Fein and their terrorist buddies the IRA (as long as Blair was not seen to be actually dealing with the IRA!) which they could then use to make the Unionist side look to be the unreasonable obstacles to peace. Naturally this also meant destroying the extremely effective Royal Ulster Constabulary by imposing the usual "quotas" for recruitment, changing the name and the uniforms, and then planting Sinn Fein (IRA Political Wing) members on the governing Authority which oversees the Force.

Now that it has all gone horribly wrong for him and is demonstrably unworkable, the solution is more regulation imposed from Whitehall - at huge expense - and still more sops to the Sinn Fein terrorists.

Whitehall is no better - Sinn Fein managed to win seats in Westminster in the previous elections - but refused to take the required Oath of Office. Blair's solution? Attempt to remove the Oath (after all his entire Party have perjured themselves in taking it anyway!) and then, when Parliament refused to let him do that (probably for fear of the real constitutional crisis that would cause!) he gave these terrorist representatives office suites in the Palace of Westminster itself where they have access to all the most sensitive communications, all the files, and to the very heart of the nation! They are still there, still refusing to take the Oath of Office and still having ready access to Number 10 while the Unionist side of that debacle are refused access. Blair does not believe in democracy - the Northern Irish population is not, as he supposes, "an oppressed Catholic Republican majority" - these people represent less than 12% of the total population of Northern Ireland - and in the South attract only around 4% of the total vote.

Turning to the Welsh Assembly briefly, a whole new Civil Service has been brought into being in Cardiff to service the "needs" of the Assembly there. So a population of around 3 million Welsh now have around half of all those employed in Wales working for their Assembly. Who pays the bill for the wages? You guessed it - not the Welsh, primarily because they can't raise sufficient tax revenue there to pay for it. Ergo, let the English pay!

Mr Luckhurst's outburst at the folly of it all is most welcome. The tragedy is that, until the English can regain control of their Parliament, resisting the Labour Party's attempts to create Regional Soviets to further split up the English and remove them permanently from power in their own country, nothing is likely to change - and the English taxpayers will continue to pay for the extravagances of the Scottish and Welsh Socialist systems.

The tragedy for all of us is that the belief in the majority of Scottish and Welsh voters that BIG government is somehow much better than freedom of choice and freedom of enterprise will continue to hold this charlatan and his Party in power. Until the English have had enough.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:20 AM

July 05, 2005

Genographic survey results

Some time ago I wrote that I was taking part in the National Geographic Society's Genographic Survey. My results are finally back. They seem to be saying that I really am a dinosaur! I am a member of Haplogroup R1B (M343) and my DNA ties me back to the M168 marker which orginates in Africa. Apparently I am carrying the DNA of "Eurasian Adam", an individual whose Y chromosome DNA dates back plus or minus 60,000 years to a location just North of lake Uganda. This individual is the male ancestor of all Non-African people alive today!

The survey tracks the DNA of males and females, looking at the Y-chromosome DNA for males and the mitachondrial DNA for females. The migration maps show some interesting departures with female DNA following sometimes very different routes to the male lineage that forms the modern population of any given area.

His descendents migrated from Africa about 60,000 years ago (they are identified as M168) and their original journey took them to the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. From them came the next "marker", M89, the carriers of which moved North into Israel/Palestine, Jordan and the modern Middle East. They in turn gave rise to the next "marker" I carry, that labelled M9 - whose bearers moved East into modern Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and then over the Himalayas and into Kazakstan and gave rise to the next Marker, M45.

The carriers of this "marker" moved into the Central Eurasian steppe area, some going East into Mongolia and modern China, others West into modern Russia. The Western branch gave rise to my next "marker", M173, the carriers of this marker moved across what is today the Caucas Mountains and the Urals and into modern Poland and Northern Germany. Some doubled back into Southern Byelorus and the Caspian Sea. The Westernmost members of this group gave rise to my next "marker", the final one, M343, whose carriers moved fully into Europe through modern Germany, the Low Countries, France and into Northern Spain where they sat out the Ice Age. As the Ice receded, they moved North again and their descendents colonised England, France and most of the Northern European lands.

Carriers of the M343 marker are direct descendents of Cro-Magnon Man, the first modern Europeans whose arrival 35,000 years ago signalled the beginning of the end of the Neanderthals. Contrary to popular belief, it would appear that the Cro-Magnons were simply better at adapting and surviving than their predecessors and their culture seems to have been more developed and much more able in the fields of technology - they wove clothing from fibres while their fellow inhabitants struggled with cut skins and cruder tools.

The movement of this line across the continent has also been interesting to read - starting out between 79,000 and 31,000 years ago in Africa, the dating to the Markers is as follows:

Eurasian Adam M168 - Upper Paleolithic Period - probably 60,000 years ago

M89 - 45,000 years ago in Northern Africa or the Middle East arising from M168, this marker is carried by many in the Middle East as far North as Anatolia and the Balkans. The M170 marker also arose from this group and reached Europe through Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Romanian area ending in Austria. Another marker, M201 travelled South through Iran and populated Pakistan, the Indus and West side of India. Yet another, M172 reached Italy via Greece!

M9 - 40,000 years ago in the Middle East arising from the M89 strain. This marker is carried by most Indians and Europeans. This marker also gave rise to M20 and M175, M20 being the principal marker moving into cenrtral India and M175 continuing through Burma, Thailand and on into Malasia and further East. An unusual marker, LLY22G, moved off from this strain and populated Northern Russia, Siberia and Finalnd and Sweden!

M45 - Appeared between 40,000 and 35,000 years ago and defines the movement into the Northern Steppes where they even survived the Ice Age. The marker arising from this one - a single marker, M242, which moved East through Mongolia and China and into North America is partnered by four parallel female markers, and seems to be the "father" of both the Northern Asian peoples and the American "Indian" population.

M173 - Arrived in Europe around 35,000 years ago showing the Westward drift of the Steppe peoples carrying M45. The presence of the Ice sheets across Northern Europe meant that they travelled along a fairly confined area in very harsh conditions - something which may have helped speed the movement and the next development, the arrival of the next marker M343 which is found in Europe from 35,000 years ago until the present day.

The M173/M343 markers are still predominant in Europe today, the descendents of these early settlers moving North as the ice cleared and settling the newly available hunting and agricultural lands available to them. These peoples crossed into and settled in Britain as little as 8,000 years ago - and may well have had to retreat again for a while as the ice advanced again. Permanent settlement does not, according to the experts, appear to have been possible here until it became an island around 6,500 years ago.

What I have found fascinating in studying this material is the speed with which new markers seem to have appeared as the populations expanded. Equally fascinating is the map showing the movements of human colonists from these early hunter gatherers as they fanned out to populate and colonise the globe. If you have not already done so, I recommend that you visit the National Geographic's excellent site and explore the human journey!

We have been a remarkably successful species - let us hope that we have a real future and that our descendents prove as hardy and as durable and adaptable as those distant ancestors whose genes have shaped us!

All in all, it has shown me that our journey has been a fascinating one - and it isn't over yet. I wonder what the next such survey will produce?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:15 AM | Comments (1)