Noah's Ark long thought to just be a myth finds credibility with recent Genetic Studies.
Jack Armstrong emailed me a few days ago with a news story on Genetics.
I will outline a brief overview of the information (a link is provided at the end of this paper).
In the ABC news article: "We Dodged Extinction" by Lee Dye, A worldwide genetic study of Humans vs. our closest living genetic cousins, the great apes of Africa, indicates that a 55 chimpanzees in a group located in West Africa have twice the genetic variability of all 6 Billion humans. These 55 chimps are more genetically different from each other then you are to any other person in the world.
This finding was highly unexpected and indicates that humans came very close to extinction in the recent past.
Pascal Gagneux, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at San Diego, speaking on the findings says that our genetic variability should be at least as great as that of apes. It is nowhere near those levels.
Researchers compared 1,070 DNA sequences from apes, chimps, humans and added DNA from a Neanderthal bone. The results are very convincing, humans have the least variability. However, this low genetic variability leaves humans more susceptible to disease.
"Our ancestors lost much of their original variability." "That makes perfectly good sense," says Bernard Wood, the Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Origins at George Washington University and an expert on human evolution. "The amount of genetic variation that has accumulated in humans is just nowhere near compatible with the age" of the species, Wood says. "That means you’ve got to come up with a hypothesis for an event that wiped out the vast majority of that variation."
That sums up the article but the researchers only conclude that some unknown event occurred in the past that eliminated almost all humans.
Of course for many people the Flood account in the Bible provides a good candidate, it tells of a large scale event that wipes out most of the population in which only 8 humans survive but this genetic research data alone does not allow for a credible flood theory.
Further scientific evidence for the Flood account
A number of genetic studies in the past few years were trying calculate a beginning date for the human species came up with findings that baffled the researchers. These researchers looked for genetic differences in the Y chromosome of 38 men living in different parts of the world and having different ethnic backgrounds. They found no differences at all in the Y chromosome of the 38 men, (no nucleotide differences at all in the non recombinant parts of the Y chromosome). This non-variation suggests no evolution has occurred in male ancestry. Based on this analysis the researchers concluded that men's forefather-a single individual, not a group, lived no more than 270,00 years ago. This newest research rules out microevolution. Both studies rule out macroevolution, (changes over long periods of time). Homo erectus, (a human like species which existed 0.5 to 1.5 million years ago) could not be the progenitor of modern man, due to the time discrepancy.
An earlier study on Women and their mitochondrial DNA (Women do not have Y-chromosome) concluded that women can only trace their background only a couple of hundred thousand years to a common ancestor the Scientists called "Eve"
Another researcher, American molecular biologist Micheal Hammer, decided that the first male Y-chromosome study must be erroneous. He would use more data for his research. He examined 2,600 nucleotide base pair segments of the chromosome in 16 ethnically distinct men. His calculations suggest that the 16 men descended from one man living between 51,000 and 411,000 years ago. A British team composed of geneticists Simon Whitfield, John Sulston, and Peter Goodfellow examined a much larger segment of the human Y-chromosome, a segment composed of 100,000 nucleotide base pairs, in 5 ethnically distinct men. The divergence they observed was so small as to shrink the date projection to somewhere between 37,000 and 49,000 years ago
Both Y-chromosome and mitochondrial studies indicate that we have one common ancestor on the male side and one common ancestor on the female side. But when all of the data was put together the researchers were perplexed to find that the data from male Y-chromosome studies could only be dated back a short period but the data for female mitochondrial studies could be traced back to further ancient dates.
Again these findings agree with the Biblical Flood account, a significant time difference between the common female ancestor of all women, Eve, and the common male ancestor of all men, Noah.
So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. (Genesis 7:7) NKJV
Noah had no daughters, so his wife and the wives of his sons would still show and pass on the genetic differences between the four women from the time of Eve. However, all male humans will only show the changes from the time of Noah in their Y-chromosome. None of his sons would have any Y-chromosome changes from there father and with no other men on the ark, the human male can now only be dated back to Noah, not all the way to Adam.
Depending on the number and duration of gaps in the Genesis genealogies, (a subject debated among Old Testament scholars) in Hebrew when genealogies are presented even though it might say "son of" it can mean grand son, great grand son, great great grand son… and the same when mentioning fathers, it can mean grand fathers, great grand fathers.... The time difference between Eve and Noah could be anywhere from a few thousand years to a few tens of thousands of years.
We also find the interesting comment earlier in this paper; "this low genetic variability leaves humans more susceptible to disease." We discover that those long life spans, written about in the early Genesis chapter, begins to deteriorate after the flood.
And God said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is indeed mortal and their days of life will be 120 years." (Genesis 6:3)
God's decision to flood the earth was made a few verses later.
For further information this: see God's Limit on Mans Years
Was the whole Earth flooded?
Dr. Hugh Ross points out the following:
The Hebrew word for world in the flood account refers to mankind and the area he occupied rather than the entire globe. In Genesis 6, 7, 8, and 9 two Hebrew words, nephesh and basar, are used to describe the animals on board the ark. The word nephesh includes birds and mammals only. The word basar refers more specifically to those birds and mammals that contribute to man's livelihood.
If the Flood were a localized event, only those animals required by man would be needed on the ark. You save on space when you don't have to bring elephants crocodiles, snakes, giraffes … or the food for those animals.
At the start of this paper we found that chimpanzees have the large genetic variability associated with older species. So taken with the Hebrew meaning for world in the flood account, we find that these chimpanzees were not wiped out in the flood. Either they were on the Ark with Noah (I can't see why man would require chimpanzees unless earth's entire surface was to be flooded) or only a portion of the earth was flooded, that portion which man occupied. The area in which the chimpanzees were located probably did not have any flood waters.
For those who feel that if the waters reached as high as the top of Mount Ararat and this high level would indicate that the whole earth would have been under the water.
Dr. Hugh Ross explains:
The Genesis account does not say that the ark came to rest on top of Mt. Ararat. Rather, it says "the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat." The Hebrew word for mountains, has, has a very broad definition, from a 50-foot high hill to Mt. Everest. Thus, the expression "the mountains of Ararat" would encompass more than 100,000 square miles of territory north and east of Ninevah.
Second, the dove that Noah released came back to the ark with an olive leaf. Olive branches would be found on the lower hills of Ararat but not on the high mountains. If the ark came to rest on the foothills of Ararat, we can reasonably conclude that its wood was used up long ago for construction projects in and around Mesopotamia.
Ironic that evidence for the flood event has come not from those associated with religion but by those associated with evolutionary science. Not only do their finding indicate a recent mass human extinction level event with only a few survivors, but also a localized human level event in which many other animals were not effected. Taken with the discrepancies between the dates for human male and female origins, the Biblical flood event, although simple in its account, provides all of these exact answers.
ABC news article: We Dodged Extinction
- Robert L. Dorit, Hiroshi Akashi, and Walter Gilbert, "Absence of Polymorphism at the ZFY Locus on Human Y Chromosome," Science, 268 (1995), pp.1183-1185.
- Svante Paabo, "The Y Chromosome and the Origin of All of Us (Men), " Science, 268 (1995), pp.1141-1142.
- Hugh Ross, "The Mother of Mankind" Facts & Faith, vol. 2, no. 1 (1988), pp. 1-2.
- Hugh Ross,"New Twists in Theories of Human Evolution," Facts & Faith, vol. 8, no. 2 (1994), pp. 4-5.
-Hugh Ross "Chromosome Study Stuns Evolutionists" by, Hugh Ross Ph.D., Facts & Faith, vol. 9, no. 3 (1995) p. 3.
-Michael F. Hammer, "A Recent Common Ancestry for the Human Y-Chromosomes, Nature, 378 (1995), pp.376-378
-L. Simon Whitfield, John E. Sulston, and Peter N. Goodfellow. "Sequence Variation of the Human Y Chromosome," Nature, 378 (1995), pp.379-380.
- Hugh Ross, "Y-chromosome Reveals Evolutionary Limits," Facts & Faith, v. 11, n. 2 (1997), p. 5-6.
References from Hugh Ross:
- Hugh Ross, "Searching For Adam," Facts & Faith, v. 10, n. 1 (1996), p. 4.
- L. Simon Whitfield, John E. Sulston, and Peter N. Goodfellow, "Sequence Variation of the Human Y Chromosome," Nature, 378 (1995), pp. 379-380.
- Wes Burrows and Oliver A. Ryder, "Y-Chromosome Variation in Great Apes," Nature, 385 (1997), pp. 125-126.
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