Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Spitting in a Plastic Tube: 23 and Mike

Most of my results weren't a big surprise. My parents are both of British and Irish descent. That's what family stories would have me believe anyway. However, I have since learned that no one is 100% anything. People migrated all over Europe, taking their DNA and these things called Haplogroups with them. When asked, I'd tell people i was 100% Irish. Sure, I knew that wasn't really true, but saying you're roughly 75% is boring. plus, at 100 I’m allowed a lot more leeway with not tanning, drinking whiskey, and getting into fistfights.

Haplogroups.  Yes, they’re a thing.

My mom is very fair-skinned. I am the same. Basically, I hate the sun. I’m also at the age where the dermatologist is prepared to slice chunks of skin off my favorite blistering spots. I’m hoping to keep some semblance of a nose, but hey, Michael Jackson got away with a stick-on schnoz, so who knows. Dad on the other hand, was a brown-eyed, bronze god. he never, ever sunburned...yet he was supposedly the purebred Irish one. I’d add that dad had very minimal on body hair.  I, on the other hand, well...Chewbacca. I would say I get that from my mom, which is probably true. However, let's get one thing straight. My mom is not circus people.

My DNA breakdown is 99.7% European. 78% of that is British/Irish. I’m also 10% French/German and 4% Scandinavian. I guess the 10% explains my love of invading and promptly surrendering. The four...that part of me that is dead inside and cannot express joy? "But Mike, 78% is awfully close to that 75% you thought you were," you say. Yes, but after doing some family treeing, I think at best I'm 40% Irish. It seems that when my British ancestors weren't exploiting my Irish ancestors, they were busy in other ways.  But, certainly,  with the lights off.

In other news, my maternal haplogroup is H. From what I gather, it means that 18000 years ago a pretty good-sized group carpooled out of the Middle East to Europe. So why doesn't my DNA just say that I'm middle eastern?  How the hell would I know?  I'm just a sun burning/drinking/fighting/invader-surrenderer with a mostly alive soul." My paternal haplogroup is R-S661. It hales from just 3800 years ago, likely suburban middle east. 15000 years of urban sprawl and all.

Here’s something fun. The DNA report comes with something called Neanderthal Variants. As a refresher, Neanderthals were ancient humans who bred with anatomically modern humans before becoming extinct 40000 years ago. Anatomically modern.  I’m guessing no tails. I'm happy to report that I have a total of 325 Neanderthal Variants. That means I am more Neanderthal than 98% of you.  Can you say, “Tail envy?”

Without taking you on an archaeological dig, here's a bit of Neanderthals history. My people were a hearty people. We adapted well to cold weather. We created tools for hunting and tanned the animal hides to make loose-fitting clothing. Pretty practical since Spanx were a good 45000 years from invention. We lived about 40 years, mostly dying from fighting close-quarters with the animals we hunted. That and lack of good health care.  However, referring back to anatomically modern reference, of which the Tail people were not, we were known for one specific detail.

Big heads. Large craniums.

Here goes. I have a huge noggin. Like, I have never met someone with a bigger head. Not like I'm issuing challenges at the bus stop, but when someone references a big head, I can settle it with one question. "Can you wear a hat off the rack?"  "Well, yes, but..." Case closed. I win. I'm only able to buy hats online. Same place I buy my loose-fitting animal hides. Yes, it's a non-profit. After all, we're an endangered species.

Truth be told, though compared to the rest of you anatomically-modern types, I am all Neanderthals, it only makes up 4% of my DNA. That's interpreted into different sensory and physical characteristics. In my case, and I'm dead serious about this. My Neanderthal genetic marker indicates that I'm less likely to sneeze after eating dark chocolate. Yes, we Neanderthal like a nice, dark chocolate. We like it for the cacao, a provider of many minerals and flavonoids. Our non-sneezing was huge because wiping your nose with an animal hide hanky was brutal.
(Note: It's been awhile, but those days are over.  All of this non-face touching has really freed up my schedule!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you covered our heritage completely in a relatively brief essay. Tim