Is That You, Grandma? (Discovering Mitochondrial Eve)

Continuing our quest to create illustrations of historical anecdotes, I’ve attempted to create a simple visual to tell G the story of Rebecca Cann’s (and colleagues’) discovery of the Mitochondrial DNA. When G was about three years old, we had the following conversation:

G: Where did I come from?
Me: Well, from Mommy and Daddy. But you grew inside of me.
G: And where did you come from?
Me: My Mommy.
G: And where did she come from?
Me: Her Mommy, my Lola (Grandmother).
G: And where did she come from?
… this went on for a while…
G: What I mean is, who was the first Mommy?!

He has continued to show interest on the first humans, so I thought I’d finally attempt to give him an answer to his question from a couple of years ago. The details behind this story are much too complex for my five-year old (okay, they’re way too complex for his Mom, too), but the gist of a possible common “Mother” is intriguing to his curious mind.

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