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The Backflow into Africa

November 23, 2015
A 19th Century nobleman of Ethiopia -- the population most impacted by the backflow

A 19th Century nobleman of Ethiopia — one of the lands most impacted by the backflow

We all know Homo sapiens evolved in Africa and then spread across the rest of the world. But scientists have recently demonstrated that, around 1000 B.C., an astoundingly large group came back. This “backflow” brought so many people from Eurasia that today’s East Africans get as much as 25% of their genes from Middle Eastern ancestors. In other words, about a quarter of their ancestors were Middle Eastern migrants. And even in far Western and Southern Africa, more than 3,000 miles away, the people get at least 5% of their genes from backflow migrants.

We know because of a genetic study on a man who died in East Africa around 2500 B.C. His genes tells us what the pre-backflow genome looked like, so scientists can compare that population to modern Africans.

What could have caused such vast numbers to move? No one knows.

Interestingly, the backflow migrants were related to the population that had migrated in large numbers from the Middle East to Europe around 5,000 B.C., bringing farming with them. So Europeans and Africans share the genes of these restless Middle Easterners — particularly Europeans on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, which has been partly isolated from the rest of the world for millennia and so preserves much of its original migrants’ genome.



Illustration: A Nobleman of Tigre, T. Lefebvre and others, 1849

© 2015 by David W. Tollen. All rights reserved.

Yet Another Great Review for The Jericho River

November 20, 2015

The Jericho River just got a very thoughtful review and recommendation on — penned by Michael Adkins. Here are some highlights:

  • Jason’s own history and his maturation is wonderfully done. He is, perhaps, my favorite YA protagonist to date as far as those two elements are concerned.

Read more…

Terrorists and Barbarians

November 15, 2015
Vive la France

Vive la France

In the wake of terrorist attacks like Friday’s mass killings in Paris, we often call our enemies “barbarians.” They are not. Barbarians like the Vikings, Huns, and Xiongnu lived on the fringes of civilization and preyed on their richer and more settled neighbors. But they did not hate their victims. If fact, they often admired them and adopted their ways. The barbarians were not intolerant. Nor were they even immoral by the standards of their times, since few pre-modern societies condemned violence against outsiders. Barbarian raiders were just opportunists; looting and pillaging offered their fastest route to wealth. Read more…

New Review for The Jericho River

November 11, 2015

The Jericho River just got a great new review, at Reviews by Amos Lassen! “The adventure and the quest are so well done that we forget that this is a history lesson.

Four Fantastic 5-Star Reviews Just this Month — Including from Listed Reviewers

October 27, 2015

My book, The Jericho River, received four fantastic new Amazon reviews just this month! Two are from listed reviewers. Here are some of the comments:

“Wow. Just, wow.” Read more…

Why Sounds Yoda so Archaic?

October 22, 2015

Says Yoda things like: “Powerful have you become; the dark side I sense in you.” Sounds it like speaks he an old dialect of English. Yet uses not Yoda “thou hast” or “erstwhile” or “thee” — or any other word or phrase found no longer in English. Old English does not speak Yoda, nor even Middle English. Speaks Yoda Modern English, except that one rule he breaks. Alters Yoda noun-verb order. That same one rule this post breaks too (more consistently than Yoda). Read more…

The Real Destruction of Atlantis

October 20, 2015

The legend of Atlantis comes from Plato. In Timaeus and particularly Critias, written around 360 B.C., the Greek philosopher describes an island society ruling a great empire. But the Atlanteans’ pride angers the gods, who destroy the island with floods and earthquakes, sending it beneath the sea. Read more…


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