I have a biiiiiiig family, of bears, and stardust

April 8, 2009 § 1 Comment


When I married, I did not take on his name. I thought it would be crazy to let go of my own “identity”, and take on his. Nor did I want him to take on mine. You keep yours, I keep mine. And that has more to do with feeling familiar with the name I am supposed to “hear” as “mine” when people address me, than with lineages. And, thinking about lineages some more …

If you are a man you got your Y chromosome from your father, who got it from his father, and, at least in Western society, likely you three have the same family name. From father to son and down the line. A lineage.



If you are a woman you got an X chromosome from your father, and one from your mother, who got that X chromosome from her father or her mother. As a woman, you cannot trace your lineage through our Western family naming system.

So do women not have a lineage?

Even if it was invisible to us all before. No longer. Both men and women have mitochondria. A mitochondrion is a membrane-enclosed organelle found in most eukaryotic cells, cells organized into complex structures enclosed within membranes. Mitochondria are sometimes called “cellular power sources” because they generate most of the cell’s supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), used as a source of chemical energy. In addition to to that, mitochondria signal and are involved in a cell’s differentiation, cycles, growth, and finally, it’s death.

And, no matter whether you are a boy or a girl, your mitochondria you got from your mum. So if you want to trace your maternal lineage, you can! Send in your DNA and find out what clan you belong to. Simple.

I belong to Ursula’s clan. The clan of Ursula is claimed to be the oldest of the seven Native European clans. Ursula (she-bear) is born in the mountains of Greece. It is close to the beginning of the Ice Age. Her people, being slightly taller than Neanderthalensis and much slimmer, seem less adapted to the rapidly growing colder environment than Neanderthalensis that had already been effective in the environment for a quarter of a million years. Appearances can be deceiving … Ursula’s children spread all over Europe. About 11% of modern Europeans are direct maternal descendants of Ursula, living in all parts of Europe, and the clan is particularly well represented in western Britain and Scandinavia – blond and red hair, and freckles … Druidry and Ásatrú.

We are all related …

Now that I know, I have to come to grips with suddenly having a whole shedload of family! And even beyond a biiiiiiig family of bears, all Haplo groups appear related to “Eve”. Tracing further back in ancestry, before the other X dropped a leg to become a Y, our ancestors were haploids -> not just all animals, so plants are related too.

And getting into what matter I am made of, my mitochondria are made of proteins, amino-acids, water, minerals, and those are made of a variety of atoms, and so on … I understand that on that level we are all related. We are star dust and relate to everything in the Universe. Itsipitsi specks of star dust, that is what we are. Or strings singing along with the co(s)mical music.

The universe contains any amount of horrible ways to be woken up, such as the noise of the mob breaking down the front door, the scream of fire engines, or the realization that today is the Monday which on Friday night was a comfortably long way off. ~ Terry Pratchett

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