Halkirk Man the Subject of an Amusing but Scientifically Inept Article

Former North Highland College lecturer and Open University co-coordinator, Ian Kinnaird has appeared in a number of national newspapers following his taking part in the Britain’s DNA project. At £170 or £200 a pop (depending on whether its a woman or man respectively, requiring only their mitochondrial DNA or mitochondrial DNA and the Y-chromosome checked), anyone can send-off a sample of epithelial cells for analysis.

Kinnaird did so, and his paternal line was traced as far as Scandinavia. His maternal line, on the other hand, indicated a genetic marker – named L1B1 – which previously had been seen only in subjects from West Africa, and traced back to a female progenitor some 30,000 years ago and identified as on a direct line to another female progenitor from 190,000 years ago in Central Africa. (Calling her Mitochondrial Eve would suggest there is only one source for the mitochondrial lines, instead of the emerging acceptance that the mitochondrial lines are traced back to one of several early females humans. And speaking of more than one Mitochondrial Eves surely defeats the purpose of this analogy.)

All very interesting. My first thought was that, within the past two or three centuries, Kinnaird’s mother’s family had a female West African slave in its line. And this does originate in Merseyside, which would have been a significant entrepot for this human cargo.

Then the twaddle started with claims such as he was the grandfather of everyone in Britain. (In addition to repeating this, the Daily Telegraph also appears to have mis-labeled a photograph of Britain’s DNA founder, Alistair Moffat as Kinnaird.)

Hardly. They might as well call me my siblings’ grandfather.

Compared to that, the additional a priori failure shown by the Daily Mail was relatively minor. It described him as a descendent from the first woman on Earth.

Again, no. The Mitochondrial Eve hypothesis does not claim that the numera una ancestor was was the first woman to have lived. Merely the end-point of genetic tracings.

At least the Daily Mail used a correct photograph.


2 Responses to “Halkirk Man the Subject of an Amusing but Scientifically Inept Article”

  1. Jean Kinnaird Says:

    I agree with every criticism you make about this psuedo scientific discovery.

    And I should know because I am Ian Kinnaird’s sister whom he claims has the same genetic marker. I do not so there goes his silly theory.

    My brother has delusions of grandeur.

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