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genetics
January 19, 2006 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Medieval Irish warlord boasts three million descendants.
posted by semmi (28 comments total)

 
I see the significance of the The Stone of Destiny on the Hill of Tara now.
posted by tellurian at 10:54 PM on January 19, 2006


I'm one right here.
posted by fshgrl at 10:57 PM on January 19, 2006


I'm one right here.

You're a male descendant of Niall? Because thats what this article is talking about - patrilineal descendants. If you open it up to any descendant, then its almost certain most of the world is descended from Niall (and everyone else alive during that time who has any descendants toda) - thats just how the math works out.
posted by vacapinta at 11:04 PM on January 19, 2006


Ah shit, my last name's not included. And here I was hoping I might be one of them. The only ancestor of mine of note being a horse-thief for the IRA...
posted by Football Bat at 11:04 PM on January 19, 2006


I'm one right here.

and i'm one, too ...
posted by pyramid termite at 12:10 AM on January 20, 2006


So I guess Colin Quinn is descended from that warlord. Now if it wasn't for that whole incident with the cat he'd be super cool.
posted by super_not at 12:45 AM on January 20, 2006


You're a male descendant of Niall? Because thats what this article is talking about - patrilineal descendants. If you open it up to any descendant, then its almost certain most of the world is descended from Niall (and everyone else alive during that time who has any descendants toda) - thats just how the math works out.

Um. No.

First the article is tracing the Y chromosome so the evidence is patrilineal but if fshgrl is the daughter of someone in the patrilineal descent then she is acdescendent of of Niall.

Second the math doesn't work out the way you say. The article itself points out the restricted patrilineal spread of the gene worldwide. The diffusion of Niall's genes would have even less spread through women. I don't know where you would get the whole world idea from.
posted by srboisvert at 1:27 AM on January 20, 2006


acdescendent --> a descendent
posted by srboisvert at 1:27 AM on January 20, 2006


How come he gets to have three million descendants spread around the world and people think it's fascinating, while I father 10 kids by different mothers on estates all over England and I'm feckless?
posted by biffa at 3:34 AM on January 20, 2006


srboisvert, I think vacapinta is talking about this.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:44 AM on January 20, 2006


This boasting, how does he do it? Being kind of dead, it seems.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:49 AM on January 20, 2006


I think vacapinta is talking about this.

Which would be reasonable if by world you mean Europe and if you mean Europe when you say world I would still say you are right and by right I mean really really wrong.
posted by srboisvert at 3:51 AM on January 20, 2006


There can be only one!
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:05 AM on January 20, 2006


It's funny every time I hear of someone with the last name of 'O'Neill' from Ontario or the Maritimes I end up being fairly closely related to them.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:13 AM on January 20, 2006


oh wow, that's my family, but maybe not me (my grandmother was a campbell before she married), we have a family crest and everything, it's kinda neat.
posted by nile_red at 5:10 AM on January 20, 2006


My grandmother was a Campbell before marriage too.

Names include: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable. Researchers were still trying to determine if Krapp was descended on the male line as well.
posted by OmieWise at 5:39 AM on January 20, 2006


O'Neill here...nice
posted by Shanachie at 5:43 AM on January 20, 2006


The irish are violent and fecund. Well, no shit.

I'm kidding. Jesus!
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:44 AM on January 20, 2006


I'm one here. Niall was kind of a scumbag (In as much as everyone was kind of violent scumbag back then, if they got much done.), so instead of just being related to a bunch of penniless, lowborn, drunks and trolley car coin box jimmiers, I'm related to royal scumbags as well. I'm moving up in the world.


Omiewise:
They just traced back Lucky and Mercier, but sadly not Camier.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:51 AM on January 20, 2006


I'm one.

Well, my wife was impressed. Kinda.
posted by codswallop at 8:51 AM on January 20, 2006


The more of a homicidal maniac you were, the more successful you were as a medieval warlord. Kinda like the Afghan warlords of today.
posted by stbalbach at 8:59 AM on January 20, 2006


First the article is tracing the Y chromosome so the evidence is patrilineal but if fshgrl is the daughter of someone in the patrilineal descent then she is acdescendent of of Niall.

Second the math doesn't work out the way you say. The article itself points out the restricted patrilineal spread of the gene worldwide. The diffusion of Niall's genes would have even less spread through women. I don't know where you would get the whole world idea from.


Um No.

If fshgrl is female then she is not a patrilineal descendant of Niall. Thats pretty much by definition. If she is, then her aunt (father's sister) would also be a descendant and that aunt's son (fshgrl's cousin) would also be a descendant, no?

No. Her cousin would have a different Y chromosome altogether, inherited from his father not his mother. Patrilineal has a definite meaning here. Just having one of these last names does not mean you are one of the three million descendants. Last names are kind of a loose genealogy - chromosomes are much stricter.

Now, if you expand descendant to mean any descendant (i.e. my great-great-great-etc grandfather was Niall) then the fact that there are this many descendants of Niall around means that we are almost certainly all descendants of Niall. And by all, I mean the world - Europe, the Americas, even Asia. There may be some tribes in New Guinea not descended from Niall but for the most part, we all are.

Sure Niall was European but all it takes, for example, is one European to mate with say one Asian in the year 1400 for all descendants since then to inherit all Asian heritage plus all European heritage - that is, if you look at the math, genetic intermixing happens easily and so is almost impossible to avoid.

As the link bashos_frog points out says - we are all descended from Charlemagne too. And by all - I mean the world.
posted by vacapinta at 9:30 AM on January 20, 2006


This totally explains the Gallagher brothers.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:38 AM on January 20, 2006


OK, I'm a woman but pretty much every last name on that list is in my family within a few generations. Not only am I descended from a violent warlord but I'm an inbred descendant of a violent warlord.
posted by fshgrl at 6:12 PM on January 20, 2006


Shaquille O'Neal too?
posted by semmi at 9:42 PM on January 20, 2006


As the link bashos_frog points out says - we are all descended from Charlemagne too. And by all - I mean the world.

I will concede on the patrilineal fussiness - my point was that fshgrl was one step removed from the patrilineal line and in that sense an immediate descendent from the patrilineal line rather than some statistically possible distant relation in the sense that I might be with french name.

The whole world point is clearly and obviously wrong. Even the "Everyone is Descended From Charlemagne" restricts itself to European descent. Your making the six degrees of separation fallacy that assumes that there are no isolated populations. Historically oceans have been in the way.

I once was a teaching assistant for a first nations ed program where they insisted that I must be part indian based on similar reasoning - they said the french were always sleeping with indians. The problem was that there was an ocean seperating my ancestors from theres up until only 400 years earlier and it is a fairly simple matter to trace my ancestry back to europe.

By your reasoning we are all also related to a horny 5th century north american indian as well or perhaps a frisky 5th century japanese warlord.

Other than some sort of possible shared original evolutionary human this is pretty clearly incorrect.
posted by srboisvert at 5:05 AM on January 21, 2006


The issue of the most recent common ancestor of all humans has been previously discussed. See also.

srboisvert :- Sorry, I don't see how vacapinta is 'clearly incorrect'.

The Irish were never isolated from other Eurasian populations in the same that Native Americans were. So comparing Niall of the Nine Hostages with a 5th century North American is not a 'like for like' comparison. Your medieval Japanese warlord is a more valid comparison - as the Japanese were not truly geographically isolated, we're probably all descended from him too.The majority of the population of the world is probably descended from anyone who lived in Europe, Asia or North Africa at that time, and who left descendants down to the present day.


There were never any truly isolated populations throughout Eurasia, and almost everyone in the world has -some- Eurasian ancestry. The European ancestry of African American, for instance, is fairly well documents. The same goes for Australian Aborigines, and other groups.

The only exceptions would be 'pure-blooded' indigenous peoples, but due to the expansion of European peoples around the world, these are now very well.

The contribution to every European's family tree which is Japanese, for example, may be tiny, but it's not non-existent. The same goes for the proportion of every Japanese person's family tree which is Irish.
posted by plep at 11:08 AM on January 21, 2006


very well=very rare.
posted by plep at 11:10 AM on January 21, 2006


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