The Races of Mankind

A question which is often asked of the Creationists is, "Is it possible for two people (i.e. Adam and Eve) to give rise to all the different types of people that we have on the earth today?"

Two different genealogical trees of mankind have been published in ‘Evolution' by Colin Patterson (published by the British Museum of Natural History, London, in 1978). Figure 1 is based on anthropologists' measurements and comparisons of 26 external features, such as eye, hair and skin colour, limb proportions and facial characteristics; whereas figure 2 is based on differences in 58 genetic markers, mostly blood proteins.

The Races of MankindAs pointed out by Colin Patterson, a cynic might suppose that the tree in figure 1 was produced by racist anthropologists and that the tree in figure 2 gives the true history of human differentiation. However, Colin Patterson does not think this is so. He believes that although the tree in figure 2 is nearer the truth, it is likely that the two trees differ mainly because the external features used in the tree in figure 1 are adaptations to climate, so that the tree recognises climatic groups.

But is it possible for these nine different types of mankind to have been produced from a single pair over a few thousand years? This question has been answered in the affirmative by Dr. Gary Parker in ICR Impact article No.89 - ‘Creation, Mutation and Variation'. Dr. Parker is a Research Associate in Bio-science at the Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, California and teaches Genetics and Bio-systematics at Christian Heritage College, El Cajon, California.

In his article, Dr. Parker refers to the work of Francisco Ayala, Professor of Genetics at the University of California at Davis, who is also Director of the Institute of Ecology there. Professor Ayala cites 6.7% as the average proportion of human genes that show heterozyguos allelic variation, e.g. straight versus curly hair. On the basis of "only" 6.7% heterzygosity, Professor Ayala has calculated that the average human couple would have to have 102017 children before they would have one child which was identical to another! As Dr. Parker points out, "that number, a one followed by 2017 zeroes, is a greater number than the number of grains of sand by the sea, the number of stars in the sky, or the atoms known in the universe (a 'mere' 1080)!"

Dr. Parker then continues:

"A single human couple could have been created with four alleles (two for each person) at each gene position (locus). Just two alleles provide vocal cord characteristics: V and v, are responsible for the variation among tenor (VV), baritone (Vv), and bass (vv), singing voices in men. Hormone influences on development result in soprano (VV), mezzo-soprano (Vv), and alto voices (vv) as expressions of the same genes in women. Furthermore, several genes are known to exist in multiple copies, and some traits, like colour, weight, and intelligence, depend on the cumulative effect of genes at two or more loci.

Genes of each type copy and at each different locus four allelic forms could exist, so the potential for diversity is staggering indeed!"

But what about the time factor? How long would it take, for example, to produce all the different shades of human skin colour we have today? Dr. Parker points out that, "there are several factors that contribute subtle tones to skin colours, but all people have the same basic skin colouring agent, the protein called melanin." Referring to Davenport's study in the West Indies which showed the amount of skin colour we have is influenced by at least two pairs of genes, A-a and B-b, Dr. Parker shows that it would only take one generation for AaBb parents to have children with all the variations in skin colour that we see today - as demonstrated in the genetic square, reproduced opposite

Maximum Variation

AaBb x AaBb

 

AB

Ab

aB

ab

 

AB

AA
BB

AA
Bb

Aa
BB

 

Aa
Bb

Only dark:
AABB

Ab

AA
Bb

AA
bb

Aa
Bb

Aa
bb 

Only medium:

aB

Aa
BB

Aa
Bb

aa
BB

aa
Bb

AAbb or
aaBB

ab

Aa
Bb

Aa
bb

aa
Bb

aa
bb

Only light:
aabb

What happened then as the descendants of our first parents (and of Noah's family) multiplied over the earth? Dr. Parker answers this question as follows:

"If those with very dark skin colour (AABB) moved into the same area and/or chose to marry only those with very dark skin colour, then all their children would be limited to very dark skin colour. Similarly, children of parents with very light skin colour (aabb) could have only very light skin, since their parents would have only "small a's and b's" to pass on. Parents with genotypes AAbb or aaBB would be limited to producing only children with medium skin colour. But where people of different backgrounds get back together again, as they do in the West Indies, then their children can once again express the full range of variation."

Dr. Parker points out that "except for mutational loss of skin colour (albinism), then, the human gene pool would be the same now as it might have been at creation - just four genes, A, a, B, b, no more and no less." However, there are probably more gene loci and more alleles involved. These would make it even easier to store genetic variability in our created ancestors. Dr. Parker therefore concludes that, "as people multiplied over the earth (especially after Babel), the variation "hidden" in the genes of two average-looking parents came to visible expression in different tribes and tongues and nations."

It is comforting to realise that the latest research and recent discoveries make it increasingly easy for Creationists to account for the different types of mankind that have arisen within a short period of time. We can praise God with the Psalmist that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

by Dr. A. J. Monty White