On the Linguistics board we were recently given a homework assignment to watch the PBS Special, "The Journey of Man." It's a report (popularized of course) on an enormous study of human genetics, which solves the puzzle of the intricate relationships among all non-African peoples. Coincidentally, today's Washington Post reported (in somewhat more scientific language) on a more recent DNA study by a completely different team of scientists, which reached the same conclusion. It turns out that there were two waves of migration out of Africa, but they were different generations of the same people, and this is the source of much of our confusion. To confuse things further, the first wave skirted the now-underwater coast of Ice Age South Asia, looking for food in those barren times (not much rain when so much of the earth's water is locked up in glaciers), and finally ending up in Australia where there was finally food. They left genetic markers in the people in South Asia, but they're not easy to find because they were overwhelmed by the second wave, which ultimately spread out to populate the entire rest of the globe. Many mysteries have been solved. For example, the reason it took Homo sapiens so long to populate Europe was that they did not come through Turkey, as we assumed, but rather via a long backtracking route that went through Central Asia and then came back at it from Siberia. The Post article is a little more detailed, and Google will give you other sources. But the TV show, predictably, had some poignant scenes. The Navajo are a proud people--one of very few American Indian tribes to not just survive but thrive and retain its identity--who have lived on their land for a long time and have rich legends about their creation in that place. The scientist quietly handed them a sheaf of photographs of members of the Chukchi people in Asia, who he identified as the remnants of the ancestors of the Native Americans who chose not to make the migration. The Indians looked at the photos and began muttering, "This guy looks just like Uncle Harry," and, "That one could be Cousin Willie." After a reflective pause, one of them looked into the camera and said, "We really are all brothers, aren't we?"