Warning – this is nothing at all to do with fly fishing but it may be more interesting…
Ever since “Tongariro Skulduggery” was published last September, so many TRM inmates and other readers have doubted and questioned or even scoffed at the plot – built on the extreme unlikelihood of discovering two identical matching DNA’s after over 800 years?
Being fishos and authors do not reveal the source of our information, but this fantastic story has been questioned so many times that SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed is the History Manager at TRM) advises that an explanation is needed. This revealing post is to confirm and explain how a similar match really has happened elsewhere after 9,000 years! Such is the miracle of DNA. For doubters, this blog could be interpreted as a confession of where such an extremely unlikely plot might have come from?
At some time on our big OE in 1972-73 we visited the Cheddar Gorge caves near Bristol in Somerset, UK. – where buried amongst numerous skeletal remains in 1903 they discovered a Mesolithic human male fossil, a completeskeleton discovered at Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge, near the village of Cheddar. He is famous as being the oldest complete skeleton ever found in the UK. Radiocarbon dating indicated he died around 7150BC.
At that time the British Isles were still linked to Europe by marshes and animals such as wild horses and antelope and bears lived there as confirmed by skeleton remains. This is mentioned for all the healthy sceptics out there who question “global warming” – it had started back then.
The archaeologists’ analysis decided he was about 23 when he died from a violent blow to the head, so he may have been murdered. Interestingly, they deduced from the pattern of bone cuts being the same as on animal bones nearby, these early ancestors were cannibals. This is also why the “Cheddar Man’ discovery was so valuable as most other skeletons from the post-ice-age period had been chopped up to suck the marrow.
Then fast forward to the present. DNA’s (deoxyribonucleic acid) double helix had been discovered in the 1950’s. Now eveeryone is aware of DNA being used to solve murders, sheep are cloned and crops are genetically modified.People can now predict personal chances of living a long life or suffering from obesity, demystifying what were matters of providence, fate, or even morality.
In 1997 Oxford University Institute of Molecular Medicine finally extracted mitochondrial material from the teeth – a molar from the Cheddar Man. Then after taking swabs from local people they announced they found a complete match, a blood relation after 9000 years. Perhaps just as remarkable, Adrian Targett was a local history teacher who lived less than a mile from the caves. So suck on that… Tongariro Slulduggery’s DNA plot over 800 years was relatively recent.