Ever wondered how we are all related? Author AJ Jacobs is hosting the World's Largest Family Reuion to find out. He says, "The Global Family Reunion – coming June 6, 2015 – is the biggest, most extraordinary and most inclusive family reunion in history. Come meet fascinating cousins you never knew you had — and learn about how we are building a Family Tree of the entire Human Race."
In a Ted Talk Jacobs explains 5 reasons why he feels it's so important to realize our relations:
Reason #1: It's got scientific value
"This is an unprecedented history of the human race, and it's giving us valuable data about how diseases are inherited, how people migrate, and there's a team of scientists at MIT right now studying the world family tree."
Reason #2: It brings history alive
"I found out I'm connected to Albert Einstein, so I told my seven-year-old son that, and he was totally engaged. Now Albert Einstein is not some dead white guy with weird hair. He's Uncle Albert. And my son wanted to know, "What did he say? What is E = MC squared?" Also, it's not all good news. I found a link to Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer, but I will say that's on my wife's side. So I want to make that clear. Sorry, honey."
Reason #3: Interconnectedness
"We all come from the same ancestor, and you don't have to believe the literal Bible version, but scientists talk about Y chromosomal Adam and mitochondrial Eve, and these were about 100,000 to 300,000 years ago. We all have a bit of their DNA in us. They are our great-great-great-great-great-great -- continue that for about 7,000 times -- grandparents, and so that means we literally all are biological cousins as well, and estimates vary, but probably the farthest cousin you have on Earth is about a 50th cousin. Now, it's not just ancestors we share, descendants. If you have kids, and they have kids, look how quickly the descendants accumulate. So in 10, 12 generations, you're going to have thousands of offspring, and millions of offspring."
Reason #4 : A Kinder World
"Now, I know that there are family feuds. I have three sons, so I see how they fight. But I think that there's also a human bias to treat your family a little better than strangers. I think this tree is going to be bad news for bigots, because they're going to have to realize that they are cousins with thousands of people in whatever ethnic group they happen to have issues with, and I think you look back at history, and a lot of the terrible things we've done to each other is because one group thinks another group is sub-human, and you can't do that anymore. We're not just part of the same species. We're part of the same family. We share 99.9 percent of our DNA."
Reason #5: A Democratizing Effect
"Some genealogy has an elitist strain, like people say, "Oh, I'm descended from Mary Queen of Scots and you're not, so you cannot join my country club." But that's really going to be hard to do now, because everyone is related. I'm descended from Mary Queen of Scots -- by marriage, but still."
So if you happen to living or visiting New York City on June 6, 2015, make sure to check it out and say, "Hi!" to the family!