Alan Ralph

Wearer Of Many Hats

🛠️ Please note that this site is a work-in-progress as I play around & experiment — things may change appearance between visits. 🛠️

Anti-Woke = Anti-Reality

DNA-researcher: It’s not ‘woke’ to portray prehistoric Europeans with dark skin. It’s evolution

Picture this: Almost 6,000 years ago, a girl walks along Lolland’s south coast and spits a piece of birch tar into the reeds. It didn’t taste great, but it helped to soothe her tooth ache.

Fast forward 6,000 years, Danish archaeologists working on the Fehmarnbelt project stumble across the piece and recognize it for what it is: an almost 6,000 year-old piece of chewing gum.

This ancient piece of gum is now on display at the Museum Lolland-Falster in southern Denmark among an amazing collection of Stone Age artefacts uncovered during the excavations. If you have not been, it is well worth a visit.

In 2019, my research team at the University of Copenhagen managed something quite remarkable: We succeeded in extracting DNA from the gum and used it to reconstruct the girl’s entire genome — the first time anyone had sequenced an ancient human genome from anything other than skeletal remains.

As the gum had been found on Lolland, we affectionately nicknamed her ‘Lola’.

Fast forward to the summer of 2023, and then…

The ‘shitstorm’ first gathered pace on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and escalated to the point where the museum had to defend itself on national TV.

Even the Danish newspaper ‘Ekstrabladet’ felt they had to comment and gave their opinion in a passionate editorial.

So, what happened?

These things are difficult to reconstruct, but evidently some people who had seen the image of Lola thought that she looked “way too dark” and accused us—and the museum—of ‘blackwashing’ the past.

Except, as the article (written by members of the team that actually did the research) points out, they didn’t make this stuff up — they analysed the DNA traces and found indicators that Lola had dark skin due. And it’s not the first time that evidence has been found for people in prehistoric Europe having dark skin.

It saddens me that the reaction of so many when their worldview is challenged is to attack the messengers. And I eye-roll any time that someone used the word ‘woke’ as a pejorative. Does it cross their mind, perhaps, that the opposite of ‘awake’ is ‘asleep’? Is that what they want to be? Unconscious, unthinking? As opposed to alert and questioning? Perhaps that is why politicians love to speak of cracking down on those they deem ‘woke’ — they don’t want anyone to challenge their actions, especially those not grounded in reality.

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