Are human races real?

Science ridicules one of the most enduring superstitions.

Humans are without any doubt global. Many people are of the belief that our differences show where our forefathers came from. But the question is do different human races really exist? According to the latest episode of UNSW TV’s ‘How Did We Get Here?’, it shows that from a objective point of view, races simply aren’t real. In fact, the proof originally used to split Homo sapiens up into cultural groups was retro-fitted at best, and erratic at worst.

In the video above, evolutionary biologist, Darren Curnoe from UNSW Science explains how the human races were described at the sudden idea of scientists to make nature easier to pigeon hole.

In order to fit people into their already prepared races, they used almost anything as evidence such as skull shape, IQ and eye colour, to different dialects spoken and cultural differences. Anything that could be used to connect people from the same geographic origins together was utilized. But in spite of their shabby origins, the thought of having different human races is perhaps one of the most enduring superstition in modern society.

The real death signal came with the arrival of genetics in the 1960s. Scientists can now study the differences in DNA and have discovered that, as a species, we are actually not that different. In fact, we are very less different than our chimpanzee cousins. While there is some genetic distinctness between populations living on different continents, it is overwhelmed in comparison to the differences within those populations.

So what’s the most genetically different population on the planet? The answer may be surprising because it is the one that is most commonly clumped together as a single race. Watch the video above to find out more, and don’t forget to subscribe to get a new episode each fortnight.

Love science? Find out more about the world-leading research happening at UNSW Science.

Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


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