Spencer Wells

Population Geneticist

The New Explorers
51 minutes, 23.6mb, recorded 2004-10-22
Topics: Biotech Culture
Spencer Wells
Spencer Wells, a 33-year-old population geneticist, has closed the door on his laboratory and is embarking on the biggest adventure of his life. His mission: to retrace the most extraordinary journey of all time, a journey that involves every man, woman and child alive today.

By collecting blood samples from thousands of men living in isolated tribes around the world and analyzing their DNA, Spencer and his colleagues discovered that all humans alive today can be traced back to a small tribe of hunter-gatherers who lived in Africa 60,000 years ago.

Following this genetic trail, Spencer has charted the ancient journey of our ancestors as they populated the planet, continent by continent. The story is told in the 2002 National Geographic documentary The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey and the book of the same name.

Facilitation graphics by Peter Durand of Alphachimp Studio
David Weinberger's blog

This presentation is the second Pop!Tech 2004 presentation on the topic, The New Explorers. It includes the Q&A session with Spencer Wells and Ben Saunders.

This presentation is one of many from the IT Conversations archives of Pop!Tech 2004 held in Camden, Maine, October 21-23, 2004.

This free podcast is from our Pop!Tech series.