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October 07, 2004

Unearth the Lord of All Men!

So they might have discovered Genghis Khan's "palace", and a possible recovery of his body might now be forseeable. In light of recent research into a Y chromosomal lineage that has spread across Eurasia in the past 1,000 years, with its origin in Mongolia, the discovery of the putative body of Temujin would be a great chance for genetic science to work its magic if they could extract some non-degraded DNA. Of course, many of the elite families of the Khalkha Mongols are descended from Genghis Khan and his sons, so it's not like we don't have samples of his NRY on hand.

Personal related anecdote: My girlfriend made an offhand reference to the fact that my surname, "Khan," is as common as "Smith" among South Asian Muslims (at least from the northern half of the Subcontinent). Now, I know I make an ostentatious disavowal of cultural affinities with "the brown," but I couldn't but take umbrage at the comparison, I had to defend my illustrious pseudo-patrilineage1. I declared, "Smiths are shapers of metal, Khans are shapers of the world!"

A few weeks later I was having lunch with "Zizka" and told him about my exchange with my girlfriend. He smiled and noted, "Genghis Khan's real name, Temujin, means smith!"

1 - I think that there is more of a chance that I am descended from Genghis Khan through the male line (rather than being descended via ancestry along some pathway like most Eurasians) than a Dane with the name Nielsen is is descended from the Irish High King Niall. Nevertheless, I don't think the chance is that much higher, especially taking into account the fact that Niall had an extra 900 years to building up patrilineages.

Posted by razib at 11:15 PM