Mitochondrial Eve (Encyclopedia of Science and Religion)
Mitochondrial Eve is the name given to the hypothesis proposed in 1987 by Rebecca Cann and others that all humans are descended from one female who lived around two hundred thousand years ago in Africa. The claim was based on study of mitochondria, parts of the cell (containing genes) that exist outside the central nucleus and that are passed on only by females. It should be noted what is not being claimed, namely that all humans beings are descended from just one woman. Humans could all be descended from many, or just a few, or some from one group and some from another. It is just that all humans share at least one female ancestor, who may or may not have had just one mate. The hypothesis is generally accepted as true although there are questions about the accuracy of the dating. In this respect, future research might demand substantial revision at some later point.
See also EVOLUTION, HUMAN
Loewe, L., and Scherer, S. "Mitochondrial Eve: The Plot Thickens." Trends in Ecology and Evolution 12, no. 11 (1997): 42223.