2022 Ancestor's Trail Hike   

Tracing our common ancestry with all other multicellular life 
over the last billion years of evolutionary time. 
A 12.5k hike where each average stride = 60,000 years. 


Ancestor's Trail Hike synopsis

Posted by Kevin on July 6, 2011 at 12:15 AM

The day turned out to be a beautiful one... just ordered up for our first Ancestor's Trail Hike on the Culham Trail in Mississauga.  See pictures on http://www.ancestorstrail.ca/apps/photos

As it turns out, our event was graced by David J. Culham, honoured by the City in naming this beautiful urban trail after him.  He served as Ward 6 Councillor.  Also present was the sitting Ward 6 Councillor, Ron Starr, together with over 30 enthusiastic hikers who showed up to participate in this historic event.  Historic, not because it was creating history... but honoring it by going back deep into our past... for the last billion years or so.  Pilgrims were given passports to keep them informed of major events on the trail and to collect stickers and stamps proving their participation along the trail.

Mapped along the length of the Culham Trail to Erindale park, the 12.5k urban trail runs parallel to and criss-crossing the Credit River by means of pedestrian bridges affording a beautiful view of this soon-to-be-proclaimed Heritage River.  We estimated the entire hike to take about 4 hours with stops along the way to discuss rendezvous points with common ancestors of living species of animals (with the exception of dinosaurs - with which we had a common ancestry going back 180 million years ago although they mostly went extinct 65 mya leaving birds as their only surviving decendents).  The hike would end at the Erindale Park with a barbeque.

At the current calculation, we would have encountered our common ancestry with all known homo species (2 million years) within the parking lot of the Pinecliff Drive Park, homo sapiens (195,000 years) within one parking stall (10 ft) all known civilization (12,000 years) fitting into an average footprint (10") and the development of our current industrial society within the span of time (200 years) the width of a thumb (1")!

Each stride was calculated to take the pilgrims back 45,000-55,000 years (2' female - 2.5' male strides) covering the most recent 6 million years back to the first rendezvous with our common ancestor with Chimps and Bonobo apes in 80 metres or just over 100-115 strides.   There we were met by a representative of the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots youth leadership program, Abner Lico.  He explained how Jane's work with Chimpanzees in the forests of Tanzania inspired her to create a lasting legacy in the Jane Goodall Institute and one of her most coveted initiatives to inspire our youth to develop programs to help promote environmental literacy, including saving our closest evolutionary cousins from exploitation.

The next (2) rendezvous, just a few strides further to 7 million years was with a common ancestor with Gorillas.  Dian Fossey gave her life, literally, to the study of these great apes, also in the East African forests of Uganda and Rwanda.

It took another 7 million years to meet up with our next concestor with Orangutans (14mya) and then across the first foot bridge to meet up with Gibbons (18mya).  Our next rendezvous with concestors of Old World Monkeys (25mya) and New World Monkeys (40mya) take place on the curve bordering the Credit River in River Run Park before leading off down the trail to meet up with Tarsiers (58mya), Lemurs (63mya) and Cologus (70mya).  Rodents and Rabbits join (75mya) before the huge group of Laurasiatheres (75mya) which include most of the domestic and wild animals we are familar with today... and our first Passport Check Point off Sir Monty's Park.

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