In 1987, with characteristic flair, a research group in Berkeley, California, published the headline-gaining results of a wide survey of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation (Cann et al. 1987). They asserted that the ancestry of human maternal lineages converged to one African and she was estimated as having lived 100,000-250,000 years ago. Mitochondrial Eve was created and presented to the popular mind with a hard-edged scientific authority seen to be lacking in accounts of her biblical counterpart. The key anthropological question of the timing of the ancestral human exodus from Africa seemed to have been clearly answered. However, the last decade has seen some of that authority eroded as a series of methodological problems associated with the analysis of data such as that presented by the

Berkeley group have come to light. The tenure ofmtDNA Eve in the garden of Eden has, at times, seemed tenuous.