I am very thankful that Dr. Matheson, the paleo-DNA expert who is featured in The Jesus Family Tomb and in the film to be seen on Discovery this weekend replied to my e-mail today. He must be deluged right now! I feel sorry for him. In any case, I had asked the following:

On page 172 of The Jesus Family Tomb you are quoted as follows:

“That this man and woman do not share the same mother,” Matheson said quickly and conclusively. “They cannot be mother and child. They cannot, maternally, be brother and sister. And so, for these particular samples, because they come from the same tomb–and we suspect it to be a familial tomb–these two individuals, if they were unrelated, would most likely have been husband and wife.”

Given that mitochondrial DNA analysis can only address maternal relationships, leaving open the possibility that 80-503 was, in fact, the father of 80-500, and the mitochondrial DNA analysis could not address this, is the preceding quotation accurate to your recollection? Did you inform Simcha Jacobovici of the possible paternal relationship?

   He replied in less than three hours (despite the book indicating he “rarely checks e-mails”):

This work was done as a service. We did not know who they suspected these individuals to be from. On the report it concludes that these two profiles from two different individuals were not maternally related. That is all the report states. When they did the filming and on the documentary they asked every question under the sun with permutations and manipulations. I provided the investigators with all the possibilities. They were not brother and sister, mother and child, maternal cousins, maternal grandparent and child etc. I also mentioned all of the possibilities, which I should not have done in hindsight. These included, father and daughter, paternal cousins, half brother and sister (sharing the same father) or simply unrelated individuals.
The media does what they want.

   Please note the last portion of what is said here: “I also mentioned all of the possibilities, which I should not have done in hindsight. These included, father and daughter, paternal cousins, half brother and sister (sharing the same father) or simply unrelated individuals.” There is not a whisper of this in the book. Not a word. You tell me why these possibilities were simply left out when Dr. Matheson reported them?

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