Recently, the New York Times featured an article on the growing controversy over Oxford geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer’s work on the genetic makeup of the British Isles. While the common belief is that the English come from the Anglo-Saxons and the rest of the population of the British Isles come from the Celts and a few others, Oppenheimer’s work points towards a more common ancestry for all groups.

While some see Oppenheimer’s claims as over-reaching, the take-home lesson is that as methods progress, we may be in for more surprises that contradict closely held beliefs about ourselves. Then again, author Neil Gaiman reminds us that back in 1917, Rudyard Kipling already knew the truth about British ancestry.