The Distant Origin Theory was a scientific hypothesis that emerged among the Voth during the late 24th century. In short, it suggested that contrary to doctrine, the Voth did not originate in the space they occupied, but evolved in some other part of the galaxy and traveled there later.
The theory was highly controversial as it was believed to undermine one of the guiding principles of Voth society: the doctrine that the Voth were the first intelligent beings to evolve in their region of space. This doctrine began to be questioned in the years leading up to the breakthrough of 2373, not only by the Circles of Science and Philosophy, but by common people as well.
Forra Gegen, a Molecular paleontologist with the circle of archeology, spent nearly a decade of his life on the theory. This paid off when in 2373 he found the remains of Voyager crewmember Hogan on Hanon IV. Analyzing his bone structure and DNA structure, Gegen found that Humans and Voth share 47 genetic markers, strong proof that he was related to the Voth.
Hoping to procure the means to mound a wide expedition, Gegen took the evidence to the doctrine-minded Ministry of Elders, where he encountered resistance to his ideas. Gegen had to defend himself against accusations that he had fallen for a hoax, and outright accusations of undermining the authority of the ministry. The surprising revelation that these relatives were mammals, considered to be lower lifeforms by the Voth, did not help. Short of his large expedition, Gegen ended up fleeing in a single ship amid rumors that the Ministry has seized his research and were planning to detain him on the charge of heresy against Doctrine.
Gegen spent many weeks searching for more endotherms, and eventually was able to track down the USS Voyager and analyze its crew. Voyager crew was able to add new elements to the theory, such as the idea that that they might be related to Hadrosaur, and had developed on an isolated and destroyed landmass to account for the lack of artifacts on Earth.
However, the Ministry of Elders had become increasingly unconfortable with Gegen's conclusions, seeing them as an attack on Dogma and therefore an attack on their authority. Eventually, they seized his evidence and tried him for heresy. They offered contradicting scientific opinion of Gegen's data, which suggested the genetic similarities were a result of random convergence. That this conclusion did not hold up with the more complete fossil record data in the USS Voyager databases was ignored.
Upon being faced with the prospect of the Voyager being destroyed and its crew imprisoned with him, he sadly agreed to retract his theory, to protect his evolutionary "distant cousins". However, as he said goodbye to Chakotay, with whom he had developed a friendship, Gegan was given a globe of Earth as a parting gift, and expressed a hope that, someday, all Voth would see Earth as home. (VOY: "Distant Origin")