Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Are We Really Neanderthals?

Neanderthals lived for about 200,000 years in Eurasia, but passed from the scene 50,000 years ago in Asia, and 24,000 years ago in Europe, leaving the field to Homo sapiens, who entered Europe about 40,000 years ago. They co-existed for only about 15,000 years in Europe with humans winning out. Presumably the inferior Neanderthal gene pool died out with the Last Neanderthal.

Svante Paabo, a geneticist at the famous Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany has headed a team of scientists studying Neanderthal DNA for 2 years. They published 2 papers in Science Magazine on May 7, 2010, in which they deciphered the genomic code of the Neanderthal.

They then matched the Neanderthal’s genome with the human genome.


Because that’s what scientists do. They search for knowledge, even with Neanderthals, wherever it leads.

The illiterate Neanderthals would not understand the Science papers, "A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome" and my favorite "Targeted Investigation of the Neandertal Genome by Array-Based Sequence Capture."


Then they peer review the research, something Neanderthals never worried about.

Here’s the revelation!

1-4% of our genomic code is that of the Neanderthal. Homo sapiens stupped with Neanderthals in the Fertile Crescent.

Did our ancestors really mate with these steroid size mammals?

I’ve known guys who would stupp anything. I always thought they were Neanderthals. I was right; they’re probably direct descendants of the Neanderthal.

Is it true that the brain cavity of Neanderthals was at least equal in size, if not larger, than that of Homo sapiens?

Neanderthal used tools, symbols, and primitive jewelry not up to Danbury Mint standards, perhaps face paint, and definitely fire, and shelter, had hearts and souls, but did not practice metaphysics.

They seem smart enough to me, certainly wiser than many of our teenagers.

If their brains were larger than ours, then how did we outlive them? That’s an enigma.

Here’s a problem. The math doesn’t add up. The report is that the Neanderthal genome is 99.7% identical to the human, but 1-4% of our DNA is that of the Neanderthal.

Fortunately, the Neanderthal also did not do math.

Our DNA has a 97% overlap with the Bonobos, so does 97.7% mean the Neanderthal is us?

The Neanderthal has risen in us.

It explains a lot. Now we know it’s truly genetic determinism. Our Neanderthal genes make us do it, compel us to engage in those stupid, impulsive, idiotic acts.

It wasn’t Adam and Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden with the forbidden fruit. It was miscegenation in the Mideast 80,000-50,000 years ago.

Studies showed that non-Saharan Africans (caucasoids) had 1-4% more Neanderthal DNA than sub-Saharan Africans. Either the latter had the brains and self-control to not mate with Neanderthals, or they lacked the opportunity. Sub-Saharan Africa was too hot for them; Neanderthals thrived in bitterly cold Europe. The last trace of Neanderthals was in Gibraltar 24,000 years ago. They wanted out of Europe.

The Neanderthals thrived in the last Glacial Age, but failed as the globe warmed.

Global warming is critical therefore in suppressing our Neanderthal genes.

I’ve certainly seen a few human Neanderthals in my lifetime. I simply thought they were genetic mutants. Now we know them for what they are, our siblings, and that’s scary.

On the other hand, when a student gives a really poor response to a Socratic question, I can simply mark it up to a Neanderthal experience.

If I call a student a Neanderthal, will it be defamation if it’s true?


Are we out of Africa? Or are we out of Neanderthal? Or are we out of the Mideast? Or are we out of a cave?

What about mitochondrial Eve who lived 200,000 years ago?

What about Y-chromosome Adam who lived 60,000 – 90,000 years ago?

Was Eve a cougar?

What about 3.2 million year old Lucy in Ethiopia?

What about Cro-magnon?

What about Rhodesian Man?

What about Piltdown Man?

What about Geico Man?

How much of this can we believe? It’s based upon three bone fragments from a cave in Croatia, with the tested particles being the equivalent of an aspirin in size. That reminds me of the classic medieval question: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

No comments: