Neanderthals (or, Mixing Things Up)

May 8th, 2010

Inspired by Great-grandma was a Neanderthal (Washington Post 5/07/10).


People used to (and some still) think that blacks were less evolved,

But that question has now been definitively resolved.

It turns out the opposite is true:

Blacks are more evolved than Asians, and white folks too.


As I’ve discussed before, all modern humans are descended from Africans,

And all human ancestors once had black skins.

Now we learn that Europeans (and Han Chinese)

Carry genes from a pre-modern human species.


And it turns out only Africans are pure-blooded Homo Sapiens,

Since they never bred with our Neanderthal friends.

That happened after our ancestors left our continent of origin

And resulted in our inheritance of Neanderthal genes (just a smidgen).


I personally am glad to have some Neanderthal genes,

Even if that makes me “less evolved,” whatever that means.

I’m happy Neanderthals weren’t completely eliminated,

Which our own human species would have incriminated.


But even more, I enjoy the irony

Of this scientific discovery.

It turns the notion that whites are purebred

Right on it’s Neanderthal head.

***

Here’s a scene from a documentary about how this breeding might have taken place, Clan of the Cave Bear (OK, just kidding; it’s a movie, not a documentary). Also check out Jean Auel’s original three part book series.

 

Sorry, I got my clips mixed up. Here’s the documentary, the History Channel’s Clash of the Caveman (about conflict and other “relations” between Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens), followed by a clever Geico/History Channel promo and some other Geico caveman ads (Encino Man, by the way, was Homo Sapiens, not Neanderthal).



Speaking of breeding between species, here are some scenes from one of my favorite sci fi movies, Species (Natasha Henstridge makes being eviscerated by a spear-tail seem almost worth it), along with the review by Siskel & Ebert (they split in their evaluation). The rest of the series wasn’t bad, but not quite as good as the first movie). In this case, the inter-breeding didn’t work out too well…

And here’s your theme music, Neanderthal, by Splatt, set to scenes from the History Channel documentary.

Click here to read the complete articles and supporting materials in Science.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Neanderthals (or, Mixing Things Up)”

  1. Sagat Says:

    You got it wrong. Neanderthals were just a separate human branch of humanity. They weren’t less evolved. They just evolved in a different direction. And in breeding with them, non-Africans gained access to a gene pool that Africans didn’t have access to. Since non-Africans incorporated DNA from another species which had to be beneficial due to the fact that it spread across the whole non-African population and became fixed in our genome, then that means that those that left Africa experienced additional evolution.

  2. Newsericks Says:

    Thanks for your comment. I actually don’t believe that Neanderthals were “less evolved” in a normative sense — that was part of my overall (sarcastic) message, and I do understand that they were another branch of the human tree. I agree that (by definition) incorporation of their genes into our own genome was beneficial to non-African modern humans (or at least not harmful). If you look at evolution chronologically, then it is true that Neanderthals are “less evolved” (and Africans therefore are more evolved because their genome doesn’t include Neanderthal genes), since Neanderthals were around before Homo Sapiens Sapiens. However, if you look at evolution objectively, then no species is more “evolved” than the other, because all current species are the result of the exact same amount of evolution over time.

    Anyway, all that is secondary to my main point, which was to try to counter the old racist trope that blacks were somehow less evolved than whites.

  3. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Memphis Plus 43 (or: Some Things Have Gotten Better, Some Haven’t) Says:

    […] Neanderthals (or, Mixing Things Up) […]

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