Are You Part Neanderthal?

According to an article in The Guardian posted here, “Most people living outside Africa can trace up to 4% of their DNA to a Neanderthal origin, a consequence of interbreeding between the two groups after the great migration from the continent.” I find this fascinating and have long wondered when science would be able to tell us about interbreeding between humans and the Neanderthals. Although we can only speculate, it’s fun to imagine what the cultural dynamics between the two species must have been like.

After reading the article, I’m left to ponder the following question though: What happened to the rest of the Neanderthals? Apparently, humans may have eaten them, but that claim is still pure speculation. Ben Atlas dares to suggest it may have been genocide, alas, more recent human history surely supports that as a feasible claim.

I think Kurt Vonnegut put it best, “How embarrassing to be human.” And to think the dictionary defines neanderthals as “primitive, uncivilized, and boorish”. Is anything more boorish than eating a species you mate with? The next time someone asks: Are you part Neanderthal? I think I’ll answer with “only the good part.”



2 Comments on “Are You Part Neanderthal?”

  1. J Scott Shipman says:

    Perhaps this explains my heavy brow:)) Good post!

  2. […] Near the end of the book, Cochran and Harpending make the controversial argument that people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (European Jews) have, on average, evolved a higher level of intelligence relative to other ethnic groups.  Politically incorrect as it may be to say, the evidence seems to confirm that human races are truly genetically different at some levels (although they are indeed mainly similar).  Back in 2010, it was even confirmed that most of us have at least a little neanderthal in us. […]

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