Author Topic: Eating Neanderthals??  (Read 5675 times)


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Eating Neanderthals??
« on: January 31, 2014, 06:59:49 PM »
There have been numerous reports in media over the last year or two of a claim of evidence for cross breeding between ancient humans and Neanderthals.  The claim, coming from the Max Planck Institute, is that all people other than Africans share some 1 - 3% of their genes with Neanderthals.  The claim is that this implies crossbreeding between humans and Neanderthals.  The claim which Troy and I have made is that  this is basically impossible:

Troy notes that evidence for or against cross breeding is highly ambiguous:

Overall, their results were remarkably similar. One group suggested there was a hint of mixing between human and Neanderthal genomes, while the other found none, but both teams recognized that the data set was not large enough to give a definitive answer.[15]  The publication by Noonan et al. revealed Neanderthal DNA sequences matching chimpanzee DNA, but not modern human DNA, at multiple locations....

Nonetheless, Svante Paabo's (Max Planck) claims are the most recent by five or six years and on the off chance that there might be anything to this claim of remnant Neanderthal genes in human populations outside of Africans, I would offer the following observation.

They say you are what you eat.......

I still view the idea of cross breeding between humans and Neanderthals as impossible.  In fact Troy notes that horses and donkeys are a great deal closer to one another than humans are to Neanderthals and yet all mules are sterile.

On the other hand, Cro Magnon man EATING Neanderthals is very easy to believe.

The whole relationship between the two groups had to have begun with Neanderthals killing and eating humans and the humans very easily could have figured that the tables had not totally been turned until they started eating Neanderthals that they killed.  It could easily be that eating the other guy was a sign of dominance and/or that Cro Magnons were practicing a form of psychological warfare in which the idea was to let other Neanderthals find remains of such meals.

The obvious question is, could eating Neanderthals possibly produce any sort of gene transfer?  Henry Gee's article about the fugu fish indicates that you shouldn't really have to be having sexual relations with other kinds of things to end up with a bit of their genetic makeup:

To my knowledge Neanderthal remains have not been found in Africa so that they would never have been on the menu for any humans living in Africa.

« Last Edit: February 04, 2014, 10:45:58 PM by icebear »