Your Lying Eyes

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08 November 2006

Neanderthals and Us

Scientists have found evidence of Neanderthal matings with modern humans in Europe about 37,000 years ago. The gene they identified regulates brain size (though early studies have not linked it to intelligence per se). Greg Cochran has a fascinating backgrounder here (there's more from Gene Expression - follow the links!).The news however is receiving scant coverage in the press, which is surprising since people love Neanderthals - my guess would be they rank third in popularity after Dinosaurs and UFO's in popular science stories. The press might fear the politically incorrect implication of this story that there might be some real differences between races due to different inter-species mating patterns in our not too distant past. To quote Cochran:
So when you think about the cultural explosion that occurred shortly after we overwhelmed the Neanderthals (cave paintings, sculptures, new tools and weapons, all that jazz) - well, you have to wonder if assimilating a passel of adaptive alleles in a few thousand years, way more than the typical number that would arise and become established over such a short time span, didn't give us a hell of a boost.
In other words, via the occassional "furtive mating" certain advantageous traits of Neanderthals could have been passed along to our lineage (the unfavorable ones - the vast majority no doubt, would have died out quickly). This could explain a number of traits that - besides cave painting - are European (or "white") in nature, such as:

Red hair
Blue eyes
Hairy bodies
Anal retentiveness
Stocky frames
Animal husbandry
Expressive music
Serial killers
Extreme carnivorousness
Favoring large, unwieldy weapons

It's all starting come together.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So easy an Aryan could do it.

November 10, 2006 1:04 PM  

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