I just heard a story on the radio: NPR’s “Science Friday” about Neanderthals and Humans interbreeding. I have known about this for years…. mainly because traditional history assumed these two species fought each other, and if they did wage war, you know there would have been some raping of women going on. But my firm belief that Neanderthals and Humans had sex also came from the book series “Earth’s Children”, by Jean M. Auel.
I used to sneer at the wikipedia page for calling my favorite series “speculative alternative historical fiction“, but now my cattiness has been justified. Science has proven what Auel knew all along.
Writes the New York Times:
“Seven years ago, I really thought that it would remain impossible in my lifetime to sequence the whole Neanderthal genome,” Dr. Paabo said at a news conference. But the Leipzig team’s second conclusion, that there was probably interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans before Europeans and Asians split, is being met with reserve by some archaeologists.
A degree of interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals in Europe would not be greatly surprising given that the species overlapped there from 44,000 years ago when modern humans first entered Europe to 30,000 years ago when the last Neanderthals fell extinct. Archaeologists have been debating for years whether the fossil record shows evidence of individuals with mixed features.
All fascinating stuff, I just hope racists don’t somehow twist this data. From GenomeWeb.com:
Now, their comparison of the Neandertal genomes with the genomes of chimpanzees and contemporary humans from around the world hints at previously unappreciated gene flow from Neandertals to humans outside of Africa: their results suggest one to four percent of non-African human genomes are comprised of Neandertal sequence.
For those unfamiliar with Auel’s novels, she writes about an orphaned girl named Ayla who is raised by Neanderthals. Once Ayla hits puberty, she leaves the Neanderthals to find her people, but not before giving birth to a baby of “mixed spirits”. The series is filled with love, action, death, and has tons of description and really really hot sex scenes (as in, the kind that make you all hot and flustered, so don’t read those parts in public).
I have long waited for a video game based on Ayla and the Earth’s Children series (or movies will do; starting after the 1986 flick “Clan of the Cave Bear” ). I imagine some sort of RPG with a firm storyline where I get skill points for learning to hunt and fight, collecting medicinal plants and treating injuries, engaging in shamanic rituals, and domesticating a range of animals, including horses and wolves. And there can be tons of titties, I won’t complain. Video game execs (I am looking at you Bethesda!), if you need a writer for such a game, hit me up at fruzsina.eordogh (at) gmail.
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- Humans share Neanderthal genes from interbreeding 50,000 years ago (telegraph.co.uk)
- Ancient Sex Scandals: Did We Get It On With Neandertals? (scienceblogs.com)
- Neanderthal Genome Shows Most Humans Are Cavemen (wired.com)
- Most humans are a little bit Neanderthal (windsorstar.com)