October 31, 2007

NEANDERTHALS. So that explains it! Us Neanderthals are alive and well and glowing in the dark.
  • Somehow I feel I sort of knew this already.
  • Happy Halloween!
  • No wonder homo sapiens didn't want to interbreed with Neanderthals.
  • me neanderthal woman! me beat you with big club!!
  • you was right, Plegmund... *coughs politely*
  • Actually I've got a long history with redheads.
  • Hmph. As if those suavely Titian Neanderthals would have wanted to mix their genes with the non-speckled riff-raff.
  • Perhaps the more scientific monkeys can help me out with a question this brings up for me. When are we different species as opposed to different races? From what I understand we and the Neanderthals are much more alike than different, could have interbred and the "differences" between our species seem to be similar to what we see between say, a modern person from Asia and one from northern Europe. So where does distinguishing hominoids by race end and species begin?
  • The difference between the current human 'races' amount to minor variances, basically paint job. Race is a word used in biology to describe sub-populations, blurry subsets of individuals of common descent, groups more or less distinguishable one from the other by looks &/or behaviour. There is no such thing as race, genetically speaking (however some iconoclasts in biology argue with this, but I mean, compared to other animal species, the biological variances between human sub-populations are minor, although distinguishable on a genetic level, if you want to quibble). The difference between Neanderthals & modern human are significant, morphological: major differences in bone structure, for instance, which are far beyond the physical differences between, say, a little old lady from Kansas and a Masai warrior. There is more genetic difference between two field mice living in fields 10 miles apart than there are between any of the different human 'races' on Earth. Actually, I think there are 3 exceptions to this (racial exceptions, I think including the Basques & a couple of other groups), but they are rare, and I think the genetic variance there is still pretty small, in comparison to other animal species. There is no real difference between a Chinese person, a French person and an African, or whoever, it's mainly cultural aside from minor physical adaptions. There was a bottleneck in human development about 10,000 years ago IIRC where most of 'em died off for some reason, so everyone left is derived from that small section. We don't actually know if we could interbreed with Neanderthals. There is still a great deal of argument about this. My opinion is, naturally we did, but my opinion means shit. There is no definitive evidence. Some theorists argue that it wouldn't have produced fertile offspring, like mules. But we don't have a complete Neanderthal DNA to be sure. Even if we did interbreed with them, it's been argued that by now, there would be no DNA evidence left in the genome, it would all have been 'watered down'. Neanderthals would have looked somewhat different to us. They had no chins, they were big boned, stocky, and had big heads, big brow ridges, and larger snouts. Our snouts are all smooshed up into our faces. Their children went pretty much from childhood straight into adulthood, no extended adolescence. Hit the ground running.
  • And they live in Scotland.
  • Even the Scots have enough sense not to eat whales.
  • (no you don't, HM--try harder) Naturally, they had language! High voiced, and squeaky language, it is postulated, but still language. How else could a mother tell her hulking hairy son when he kept turning up the headbanger music: "I'm gonna beat you like a red-headed stepchild if you don't turn that crap down!" From the link on speech and language: Neanderthals may have had their own culture Dammit, I hate the popular press. OF COURSE they had their own culture. We know quite a bit about them. They made spears, cooked food, carved flutes, painted cave walls and decorated their bodies, and wore skins and ornaments. They took care of their injured, buried their dead with bear heads placed around the graveside, and mourned their children in the same way as we do, by placing flowers in their hands. So, we've got cookery, music, art, fashion, jewelry, makeup, medicine, death rituals--sounds like culture to me. Maybe they didn't invent light bulbs or the stock exchange, but they also didn't invent crappy insurance commercials. culture and other stuff
  • I'll gladly interbreed with anything that's got red hair and freckles.
  • ORLY?
  • Within reason, of course.
  • ticky FTW. Honorable mansion to Hank for the words part too.
  • But I like the caveman commercials..? "It's my mother -- I'll put her on speaker." Heh.