Monday, July 18, 2011

Pure humans...

This fascinated me when it first broke, but now it seems to have been more solidly confirmed.

All non-African humans have Neanderthal DNA.

It's funny. I have always believed that the two species interbred, even when it had been discredited, disproved and tossed on the scrap heap. On the face...or actually the skull...of it, my reasoning might seem rather strange.

My grandmother was an Ashkenazic Jew. This is about to become relevant. Most Europeans have very upright skulls, with the back of the head looking almost straight up and down. I first became aware that mine was different when I had to try several horse riding helmets before finding one that fit. I still have problems with helmets, especially in America...they all seem designed for the 'straight up' skull. My skull, in fact, protrudes approximately three inches backwards from the back of my neck. When I asked my parents, I was told it was a 'semitic' skull shape. I've since learned that this skull shape is also seen around the Mediterranean in general...and is actually closer to the African skull shape (but without the slightly jutting jaw seen in Africans) than the Caucasian (If anyone accuses me of being racist, I would simply point out that a short, round skull holds heat and a long thin skull loses it...these skull shapes are simple adaptations to latitude and temperature).

Yet for some reason I became utterly convinced that I had a 'Neanderthal' back of my skull. Children think the weirdest things, of course, and my childhood conviction that there was a Neanderthal somewhere in my ancestry was just that...the weird thoughts of a child.

Funny how now, though, we have proof of interbreeding. Interbreeding that likely took place primarily in the Middle East...

Food for thought.