9 thoughts on ““Neanderthals And Humans””

  1. “… Neanderthals were humans (or they wouldn’t have been able to interbreed).”

    I’m all in favor of Neanderthals being regarded as human, but the foregoing displays a widespread though false public myth: the fact is that members of “different species” (usually but not always members of the same genus) are very often able to reproduce — typically with fully fertile offspring, not infertile “mules.”

    For instance, all species within the genus Canis are interfertile. Another example: members of different genera, (American) bison (Bison bison) and cattle (Bos taurus) have heavily interchanged genes during the last century — to the point where biologists are working to remove extract those cattle genes from the bison genome (apparently they don’t care if cattle include bison genes).

    Probably humans and chimpanzees and gorillas (members of different genera) would be able to interbreed if an accident of human evolution had not changed the number of our chromosomes, making successful reproduction between humans and the other great apes all but impossible.

    1. I have to wonder about how much of that is a result of the original classifications of genera and species being based on appearance rather than genetics. If “species” is defined as “capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring more often than not” then virtually all canids (not sure about a fox/wolf cross) are the same species, though highly differentiated.

      The Linnaean taxonomy was created before genetics was a known thing, and I don’t know if the classifications have been reconsidered in light of modern biological discoveries.

  2. Back in the days before genome sequencing, many theories were advanced as to why humans and Neanderthals hadn’t interbred (the standard assumption back then). My theory was, Neanderthal men couldn’t rape human women because they couldn’t catch them, and human men couldn’t rape Neanderthal women because if they caught one, she would pull their arms and legs out by the roots. Now I hear Fred the Cro-Magnon saying, “I know she can’t cook, Barney, but she can take down an aurochs with one punch!”

    1. “Neanderthal men couldn’t rape human women because they couldn’t catch them, and human men couldn’t rape Neanderthal women because if they caught one, she would pull their arms and legs out by the roots.”

      I know that Neanderthals were pretty robust/strong but so were Cro-Magnons especially the men. Much more so than modern humans are.:

      “Cro-Magnons were robustly built and powerful and are presumed to have been about 166 to 171 cm (about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches) tall. The body was generally heavy and solid, apparently with strong musculature. The forehead was straight, with slight browridges, and the face short and wide. Cro-Magnons were the first humans (genus Homo) to have a prominent chin. The brain capacity was about 1,600 cc (100 cubic inches), somewhat larger than the average for modern humans. It is thought that Cro-Magnons were probably fairly tall compared with other early human species.”

      https://www.webcitation.org/5tboFU8Vn?url=http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/143532/Cro-Magnon

      1. At the time I first made that jest, more than 30 years ago, Cro-Magnons were generally believed to be taller and more gracile than that, whereas Classical Neanderthal were thought to be considerably shorter and more robust than is generally believed now. Even now, there are so few more or less intact remains it remains guesswork.

        For me, the best part is, that description of Cro-Magnons (the same one is on Wikipedia) more or less describes me. I’m a little bigger than that (183cm x 90kg in my hayday), markedly dolichocephalic, squarish eye sockets, browridge, etc. The picture of me on my website, I’m about that size at age 50. I used to call that picture “The Old Man and the Hat.” Now I’m 68 and realize at age 50 I didn’t know what the words “old man” really meant. Before he croaked, my Dad said I still don’t know (he was 87 at the time).

  3. You know the old (old) saying: “Once you go Neanderthal, you never go back.”

    Also, what did the buffalo say when his kid went off to college? “Bison.”

  4. So…do you suppose it was more girl Neanderthals and boy homo sapiens or the other way around? What did girl Neanderthals look like? Given the male penchant to “boink” anything that moves I would expect that more than choosier human females going the other way.

    1. You wouldn’t notice a Neanderthal as a Neanderthal if you walked by one on the street. Also, many women appreciate muscular men with a rugged face. But who can say for sure? What is considered attractive in the opposite sex isn’t a historical constant and who one mated with wasn’t always a choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *