March 23, 2014

Why is it almost only men who like to think they have Neanderthal genes?

From "Most of Us Are Part Neanderthal," reviewing 2 books, "Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes," by Svante Pääbo, and "The Gap: The Science of What Separates Us from Other Animals"
by Thomas Suddendorf:
Within a few months of the Neanderthal genome being published, forty-seven people had written to Pääbo claiming that they were Neanderthals; tellingly, forty-six of these were men. Twelve women had also written, suggesting that their husbands were Neanderthals.

62 comments:

YoungHegelian said...

If ever the words of HRC can be fruitfully brought to bear, that time is now about the topic of who is or isn't of Neanderthal lineage:

What difference at this point does it make?

St. George said...

I am 2.8 percent Neanderthal, according to 23andme.com, the genetic analysis company. Several days after receiving the results, I was taken from my home and am presently being held in a detention center in the Loire Valley. The wine is satisfactory; the venison is raw but not as warm as I would prefer. I am given sufficient pigments for painting. The mandatory full body shave and haircut left something to be desired. Thank you for your interest.

Pogo is Dead said...

Lemons?

Lemonade.

Sorun said...

Most of us white people are part Neanderthal. Black African are almost purely Homo Sapiens. Asians are part one or more other significant subspecies (which I forget).

I'd bet $10 that what I just wrote is true, but not $100.

Sorun said...

"Twelve women had also written, suggesting that their husbands were Neanderthals."

It's the hairy backs, isn't it?

n.n said...

I have a dream that one day genes will be judged not by their origin, but by their expression.

Donna B. said...

n.n. -- excellent.

jr565 said...

Im 0% neanderthal as Im not convince humans were once neanderthals.

Opinh Bombay said...
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Opinh Bombay said...

Troglodyte

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlRXQEA0yj0

The Cracker Emcee said...

A good example of why feminist man-shaming is so futile. We revel in this shit.

The Cracker Emcee said...
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Rusty said...

My clan never evolved so I think I'm, like, 97% or something.

The Drill SGT said...

Why is it almost only men who like to think they have Neanderthal genes?

Because the image of being a bit more rugged, brutish, tough and Neanderthal appeals to some men... Women, not at all....

Gahrie said...

Why is it almost only men who like to think they have Neanderthal genes?


Jean Auel.


Hagar said...

IIRC, Pääbo's findings are that people of European or Asiatic descent carry between 1 and 4% Neanderthal genes. Asians in addition carry a small percentage of genes from a people he calls the Denisovans, which thinks is one generation older on the homo sapiens family tree than the Neanderthals.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Twelve women had also written, suggesting that their husbands were Neanderthals.

Only twelve?!?

SOJO said...

Ozzie and Kelly Osbourne, that's why.


paul a'barge said...

In another surprise, none of those male letter writers were Alpha males.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do find this interesting. For much of my life, we were told that the Neanderthals had died out maybe 50,000 years ago, when humans came out (again) from Africa into Europe and Asia. But, now, it looks like there was a bit of interbreeding - which puts to the question whether they were indeed a separate species.

Nonapod said...

The term Neanderthal has negative connotations, it's often used as a pejorative to imply someone is primitive, apelike, inelegant, unsophisticated, hairy, physically strong, and/or brutish. These are all qualities that women typically do not want to be thought of as possessing.

cubanbob said...

Bruce from what I have read they were a different species and modern humans and Neanderthals were at the outer edge of being able to breed together.

Sam L. said...

People are silly. Get over it.

Gahrie said...

But, now, it looks like there was a bit of interbreeding - which puts to the question whether they were indeed a separate species.

It goes farther than that. It at least suggests that there are definite subspecies of humans, largely dependent on if they interbred with earlier hominds, and which type they bred with.

David said...

It's simple.

Women have evolved.

Men are stuck in the past.

David said...

"But, now, it looks like there was a bit of interbreeding - which puts to the question whether they were indeed a separate species."

Bruce, I wonder about that too.

Also, was the interbreeding consensual? Was it generally homo sapiens males and Neanderthal females? Or did it work both ways? Did this have something to do with development of white skin? Are black skinned Neanderthals really totally without Neanderthal genes? Were there particular characteristics that Neanderthal genes passed on that are important today? If less than consent was involved, was it rape, or was it rape-rape?

And the question that will make the best movie: could we selectively breed or or genetically program group of Neanderthals back to their origins?

CWJ said...

No one ever fantasized about a neanderthal woman in a bathing suit. It's the hair. In all the wrong places. Nuff said.

David said...

Correction: Are black skinned humans totally without Neanderthal genes?

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Correction: Are black skinned humans totally without Neanderthal genes"

Weird question. Are you suggesting that "black skinned humans" can have no white ancestors? Define "black skinned human".

The Drill SGT said...

David said...
Also, was the interbreeding consensual? Was it generally homo sapiens males and Neanderthal females?


Everybody is to polite to say it, but likely the interbreeding occurred the way most extra-tribal mating happened. By stealing woman, or it that sounds too sexist, by killing all the males and children from the other tribe keeping the breeder females as slaves...

Fen said...

Most of us white people are part Neanderthal. Black African are almost purely Homo Sapiens

I demand Crack pay us reparations for the wrongs his homo sapien ancestors inflicted on my neanderthals.

J Scott said...

Most inter-tribal conflict in primitives is organized wife stealing. We don't really know much about neanderthal culture, but we do know ours, and it's a good bet that we got a neanderthal component in our genes from wive stealing.

ErnieG said...

The calluses on my knuckles suggest that I may have some Neanderthal in me.

That and my Republican voter registration.

averagejoe said...

Ban "Neanderthal"! #BanTheNean!

Lem said...

"Why is it almost only men who like to think they have Neanderthal genes?"

We want to get in touch with that part of ourselves that was free once upon a time? or something.

n.n said...
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traditionalguy said...

So the bones from skeletons in the Neander Valley caves circa 30,000+ years ago suggest a once extinct species mated with humans?

The question remains what was their language skill. The control of self and community by speaking of words is the distinct human (Adamic) trait. Without that skill the Neander Valley guys were worthless.

Quaestor said...

Everybody is to polite to say it, but likely the interbreeding occurred the way most extra-tribal mating happened.

Most? Anthropology and history don't support that assessment. In a traditional society most mating is extra-tribal; the tribe that doesn't gets inbred quickly.

Studies in New Guinea where tribal warfare was endemic for centuries before the Australians took measures to curtail or reduce it, show the norm was bride-bartering -- an exchange of gifts, my daughter for your pigs -- as an aid to negotiations between sides seeking a ceasefire. Sometimes brides were stolen in war, but those cases were exceptional.

Why women are less apt to acknowledge Neanderthal ancestry is a mystery to me, especially in light of the fact that many women want to look like Neanderthals whether they naturally do or not. Here's some news girls: Blond hair and blue eyes entered the H. sapiens genepool via those thuggish northern cavemen. They may have gone extinct, but they had more fun!

SOJO said...
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Tyrone Slothrop said...

I wonder how much of Titus is Neanderthal and how much is Homo.

Quaestor said...

My guess is rape rather than wife stealing

I disagree. It was likely neither rape nor kidnapping. The proportion of Neanderthal admixture in modern Europeans is as much 4%. For the admixture to be that high today after 50,000 years of migration and intermarriage with Asian and African Homo sapiens there would have to be a heck of a lot of rape going on, almost as much rape as at Oberlin College.

Quaestor said...

I wonder how much of Titus is Neanderthal and how much is Homo.

They were both Homo. Especially the blonds.

Kirk Parker said...

Quaestor,

"In a traditional society most mating is extra-tribal; the tribe that doesn't gets inbred quickly."

Doesn't that depend somewhat on how big the tribe is?

Quaestor said...

Doesn't that depend somewhat on how big the tribe is?

Certainly. The New Guinea tribes were neolithic -- they had agriculture (casaba, pigs) semi-permanent villages with populations in the hundreds of related individuals, and war. In the context of Kalahari hunter-gatherers the tribe is fewer than twenty closely related people. Marriage outside the tribe is less common in the New Guinea example because the group sometimes has enough second cousins to go around, whereas in the Kalahari example matings are nearly always extra-tribal.

Drill SGT proposed that contact between the Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal was hostile with slave raiding and kidnapping, which corresponds to the New Guinea model. This is almost certainly not the case. Research strongly suggests that warlike culture occurs in communities with large numbers, settlement patterns, private property, and leadership -- i.e. neolithic farming cultures and above. Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, at least the few such cultures extant, don't have those institutions. The Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons of Ice Europe were paleolithic hunter-gatherers and thus likely lived in very small bands of a dozen or so individuals, so the suggestion that they practised war and slavery is without supporting evidence.

Sexual contact between Modern Humans and Neanderthals was most likely peaceful and voluntary. Both cultures were too primitive to be warlike, and the incidence of rape or kidnapping was unlikely to have been high enough to account for the 4% admixture of Neanderthal genes in today's genome, unless the hybrid offspring of those rapes were highly favored for survival somehow, which is possible and has been proposed by some paleoanthropologists.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Attending a Svante Paabo lecture in Seattle, it's easy to see he's cashing in on that phenomenon. In a way which would normally be excoriated in PC society, he presented the percentage of Neanderthal genes which the average (west European predominately) audience member, then graphs of 'who's the most Neanderthal' and 'who think who's the most Neanderthal' - and the very blue-state Seattle audience guffawed enthusiastically.

It shows that their exquisite racial sensitivities are only selectively activated.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Both cultures were too primitive to be warlike

There's one of those selectively sensitive blue-state audience member right now. Obviously has loftily risen above noticing the universal tribal warfare of primitive societies, and never read 'nasty, brutish and short'.

jr565 said...

How much do we really know about Neanderthals and how much of this is a story constructed out of whole cloth by people who found a few bones?

jr565 said...

"Why is it almost only men who like to think they have Neanderthal genes?"
Sorry ladies, if your dad is part Neanderthal, then since you have his Genes so are you. Though what exactly are Neanderthal genes?

jr565 said...
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jr565 said...

"Although chimpanzees are the nearest relatives of humans, a number of other mammals also share significant amounts of DNA with humans. Portions of the human chromosome 6 have a match in DNA samples from pigs, cows and domestic cats. Dogs, rats, mice and even chickens also share DNA sequences with humans. Since mapping of the human genome and those of other animals continues, more correspondences are expected to emerge."
So, did humans breed with chickens dogs rats and mice? or, is Similar DNA found in animals that really have no other relation to each other because DNA is the building block of life and life shares similar building blocks? And so, if we could expect to find shared DNA in humans and rats, perhaps finding similar DNA in humans and aborigines works the same way.

Gahrie said...

And so, if we could expect to find shared DNA in humans and rats, perhaps finding similar DNA in humans and aborigines works the same way.

Perhaps. But then we would expect to find those genes in all populations of humans....and we don't. At this point there are three distinct populations of humans...those with Neanderthal genes, those with Denisovan genes and those with neither. (In any other animal these would be called sub species)

Rusty said...

"Why is it almost only men who like to think they have Neanderthal genes?"


Because since time out of mind women have been telling us we are.
You get what you pay for.

Nichevo said...

Why is it almost only men who like to think they have Neanderthal genes?

Because Neanderthals don't consider it necessary to inquire first whether or not you like it in the ass.

Quaestor said...

Insufficiently Sensitive, you ought to change your handle to Insufficiently Informed. It would be more accurate in any case.

Nasty, brutish and short, eh? I've read Leviathan. I wonder whether you have? As a republican (slower case and upper case R's applying) I find the characterization troubling and dangerous, as it is part of an argument in favor of Absolutism. I also find it curious that you may not. If you agree with Hobbes I suggest a blue state would be a more congenial clime for you than your current digs.

Seeing as how Hobbes never met a "primitive" man (he could have sailed for New England and met a few if he'd been more curious or less self-assured) I shall take it as read that professional anthropologist know more about the subject than either you or your mentor.

Quaestor said...

jr565 wrote:
Although chimpanzees are the nearest relatives of humans, a number of other mammals also share significant amounts of DNA with humans...

There appears to be a flaw in your concept of how DNA functions and what it means to share genes with other species. Sharing a gene with a rat means we are related to rats. Clearly this is true since rats and humans share at least one common ancestor, actually many common ancestors, but fewer than we share with other mammals like dogs, cats and hooved animals; we humans are more rat than horse.

This is why rats are used in drug research more often than pigs, even though a pig is often a better anatomical analog of man than is a rat. The rat being closer to us genetically means that our proteins are more similar, and that's not all it means. It also corresponds to the closeness in time our ancestors are as well. The closer we are genetically to another species the more our proteins are similar and the more close in time is our common ancestor.

The great radiation of mammals occurred after the K/T Boundary Event which destroyed most of the dinosaur lineages, say about 65 mya. So while we are more distant in time from our rat brethren than our from our dogs, our common ancestor with dogs lived no more than 65 mya. By the same token our common ancestor with chickens lived even further back in time, to when the common ancestor of all mammals branched off the clade that lead to the archosaurs -- way back in the Permian, about 270 mya.

Quaestor said...

Error. Error. I made a mistake. Euarchontoglires, which includes rats, bunnies, tree shrews, flying lemurs and us split off from Laurasiatheria, which includes Fido and Mister Ed among others, at least 85 mya, not 65 mya.

Dynamic field, that paleobiology. Ya gotta check checking...

jr565 said...

Quaestor wrote:
There appears to be a flaw in your concept of how DNA functions and what it means to share genes with other species. Sharing a gene with a rat means we are related to rats. Clearly this is true since rats and humans share at least one common ancestor, actually many common ancestors, but fewer than we share with other mammals like dogs, cats and hooved animals; we humans are more rat than horse.

I know what evolutionary theory says, but that's one of the reasons I have problems with evolution. We're all made up of shared material because those materials are what make up everything in the world be it animal or vegetable or mineral. (Not just talking about DNA but how we're all made up of elements) And so, if animals share some of those same DNA strands across species, I don't know that it really means that there is some evolutionary path from a single common anscestor. The differences between a rat and a human are so vast and pronounced despite the shared DNA that I don't see the linkage to be one based on evolutionary change. I think scientists have only a very partial understanding of DNA. And are seeing similarities in DNA that they are attributing to one cause,when that cause doesn't adequately explain why there is the similarity or difference.

Quaestor said...

I think scientists have only a very partial understanding of DNA.

This is true of all science, not just genetics or evolution. Science is the best explanation for now. It's not truth.

Truth is elusive.

Science does have a good working model of DNA. It can be synthesized. Artification DNA along with synthetic transcription enzymes can assemble protein molecules. If you can build a car from raw materials you might have a claim on understanding automotive engineering. The same is likely true of modern molecular biology and DNA.

The significance of DNA in evolution runs deeper than you may imagine. DNA is not so much a blueprint for life, its a template for proteins, which in turn indispensable for life as we know it. Tissues, enzymes, hormones, pheromones, venoms, whatever -- if life does it a protein is used.

Proteins are assembled from amino acids of which there are thousands. Yet here is a mystery that links all terrestrial life into a single cladogram: Of the thousands of known aminos, only a tiny percentage are proteinogenic. Eukaryotes, thats is everybody on earth who isn't a bacteria, use just 21. Some bacteria use one more for a total of 22 for all of terrestrial life. There doesn't seem to be any chemical reason why there are just 22, but for some reason molecules assembled from the other aminos don't function as proteins, at least not in earthly life forms.

The explanation appears to be that the ur-organism, the life form that was ancestral to all living thing on the planet today, used only those 22 and has passed on this bias to all its descendants.

Kirk Parker said...

Quaestor,

That was a bit vigorous in rejoinder... I was just going to point out to Mr. Insufficiently Comprehending that you didn't say small bands never fought, but that they didn't do warfare.

Quaestor said...

Point taken, Kirk. I'm calmer now. Thanks.

Kirk Parker said...

No problem, I was thinking some of what you were saying...

jr565 said...

According to preliminary sequences, 99.7% of the base pairs of the modern human and Neanderthal genomes are identical, compared to humans sharing around 98.8% of base pairs with the chimpanzee.[5] (Other studies concerning the commonality between chimps and humans have modified the commonality of 98% to a commonality of only 94%, showing that the genetic gap between humans and chimps is far larger than originally thought.)[6][7]

The researchers recovered ancient DNA of Neanderthals by extracting the DNA from the femur bones of three 38,000-year-old female Neanderthal specimens from Vindija Cave, Croatia, and other bones found in Spain, Russia, and Germany.[8] Only about half a gram of the bone samples (or 21 samples each 50-100 mg[9]) was required for the sequencing, but the project faced many difficulties, including the contamination of the samples by the bacteria that had colonized the Neanderthal's body and humans who handled the bones at the excavation site and at the laboratory.[10]

and

In February 2009, the Max Planck Institute's team led by Pääbo, announced that they had completed the first draft of the Neanderthal genome.[10] An early analysis of the data suggested in "the genome of Neanderthals, a human species driven to extinction" "no significant trace of Neanderthal genes in modern humans".[20] New results suggested that some adult Neanderthals were lactose intolerant.[17] On the question of potentially cloning a Neanderthal, Pääbo commented, "Starting from the DNA extracted from a fossil, it is and will remain impossible."[10]

In May 2010, the project released a draft of their report on the sequenced Neanderthal genome. Contradicting the results discovered while examining mitochondrial DNA, they demonstrated a range of genetic contribution to non-African modern humans ranging from 1% to 4%. From their Homo sapiens samples in Eurasia (French, Han Chinese & Papuan) the authors state that it is likely that interbreeding occurred in the Levant before Homo sapiens migrated into Europe.[21] However, this finding is disputed because of the paucity of archeological evidence supporting their statement. The fossil evidence does not conclusively place Neanderthals and modern humans in close proximity at this time and place'

So what you are asserting as a certainty is based on potentially faulty findings and a paucity of archaelogical evidence to support the statement.And previous tests showed no linkage. All I'm saying is the assertion like much of evolutionary theory is guesswork.
As is our linkage to chimps. Other tests show that our linkage to chimps is nowhere as close.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_genome_project