Neanderthal Lives Matter!

There is a synergy in our interconnected, media-saturated world that a prehistoric human being might not recognize, but that a modern Neanderthal-American, such has your humble correspondent, can appreciate and report.  For I am, and some of you are, not only a person of mixed race, but a rather uniquely oppressed part proto-human minority, ignored, mocked, subjected to genocide (or whatever it you call it with Neanderthals), and in need of redress – um, I mean money.

First off, although I have not had my genome mapped (and have no intention of doing so, lest I find a truncated lifeline), new evidence suggests that I belong to that minority of Americans with Neanderthal DNA.  Evidently, my ancestors moved into Europe some hundreds of thousands of years ago, some time before homo sapiens evolved, and there, besides admiring each other's heavy brow bones and dense, manly musculature, we developed certain traits that allowed us to prosper in colder, low-sunlight climes, well before global warming made everything better – oh, I mean much, much worse.  I have green eyes, light skin, and most significantly a tendency to develop actinic keratosis.  I should also have a softness for tobacco and depression.  But other than the occasional stogie, I seem be free of the former, and thanks to bourbon, I'm mostly blissfully unaware of the latter.  But given that my wife thinks I'm mostly an idiot, it's pretty certain that I am at least 2% Neanderthal.

Now let's get to that great synergy.  Not long after learning of my Neanderthal roots, I also found out from our first black president, Bill Clinton, that I am almost certainly a person of mixed race.  So I am not only part Neanderthal, but part African, and maybe Asian and other stuff, too.  Bill Clinton is an accomplished liar, but all good fibbers occasionally tell the truth.  At a campaign rally for his wife (who appears to be part Lhasa Apso), he let us know that everybody, excepting sub-Saharan Africans, is mixed-race, thus inadvertently – or perhaps advertently – undermining the principal justification for electing our current president. 

Except Clinton might have got that wrong, too.  Mixed-race we may all be, but that also includes sub-Saharan Africans.  Humans evolved in East Africa, before the Sahara existed.  Some spread south and west into the rest of Africa, while others moved north and east to other places.  The distance from Olduwai Gorge, Kenya (around where the earliest humans originated) to Cape Town, South Africa is about 2,500 miles.  From there to Tel Aviv is about 3,400 miles.  Not much of a difference in distance, and the walk from Olduwai to Tel Aviv might have been a bit easier.  There was no particular reason for early humans to walk north or south, and it's quite possible people were in Israel before South Africa, with "purer" human genes.  I don't know – just saying.

There were lots of human migrations, and they went pretty quickly on a relative basis.  Fully modern humans evolved in Africa about 60,000 years ago and reached Asia 55,000 years ago.  They got to Australia by about 40,000 years ago, where they were subsequently isolated.  Want to see a real early human, without a lot of mixed up genetics, find a pure-blood Aboriginal Australian if you can – he is the real thing.  This is really what Clinton meant, I guess, depending on what the meaning of is is.  African humans have more genetic diversity than humans on any other continent – at least I read that somewhere.

Anyway, mixed-race we all might be, but only some of us are part Neanderthal.  My Neanderthal ancestors were almost certainly displaced, raped, and murdered, just because they looked a little different from other humans.  And because for a long time we believed that they could not talk, we thought that they could not negotiate, like that great diplomat John Kerry.  However, recent studies suggest that they could talk just as well as Kerry, which maybe explains a lot.  The point is, Neanderthal lives mattered, too, not that the other 98% of the human genome cares today.

There is a synergy in our interconnected, media-saturated world that a prehistoric human being might not recognize, but that a modern Neanderthal-American, such has your humble correspondent, can appreciate and report.  For I am, and some of you are, not only a person of mixed race, but a rather uniquely oppressed part proto-human minority, ignored, mocked, subjected to genocide (or whatever it you call it with Neanderthals), and in need of redress – um, I mean money.

First off, although I have not had my genome mapped (and have no intention of doing so, lest I find a truncated lifeline), new evidence suggests that I belong to that minority of Americans with Neanderthal DNA.  Evidently, my ancestors moved into Europe some hundreds of thousands of years ago, some time before homo sapiens evolved, and there, besides admiring each other's heavy brow bones and dense, manly musculature, we developed certain traits that allowed us to prosper in colder, low-sunlight climes, well before global warming made everything better – oh, I mean much, much worse.  I have green eyes, light skin, and most significantly a tendency to develop actinic keratosis.  I should also have a softness for tobacco and depression.  But other than the occasional stogie, I seem be free of the former, and thanks to bourbon, I'm mostly blissfully unaware of the latter.  But given that my wife thinks I'm mostly an idiot, it's pretty certain that I am at least 2% Neanderthal.

Now let's get to that great synergy.  Not long after learning of my Neanderthal roots, I also found out from our first black president, Bill Clinton, that I am almost certainly a person of mixed race.  So I am not only part Neanderthal, but part African, and maybe Asian and other stuff, too.  Bill Clinton is an accomplished liar, but all good fibbers occasionally tell the truth.  At a campaign rally for his wife (who appears to be part Lhasa Apso), he let us know that everybody, excepting sub-Saharan Africans, is mixed-race, thus inadvertently – or perhaps advertently – undermining the principal justification for electing our current president. 

Except Clinton might have got that wrong, too.  Mixed-race we may all be, but that also includes sub-Saharan Africans.  Humans evolved in East Africa, before the Sahara existed.  Some spread south and west into the rest of Africa, while others moved north and east to other places.  The distance from Olduwai Gorge, Kenya (around where the earliest humans originated) to Cape Town, South Africa is about 2,500 miles.  From there to Tel Aviv is about 3,400 miles.  Not much of a difference in distance, and the walk from Olduwai to Tel Aviv might have been a bit easier.  There was no particular reason for early humans to walk north or south, and it's quite possible people were in Israel before South Africa, with "purer" human genes.  I don't know – just saying.

There were lots of human migrations, and they went pretty quickly on a relative basis.  Fully modern humans evolved in Africa about 60,000 years ago and reached Asia 55,000 years ago.  They got to Australia by about 40,000 years ago, where they were subsequently isolated.  Want to see a real early human, without a lot of mixed up genetics, find a pure-blood Aboriginal Australian if you can – he is the real thing.  This is really what Clinton meant, I guess, depending on what the meaning of is is.  African humans have more genetic diversity than humans on any other continent – at least I read that somewhere.

Anyway, mixed-race we all might be, but only some of us are part Neanderthal.  My Neanderthal ancestors were almost certainly displaced, raped, and murdered, just because they looked a little different from other humans.  And because for a long time we believed that they could not talk, we thought that they could not negotiate, like that great diplomat John Kerry.  However, recent studies suggest that they could talk just as well as Kerry, which maybe explains a lot.  The point is, Neanderthal lives mattered, too, not that the other 98% of the human genome cares today.