Humans and Neanderthals Are One
If Neanderthals bred with modern humans, they are one and the same species. That must be the case according to the most widely-accepted definition of a species: those who can breed and produce fertile offspring. The news media are abuzz with Science magazine’s cover story this week, “The Neanderthal Genome.”1 Most anthropologists are now accepting the genetic evidence for human-Neanderthal mixing of DNA, and that there are remnants of the Neanderthal genome walking the earth in living human beings.
There were some surprises in the findings. The main finding was that Europeans and Asians share about 1% to 4% of their nuclear DNA with Neanderthals, indicating that there was substantial interbreeding between the two groups in the past (note that your own genome does not have much remaining of your great-great-grandparent’s genes, so there had to be substantial interbreeding for Neandertal markers to become fixed in the human population). The gene flow appears to be one-way, however, and the researchers did not find those genetic markers among African populations – meaning that there will have to be some revision to the “Out of Africa” theory.
In short, the evidence has brought humans and Neanderthals together as mere varieties of the same species, while simultaneously increasing the genetic distance between humans and the great apes. The team is confident of the interbreeding because they took great pains to eliminate contamination; they believe any contamination is below 0.7%. Only about 60% of the Neanderthal genome has been recovered so far. Here are the prime-source articles from Science:
- “A Draft Sequence of the Neanderthal Genome” is the primary paper by Green et al.1 Some 55 authors are listed on the paper, including Svante Paabo, who has advanced theories about Neanderthal interbreeding for years.
- “Targeted Investigation of the Neandertal Genome by Array-Based Sequence Capture” by Burbano et al compared human and Neanderthal genes with the chimpanzee genome.2 They “identified 88 amino acid substitutions that have become fixed in humans since our divergence from the Neandertals.”
- Ann Gibbons summarized the papers in a news article in the same issue entitled, “Paleogenetics: Close Encounters of the Prehistoric Kind.”3
- Elisabeth Pennisi investigated the question of whether it might become possible to clone a Neanderthal, in “Paleogenetics: Cloned Neandertals Still in the Realm of Sci-Fi.”4 She called it a pipe dream due to technical and ethical reasons.
- Pennisi added a cameo article about Richard “Ed” Green, the postdoctoral fellow in charge of the Neanderthal sequencing project at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.” He developed barcoding methods for streamlining the effort of wading through the DNA evidence.
The announcement in Science set off a plethora of headlines in the news:
- New Scientist said “Neanderthal genome reveals interbreeding with humans.”
- Science Daily announced, “Neandertals ‘Hardly Differed at All’ from Modern Humans.” Another Science Daily entry featuring Ed Green said, “Neanderthal Genome Yields Insights Into Human Evolution and Evidence of Interbreeding With Modern Humans.”
- National Geographic wrote, “Neanderthals, Humans Interbred—First Solid DNA Evidence; Most of us have some Neanderthal genes, study finds.”
- Clara Moskowitz got clever with her headline for Live Science, saying, “Humans and Neanderthals Mated, Making You Part Caveman.”
- The BBC News wrote, “Neanderthal genes ‘survive in us’.” The article is accompanied by a timeline (not to scale), a video clip, and a picture of Svante Paabo.
- Time Magazine’s coverage emphasized the opinions of Svante Paabo and Erik Trinkaus. Webb Miller thought this is was a “way cool paper” representing “great science” because “Some [scientists] will love it, and some of them will hate it.”
- The New York Times highlighted a large picture of the Croatian cave where Neanderthal bones with DNA were found. Their coverage entertained some competing views, saying, “the new analysis, which is based solely on genetics and statistical calculations, is more difficult to match with the archaeological record.” The Times quoted Ian Tattersall [America Museum of Natural History] calling it a “fabulous achievement” but “probably not the authors’ last word, and they are obviously groping to explain what they have found.”
- “Probing Question: What can we learn from Neanderthal DNA?” asked PhysOrg on April 22, before the paper was published, adding, “Contrary to their image as knuckle-dragging brutes, the Neanderthals on television play tennis and attend cocktail parties – and sell auto insurance.” Maybe some Brutus-types you know come to mind.
- John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist and blogger, welcomed the news. “Neandertals Live!” he announced on John Hawks Weblog, where a philosophical-looking Neanderthal graces his banner. His entry summed up what this means for paleoanthropology from an evolutionary perspective.
In his blog, John Hawks asked and answered his own question if it means Neanderthals belong in our species, Homo sapiens. He gave himself an unequivocal, “Yes.” The New York Times article, however, tried to keep them distinct. It said Neanderthals were “not fully modern” and did not expand from Africa, because they supposedly split off from the line that led to modern humans 600,000 years ago. If so, that raises a question of how they could interbreed with modern humans after the passage of such immense periods of time before the two groups met around 100,000 years ago according to the evolutionary timeline. “So far, the team has identified only about 100 genes – surprisingly few – that have contributed to the evolution of modern humans since the split.” Update 05/15/2010: An editorial in New Scientist said, “Welcome to the family, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.” The article underscored the commonalities the Neanderthals have with the rest of us; “it is hard to see why Neanderthals should be considered as anything other than Homo sapiens.” Their range of genetic variation fits within that of living humans, the editors said. “Moreover, Neanderthals share with us a version of a gene linked to the evolution of speech, and recent archaeological evidence suggests that their minds were capable of the symbolic representations that underlie language and art. If that’s not human, then what is?” Ewen Callaway in another article in New Scientist went so far as to predict that Neanderthals were not the only archaic humans our ancestors mated with. We may find that Homo erectus and Homo floresiensis are part of the family, too.
1. Green, Paabo et al, “A Draft Sequence of the Neanderthal Genome,” Science, 7 May 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5979, pp. 710-722, DOI: 10.1126/science.1188021.
2. Burbano et al, “Targeted Investigation of the Neandertal Genome by Array-Based Sequence Capture,” Science, 7 May 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5979, pp. 723 – 725, DOI: 10.1126/science.1188046.
3. Ann Gibbons, “Paleogenetics: Close Encounters of the Prehistoric Kind,” Science, 7 May 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5979, pp. 680-684, DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5979.680.
4. Elizabeth Pennisi, “Paleogenetics: Cloned Neandertals Still in the Realm of Sci-Fi,” Science, 7 May 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5979, pp. 682-683, DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5979.682.
5. Elizabeth Pennisi, “Paleogenetics: Computer Kid Makes Good,” Science, 7 May 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5979, p. 683, DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5979.683.
Now that we know they are us, and we are them, and that so-called Neanderthals are walking among us playing tennis and selling us insurance, it’s time to assess the damage the Neanderthal myth has done to humanity. This was never about a pure, unbiased search for the truth of human history. It was all about looking for props to support a story – a story of Europeans emerging from lower animals over millions of years in a way that guaranteed they would be on top. It’s a kind of historical racism, only the victims have been unable to sue in court because they were assumed extinct. Well, maybe 1-4% of the 6 billion people can find a lawyer now. Got big brows? Are you big-boned? Maybe you stand to make a lot of money.
The first Neanderthal bones were found a few years before Darwin published his Origin. The Neander valley in Germany, by the way, was named after Joachim Neander, author of “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation.” Although the skeletons looked a little strange, it would take a few years for evolutionary demagogues to find a way to use them as props for the story. Evolution was already on the rise in Victorian Britain. Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus, and Lamarck, and Robert Chambers had written scandalous but delicious tales of humankind arising from the lower animals. The geologists had already ditched Mosaic chronology for Hutton’s deep time by the 1830s, with Lyell as their champion, so the timescale was set. The British Empire with its Victorian theme of progress was already displaying European “superiority” over the other races of mankind, and racism was hot. So when Darwin made his strategic coup by publishing an apparently plausible mechanism for evolutionary common ancestry, evolutionism exploded on the scene. Acceptance of the controversial theory was tentative at first (many leading scientists were outraged), but within ten years Darwin, his Four Musketeers (Lyell, Gray, Huxley, Hooker) and the X-club bad boys had stolen the high ground. By the time Darwin wrote The Descent of Man in 1871, hardly anyone had the energy to protest – not even the clergy. This was not a matter of science; it was a sociological phenomenon of late 19th century Victorian racist culture.
Now all that was necessary to keep the momentum going was to fill in the blanks of the Darwin Saga with the appearance of scientific progress. Bones that looked any way different were hot items. They were immediately placed into the march of progress from monkey to man. Look at the first artist reconstruction of Neanderthal Man (Wikimedia) made in 1888 when the Darwin hysteria was in full swing. Clearly the artist was attempting to make it look as brutish, ape-like, and “other” as possible. That’s the key: these ancient bones had to be other than people. The Darwinists manipulated the perception of human history by giving them other-sounding names: Neanderthal Man, Java Man, Heidelberg Man, Peking Man, Rhodesia Man, Nebraska Man, Piltdown Man. They manipulated taxonomy to support their Darwinian, deep-time story: Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis. The storytelling continued into the 20th century, with more artist reconstructions, an elaborate tale of when and where different groups emerged on the scene, and where they migrated. Fictional stories were concocted about how different species of human ancestors might have met one another and fought to the death. Other fictional stories were made up out of whole cloth about the invention of language, culture, and religion. The Neanderthals, we were told, separated from a common ancestor of modern humans 650,000 years ago. They were portrayed as brutish, stooped-over, heavy-browed, muscular mammoth-hunting cavemen who knew little more than how to build fire, have sex and eat meat. But when the intelligent, slender Cro-Magnon arrived (you know, the Europeans), these brutes were no match, and over years were beaten back to extinction.
Does any of this have any connection to true history? Of course not. Yes, there are bones, and flutes, and burial sites, and caves, but the “scenario” is a big, bad myth. It is 150 years overdue to put this one out of our misery. Consider how absurd it is. Evolutionists are asking us to think that Neanderthals went on their own evolutionary journey 650,000 years ago, only to encounter “modern” humans 100,000 to 80,000 years ago, and find they could have fertile offspring! If Darwin’s theory means anything at all, in that long a time the Neanderthals and other human species should have drifted so far apart that interbreeding would have become impossible.. That’s what most evolutionists believed until very recently. The evidence for interbreeding in the Neanderthal genome is not just an adjustment to the Darwinian paleoanthropology scenario; it undermines it. Even more nonsensical is the idea that modern humans, virtually identical in every way to us, walked through Europe for over 100,000 years without ever inventing a wheel, building a city, riding a horse, or planting a farm. That’s 10 to 12 times the length of all recorded human history. Anyone who does not see the patent absurdity of the evolutionary claim needs a serious deprogramming session. Not only that, evolutionists are telling us that human ancestors were capable of fire and cooking and hunting and upright walking, and maybe verbal and symbolic communication, for half a million to a million years. As Duane Gish rightly asked in 1993, “what in the world were our advanced hominid ancestors doing for almost a million years? Why was evolution, both physical and cultural, so quiescent for such a vast stretch of time? If Homo sapiens had evolved perhaps as much as 150,000 years ago or even longer, why was it that he invented agriculture and domestication so recently and so abruptly?” (Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics, p. 354).
Creationists – you know, those know-nothings who are the brunt of the Darwin Empire’s most vicious ridicule and disgust – have been saying for a long time that the average brain capacity of “Neanderthal Man” exceeded our own. They are not the only ones who have said that if you gave a Neanderthal a shave and a haircut, dressed him in a business suit, and marched him down Wall Street, nobody would pay any attention. Now we know they are among us playing tennis and selling insurance. On top of that, the history of evolutionary hoaxes with early-man fossils (Nebraska Man, Piltdown Man) and the ongoing wars between today’s ape-man hunters vying for the stage with the hottest missing link is a history of shameful intrigue, extrapolation of evidence, mythmaking and reversals. They cannot understand how civilization emerged from nothing. They cannot understand why the first cave paintings were already the best. And they present themselves as making progress toward “understanding our origins”.
Readers, people, please: does it begin to dawn on you that we have been snookered by the Darwin Party con men? Why do we listen to these so-called experts? Why do we think their story is getting better with time? Is this new paper a sign of progress? No; it spotlights a 150-year detour away from the truth. They have vaunted their ignorance, yet vented their arrogance by expecting us to believe that the other parts of their myth are still intact. I’m sure you will be thrilled to find out in another few decades that everything they are telling you in 2010 was wrong, too. Chances are good that will happen, because not much remains of what they were telling us a few decades ago, and decades before that, ad nauseum. If your driver chose the wrong road, don’t be surprised when things don’t look right after hours of driving, even when your confident-sounding cabbie has a good story and keeps telling you he’s getting closer to the destination. When is it going to dawn on you that that’s his angle – keeping a good story going, not looking for the destination? The Darwinists stay in power by perpetuating an illusion of legitimacy, as if they are getting warmer. Each new bone, each new genome, is “shedding light” on our evolution. Stop believing the lies. The props have nothing to do with it; the story is the centerpiece, and that is not up for debate.
The Biblical timeline, by contrast, fits known human history well. One must understand that dating of artifacts beyond 10,000 years ago is infected with the deep-time mythology, producing a circular system of reinforcement. Evolutionists need that deep time. To make it look legitimate, they fill it in with stages in their fictional play, and then they date those stages with infected dating methods to give them an air of scientific objectivity. Don’t follow the script. Look at the hard evidence itself. The best evidence is inscriptions – clay tablets, writing, cities, architecture, pottery. The birth of civilization in the Fertile Crescent fits what the Bible says about the spread of humanity after the Flood and Babel. Verifiable records show all artifacts were made by intelligent, skilled, sentient Homo sapiens – every one of them. And just as people today are quick to migrate to every corner of the globe, migration by true humans was very rapid after the Flood. Columbus did not discover a New World; people were already there, having migrated from Asia over land bridges centuries before – maybe millennia before. People were in the South Pacific, on Easter Island, in South America, all over the place when the latecomer Europeans showed up. Who is really superior, the latecomers? Jon Saboe’s novel The Days of Peleg (Resource of the Week for 11/07/2009) provides a plausible account of how all this could have happened in a short time. Another important point is that human population statistics match the Biblical timeframe like a comfortable shoe. But if upright, intelligent humans inhabited this planet for nearly a million years, we should be climbing over their bones, not finding them here and there in isolated caves.
So who were the Neanderthals? For one thing, it’s time to ditch that name with its evolutionary baggage. They were Homo sapiens with some accentuated features. No, they didn’t live 650,000 years ago; they lived a few thousand years ago. They migrated after the Flood, like everyone else. After Babel, close-knit family groups went their separate ways. Inbreeding of tribes led to accentuated features. Some traits could have been aggravated by diet, harsh environment, age, or disease. But for all we can tell, they were strong, astute, fit, creative, intelligent, capable people. Today’s pot-bellied scientists with high cholesterol who couldn’t find a steak in a meat market or carve a turkey should aspire to their stature. Maybe they were the frontiersmen of their day, living out in the harsh extremes of the world, like the Inuit and certain tribal peoples who know a lot more about living off the land than many scientists ever will. Maybe they preferred the simple life of the hunter-gatherer, as do some people groups in 2010. Maybe they were the environmentalists; who knows? They weren’t around for 650,000 years; just a few thousand, like all the other people we KNOW about, where know is the operative word.
A creationist taxonomical initiative called baraminology accepts the Genesis record that God made things to reproduce after their “kinds” (baramin). The created kinds were most likely groups larger than a species (although a baramin may represent a species in some cases, such as with Homo sapiens; for introduction see ChristianAnswers.net and CreationWiki). Baraminology entails significant amounts of genetic variability inherent in the genomes of the original kinds. The picture of a gradually progressing tree of life Darwin used to propagate his anti-Genesis mythology of human history is rejected in favor of the original Genesis picture: a world of distinct reproductive groups varying within their kinds. Each baramin is related by common descent, so there is room for some of the same comparative genomics studies within kinds as Darwinists try to make across kinds, but baraminologists deny that all organisms are related by common descent. They say, instead, that similarities are marks of the single Creator of all things (see Walter ReMine’s thesis in The Biotic Message, Resource of the Week for 10/10/2009). The built-in variability in each genome would lead to branching of similar species within kinds up to the genus and family level, and perhaps beyond (after all, taxons are man-made groupings), as the original kinds invaded new ecological niches on a dynamic planet. These branchings would not incorporate new genetic information, but rather express built-in capabilities in new ways and combinations, in some cases with extreme accentuation of existing genetic tools. In this view, all the human racial groups stem from the original human pair and retain their full humanness. The slight differences in skin color and other traits are explained as environmentally-enhanced variations or genetic bottlenecks occurring since the migrations after Babel. Dr. Robert Carter has an interesting DVD on the genetic evidence for human migration in and out of Africa that arguably does a better job of explaining the evidence from a Biblical creationist standpoint than the evolutionist “out of Africa” story; see CMI for video teaser and info on how to order; see also his article on CMI about “Adam, Eve, and Noah vs Modern Genetics.”
You can reject this view if you want to. It’s a free country. You can let the cultural knee-jerk reflex take over: laugh, mock, scorn, ridicule, and write scathing attacks on your blog about how stupid the know-nothing flat-earth Neanderthal-faced less-evolved creationists are. Go right ahead; Darwin’s bulldogs have been doing that since the X-Club, and creationists are pretty used to it. (Duane Gish has been vindicated, you realize.) Such tactics only show one’s lack of ability to discuss evidence rationally with civility. Among the worst of the mockers are some theistic evolutionists and some progressive creationists who choose to be so entranced by the siren song of the deceivers, they have been willing to twist Biblical history to ridiculous extremes – so far as to make Neanderthals and the other Darwinist early-man cartoon characters out to be unsouled, upright-walking animals, equivalent to us in almost every respect, except lacking the image of God. We hope this revelation is a lesson to them. The next time the Darwinists have to backtrack and admit in print that you’ve been snookered, and everything they taught you for 150 years was wrong about Neanderthal Man, or Darwin’s finches, or the human genome, or fill-in-the-blank, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Don’t say St. Peter didn’t warn you, either (read II Peter 3). From now on, the only Neanderthal Man you should pay attention to is the original one, Joachim Neander. He wrote:
Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.
(See Romans 5 and Hebrews 2 for more on that. Express your humanness as it was intended to be. Get back into a relationship with your Maker.)