Once again science informs us that we are part caveman, specifically Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis. That’s the scientific name for Neanderthal man, our genetic cousins with whom we shared the planet until they all bit the dust around 25 or 30,000 years ago. These people roamed the Earth for about half a million years, a heck of a lot longer than we’ve been around. They were very much like us, a bit shorter perhaps, but much thicker and stronger, and by most accounts, uglier. But then again, how ugly could they have been if their DNA shows up in our own genetic code?

As even the most unscientific human knows, the only way that can happen is by doing the horizontal hula with one another, and given the fact that Neanderthal DNA makes up 3 to 4% of our own DNA, well, that’s a lot of fraternization, especially when you consider that the human genome shares 75% of our genes with nematodes (worms), and is 98% identical to chimpanzees. While anyone desperate enough to have sex with a worm or a chimp wouldn’t produce any offspring, apparently modern Homo Sapiens (Us) and Neanderthals (Them) could and did breed. A lot. Must have been their red hair, always an intriguing enticement.

So call Them Humans 1.0, and Us Humans 2.0, the result of whoever we were before we started screwing cave men and women and who we became after getting so busy. The fact that the pure Neanderthals are all gone doesn’t mean that there are no traces of them remaining. They left us their fossil record, their tools… and their DNA flowing through our veins. This sort of puts the label we have given ourselves, Modern Man, into serious doubt, and leads one to wonder who initiated all this inter-species sex, Them or Us.

Since they are no longer around to speak (or grunt) for themselves, we can look at our own sexual behavior for answers. Humans 2.0 (Us) now number almost 7 billion on this planet after only around 200,000 years, quite the crowd, and our sex drive seems to know no bounds. Just Google porn sites and scientific sites and see which outnumber which and which get more hits. When we get older, we seek more medicines and surgical procedures to enable us to keep having sex than we do to keep us alive. Sex wins every time, so you have to figure is was Us doing the flirting, and Them doing the succumbing to our charms, or weapons, as the case may be.

And knowing all this, a lot of our peculiar behavior can be traced to these romantic trysts with Neanderthals. Take the Bible, for example, with Genesis and Exodus being how-to books on conquering new territory and hunting grounds (Slay them down to the last man, woman and child!). Brutality and aggression are mankind’s calling cards, continuing relentlessly as we speak. When you wonder why all the Neanderthals died out, this trait of Modern Man cannot be ignored. Maybe the Neanderthals got tired of us and decided that no means no, and we decided that if we can’t screw them, then screw them, and proceeded to slay them down to the last man, woman and child.

Then again, for all we know (not nearly as much as we pretend to), the aggression and brutality may be all ours, and our Neanderthal DNA is what gives us whatever civility and kindness we do possess. After all, they had their chance to kill us all off when they were the established majority and we were the new kids on the block, but they didn’t do that, adopting instead a live-and-let-live attitude towards their punier cousins. No doubt we learned a lot from them, like how to make fire, weapons and tools, and most importantly how to avoid being on the dinner menu for the Buick-sized predators that roamed the Earth back then.

The world was far less populous then, with plenty of room and wild animals to eat for everyone. Apparently we didn’t see it that way, like lions who kill any rival predator in their territory no matter how plentiful the game, and that was the end of the line for our redheaded predecessors. Or so we thought. Now we learn that Cavemen R Us, and that Neanderthals live on in each and every modern human being. Sort of makes you want to paint a cave wall or slay a giant bison or something. Here’s grunting at you, kid.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top