One thing is certain about the New Anthropology, aka Edenism. Views are polarized. Judging by comments, emails and just generally what I’ve seen around the web, almost everyone has either drank the Kool-Aid, or dismisses the Thal interbreeding hypothesis entirely. So, doubters, lets figure out exactly where our differences lie:
In today’s post, we’ll start by considering some extremely basic and unarguable facts:
- Neanderthals existed
- They lived in smaller tribes than homo sapiens, and they had larger brains
- Some modern humans are, genetically at least, up to 4% Neanderthal
These propositions are beyond dispute, and they lead us to some interesting questions:
1) To what extent are Neanderthal phenotypes expressed in modern humans?
Some genes don’t do shit. They just hang out in your double-heli all day, dick in hand. So, it’s entirely plausible that we contain remnants of the Thal genotype, but it doen’t change who we are.
Koanic et al. claim that modern-day Thals are phenotypically differentiated. He claims that Thals are more introverted, more trusting, more loyal, more intelligent, and more creative, i.e. exactly what you would expect from a sub-species with larger brains and smaller tribes.
2) Are modern-day Neanderthals physically recognizable?
Koanic claims that there is a distinctive Thal face and skull.
Is he right? This is a question that can only be answered definitively with proper study correlating various personality traits with facial characteristics. Since none appear to be forthcoming, we are left with anecdotes and personal observation.
Here’s an exercise you can try: Spend an hour clicking through your friends’ pictures on Facebook. Do you notice a trend? Are your friends with Neanderthal faces also the ones with Neanderthal personalities?
You can also start looking for the Thal phenotype in the wild. When you meet someone new, make a snap judgement about what sort of person they are based on their face and skull. How often do your predictions turn out correct?
I recommend you do this on your own, but for what it’s worth: I definitely see the trend. My smart, introverted friends tend to have Thal-ish faces, and the two acquaintances of mine who display the most prominent Thal physical features are both extremely intelligent and kind, but with mild social dysfunction. In my profession, I meet a lot of data-monkeys, software geeks and engineers. Most of them have the Thal skull. I recently spent a month in Basque country, home to the population with the highest percentage of Thal DNA in the world. Most Basque look very Thallish to me.
3) What’s it like to be a Neanderthal in a Sapien world?
If Koanic is right, millions of men and women are walking around with brains that have evolved, at least partially, to interact in an entirely different social environment, with entirely different co-actors, than what they now experience. The result is pain, suffering, dysfunction, and a default life condition of failure and depression, for a very smart and sensitive sub-group of the population.
So those are the core three questions that The New Anthropology seeks to answer:
To what extent are we Neanderthals?
How does our Neanderthal DNA affect us?
How can modern hybrids cope in a sapien-run world?
Any curious person should find this stuff interesting. If you’re a ‘spergy introvert who has often struggled to cope in a world full of extroverts, then you should find this stuff exceptionally interesting. If you are a myopic simpleton, you will dismiss all of this out of hand, because it’s “crazy,” i.e. new and different.
But surely if you’re going to do that, you’ll at least walk us through your thought process in the comments below, yeah?