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Thursday, May 6, 2010

There is a little bit of Neanderthal in all of us

According to new scientific research,"the first rough draft of the Neanderthals' genome suggests that they interbred with our own species - but only enough to leave a tiny mark on the genetic code of humans from outside Africa."

The information above was found in an article entitled, "Neanderthal DNA lives on ... in some of us",written by Alan Boyle (source:

"The Neanderthals are not totally extinct," said Svante Pääbo, a geneticist at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. "In some of us they live on, a little bit."
When researchers compared the detailed Neanderthal code with that of five modern-day humans from different areas of the world, they found overwhelming similarities. But they also found some scientifically significant differences.

"Genetic sequences from the three non-African modern individuals (from Papua New Guinea, China and France) were statistically more likely to be similar to Neanderthals than the sequences from southern Africa and West Africa. That suggests that some interbreeding took place after early humans spread out from Africa, most likely in the Middle East 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, Pääbo and his colleagues said."

"But they stressed that it wasn't all that much interbreeding. Between 1 and 4 percent of the human genome appears to have come from Neanderthals, statistically speaking."
Neanderthals and the human species are thought to have diverged only 500,000 years ago, which means the two species are close cousins in anthropological terms. In fact, if you compared a particular area of the Neanderthal genome with the corresponding genetic code in a single modern human, there's a chance you'd find more similarities than you'd see between two modern humans."

"What was daily life like for Neanderthals? Early on anthropologists argued that they exclusively hunted the large herd animals of the Ice Ages, such as wooly mammoths or aurochs (giant wild cows). Elaborate hunting rituals, "bear cults" and cannibalism have all been proposed as Neanderthal religious beliefs. Some of these ideas were based (oh so) loosely on the belief systems of modern hunter-gatherers, but much of it was pure ômanlyö fancy. These ideas have been reworked and debunked. Newer models of Neanderthal behavior focus on subsistence (getting food and resources) and settlement patterns. Neanderthals are proposed to have been "foragers" rather than "collectors." (source:

"Debate on the relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals continues with many basic questions unanswered. We have more sophisticated means of evaluating Neanderthal anatomy, and no longer picture our closest human relatives as shuffling, bent-kneed, slack-jawed brutes. Yet scholars still do not agree on how similar Neanderthals were to anatomically modern humans in terms of cognitive ability and behavior. Were Neanderthals capable of symbolic thought? Did they have language, rituals and culture? Were they innovators, or merely imitators of their more quick-brained cousins?"

"Closely related to these questions is how we place Neanderthals in consideration of human origins. Could they have been merely another race in the hugely variable and polytypic species known as Homo sapiens? Or were they an entirely separate species, not capable of interbreeding with our own? And what was the nature of interaction between humans and Neanderthals? We know that in areas such as the Levant they must have lived in relatively close proximity for thousands of years, and it is hard to accept that they did not interact on some level. But was it through love (ie., interbreeding), a mixing of genetic material that is evidenced in the fossil record as “hybrids,”or was it through war, the replacement of one species by another, by violence or competition for resources? One thing certain is that, ultimately, Neanderthals disappeared from the earth, leaving modern humans alone to contemplate their fate."


Here is an interesting video which explores the similarities and differences between
Homo Sapiens (modern humans)  and Neanderthals: source of video:

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.