Neanderthal Sex ‘Boosted Health of Human Race’ by Improving Our Immune Systems Against Disease

Stephanie Darrall, Daily Mail (London), August 26, 2011

Virus-fighting genes inherited from different ancient human sub-species have had a positive effect on our fitness, according to U.S. researchers .

Cross- breeding between ancestors of modern humans and their extinct close relatives passed down specific genes which can still be found in our DNA.

Improvements in the Homo sapiens’ immune system may also have been inherited from the Denisovans–a now-vanished human sub-species from eastern Asia.

Scientists discovered last year that ancient intimate relations meant as much as 4 per cent of the DNA of some people living today was Neanderthal.

A similar genetic study showed that up to six per cent of the modern human genome, or genetic code, was Denisovan in origin.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Parham, from Stanford University, California.said cross-breeding contributed to our gene pool.

He said: ‘The cross-breeding wasn’t just a random event that happened, it gave something useful to the gene pool of the modern human,’

Neanderthals, who lived in western Asia and Europe, co-existed with early modern humans for several thousand years before dying out around 30,000 years ago.

Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans split into different populations from a common African ancestor around 400,000 years ago

The research, published today in the journal Science, focused on immune system elements called HLA genes.

They are critical to the body’s ability to identify and destroy harmful foreign invaders and are among the most variable and adaptable of human genes.

Being flexible helps them stay ahead in the arms race with rapidly evolving viruses.

By comparing the HLA genes of modern and extinct humans, the scientists were able to show that certain HLA carried by people today were inherited from Neanderthals and Denisovans.

The ancient genes were analysed by looking at DNA extracted from fossil bones.

Within one class of HLA gene, the experts estimate that Europeans owe half their variants to interbreeding with Neanderthals and Denisovans, Asians 80 per cent, and people from Papua New Guinea up to 95 per cent.

The same pattern of inheritance was not seen in other regions of the human genome.

Researcher Dr Laurent Abi-Rached said: ‘The HLA system is unique in its diversity and the strength of natural selection acting on it.

‘But it’s possible that other gene systems, particularly the ones under similar pressure for variation, could show a similar pattern.’

[Editor’s Note: According to this research, only non-Africans are part Neanderthal.]

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  • Blaak Obongo

    Although it’s true that only non-African people have Neanderthal genes, what this article is really trying to imply is that miscegenation is good for you.

    Just another propaganda piece.

  • John Engelman

    The reason I am mildly skeptical of this is that most human diseases only date back to the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Before then there were few humans, and they were dispersed, so it was difficult for pathenogens to spread and evolve.

    Most Neanderthal genes would have been useless or harmful. Neanderthal people were clearly less intelligent than modern humans. Their superior strength required more calories and protein to maintain, and made them more vulnerable to starvation. On the other hand, genes that helped them survive in cold climates were obviously useful.

  • Anonymous

    “Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans split into different populations from a common African ancestor around 400,000 years ago” how did they come up with this statement? This is an example of what is taught in schools, myths taught as facts. For these people they are still going with the out of Africa theory when conflicting theories and evidence now state otherwise.

  • Anonymous

    Neanderthals were around for a few hundred thousand years, far longer than modern humans. They must have had some good genes to last that long.

  • Anonymous

    poster 1 – miscegenation, propaganda……. really?

    Humans have interbreed for literally thousands of years!!!! hence the genetic research and findings.

    What I really wanted to comment on was that is was just several months ago that it was main ideology that humans were completely different species and that there was no breeding. I have always known as anyone with common sense that anyone with european ancestry most likely had/has neanderthal ancestry.

    The future will bring great break through in our history and genetics, But as important as this was to mainstream media. We already know the outcome, Paris Hilton is more important. We have the Death rattle and Marxism to thank.

  • Anonymous

    It is completely untrue that Whites are related to the Neanderthals. To suggest that because we have common DNA necessarily means that we inter-bred with them is absurd.

    We share over 90% of our DNA with earthworms–does that mean in our distant past we inter-bred with them too?

    And simply because Neanderthals at one time inhabited regions of Europe that eventually the White man would doesn’t mean that we are genetically related, nor does it mean we inter-bred with them.

  • SI

    “Well established is that modern Africans have greater genetic diversity, overall, than the modern populations of other continents,” Parham said. “This greater diversity is likely due to what was inherited from earlier forms of Homo, combined with interbreeding between different forms of Homo.”

    http://goo.gl/V6ses

  • Anonymous

    Pieces like this, while vague, go to show the marked cognitive dissonance and scientific illiteracy many people- from the public to journalists to scientists- have about natural selection. As the article implies, HLA genes are remarkably variable, and in the non-africans sampled, papuans have a far greater frequency of this “beneficial” gene than europeans.

    On the other hand, it’s been known for quite sometime that native americans have the lowest HLA diversity of all modern humans, owing to their past 10,000+ years of isolation on continents that have never seen hominids and lack of exposure to domesticated animals, which is the source of many diseases that humans have suffered.

    And yet, native americans undoubtedly carry ancestry from neanderthals and denisovans, and they lost a dramatic level of HLA diversity in a time frame far less than when humans first bred with neanderthals and denisovans.

    In spite of that, tens of millions of people with predominant or pure native american ancestry exist across the americas, along with hundreds of millions of people with less than that.

    What this goes to show you is that a) HLA genes from tens of thousands of years ago don’t really matter at all in the long run and b) science journalists wouldn’t dare stretch this to, say, native americans and mestizos. As long as it happened millenia ago, it’s alright to talk about it, even if that kind of scenario has just as much relevance then as it does now.

  • Anonymous

    5 — Anonymous wrote at 2:28 AM on August 27:

    poster 1 – miscegenation, propaganda……. really?

    “Humans have interbreed for literally thousands of years!!!! hence the genetic research and findings.”

    > Yes, but in a much smaller and much slower way which genetic researcher call “genetic drift.” It occurred slowly and did NOT affect everyone directly, as mass miscegenation is doing today.

    “What I really wanted to comment on was that is was just several months ago that it was main ideology that humans were completely different species and that there was no breeding. I have always known as anyone with common sense that anyone with european ancestry most likely had/has neanderthal ancestry.”

    > Yes, and when you consider how long ago and how long populations had in isolation to allow for the best aspects of that blend to evolve, it can be seen as having been a period of natural evolutionary development, NOT the unnatural, forced, and counter evolutionary manner of the present.

    “The future will bring great break through in our history and genetics, But as important as this was to mainstream media. We already know the outcome, Paris Hilton is more important. We have the Death rattle and Marxism to thank.”

    > Can’t imagine why Paris Hilton turns out to be the most important cause of our doom. I’d say that things like professional sports have had a greater and much longer time to have the effect you describe. My problem with Paris Hilton is that she is an indication of how much the elites of America have changed from being typically well-educated, well mannered, and concerned with meaningful public work, to the example of a well monied, narcissistic, tramp.

  • Anonymous

    2 — John Engelman wrote at 6:47 PM on August 26:

    “The reason I am mildly skeptical of this is that most human diseases only date back to the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Before then there were few humans, and they were dispersed, so it was difficult for pathenogens to spread and evolve.”

    I think you have made some incorrect conclusions here. People did not live long enough for diseases to manifest, so the data for disease presence in that period is limited. As soon as farming communities became established, people survived longer and so diseases, such as the kind insects and such might cause had time to kill. Also, those living in temperate zones always have better protection from those problems than those living in semi- or full tropical zones.

    “Most Neanderthal genes would have been useless or harmful. Neanderthal people were clearly less intelligent than modern humans. Their superior strength required more calories and protein to maintain, and made them more vulnerable to starvation. On the other hand, genes that helped them survive in cold climates were obviously useful.”

    Not according to the latest findings and opinions. Some of this has been presented right here at Amren. Evidence that Neanderthals were intelligent and may have helped jump homo-sapiens ahead of the non-exposed homo-sapiens in Africa is what is clear now. This combines with some physical attributes such as bone density and strength (recall the discussions a month or so ago and the fact that Scandinavians and Slavs are typically the strongest in the world).

    Neanderthal is one of those words where a learned bias has been imprinted by colloquialism. The image of a hulking, dumb as a cow, knuckle dragging brute is replaced by the new knowledge of an artistic, intelligent, even musically gifted species. It turns out that these attributes may have made all the difference.

  • Anonymous

    6 — Anonymous wrote at 6:47 AM on August 27:

    “It is completely untrue that Whites are related to the Neanderthals. To suggest that because we have common DNA necessarily means that we inter-bred with them is absurd.”

    – Actually, the genetic indications when analyzed, do prove it. The idea that two groups lived in close proximity and did not interbreed is what is absurd.

    “We share over 90% of our DNA with earthworms—does that mean in our distant past we inter-bred with them too?”

    – When we only existed as earth worms, yes.

    “And simply because Neanderthals at one time inhabited regions of Europe that eventually the White man would doesn’t mean that we are genetically related, nor does it mean we inter-bred with them.”

    – Again, it does and it is being proven. Also, common sense and the application Occam’s Razor would make it more likely than not. It also seems that blond hair, white skin, and blue eyes were common to Neanderthals and Denisovans, who are blamed for the occasional appearance of blond hair in Pap New Guinea natives.

    You obviously don’t have an education in science or logic. Don’t get made, get educated and throw of the incorrect, colloquial meaning of Neanderthals as knuckle dragging brutes.

    I would also like to point out in this post the history affecting events of genetics as concerned with smallpox. Remember that entire tribes of New World Indians were wiped out by smallpox when the first white men arrived. That means that almost no Indians had any genetic resistance. Smallpox originated in Africa and later a second and more virulent type in Asia. In Europe small outbreaks occurred before the Crusades, but increased as a result of the increased movement of peoples. 30% of Europeans died from it, whereas 80-90% of Indians died of it in the New World. This is considered a main factor in the Spanish conquests in Mexico and Peru and all points north. What this indicates genetically is interesting.

  • Anonymous

    “I would also like to point out in this post the history affecting events of genetics as concerned with smallpox. Remember that entire tribes of New World Indians were wiped out by smallpox when the first white men arrived. That means that almost no Indians had any genetic resistance. Smallpox originated in Africa and later a second and more virulent type in Asia. In Europe small outbreaks occurred before the Crusades, but increased as a result of the increased movement of peoples. 30% of Europeans died from it, whereas 80-90% of Indians died of it in the New World. This is considered a main factor in the Spanish conquests in Mexico and Peru and all points north. What this indicates genetically is interesting.”

    This is misleading because many natives died of famine, drought, overcrowding and other social upheaval, especially the sort that comes with being exposed to disease that has never previously existed.

  • Peejay in Frisco

    Non African humans interbred with the Neanderthals, but African Homo Sapiens, I believe, interbred with humans that were much more ancient than Homo Sapiens, or Homo Erectus. And none of this interbreeding will ever be accurately verified. That may explain their “unique” behavior.

  • ghw

    “What this article is really trying to imply is that miscegenation is good for you.”

    – Black Obongo

    ………………..

    Yes, reading through the lines, I picked up the same subtle propaganda message: that cross-breeding is a good thing. It wil make you healthier.

    Or, put in other terms, “Diversity makes us stronger.”

    Seems we’ve heard that before. Isn’t is amazing how everything is made to fit within the currently faddish Marxist matrix?

  • Irving C.

    “The reason I am mildly skeptical of this is that most human diseases only date back to the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Before then there were few humans, and they were dispersed, so it was difficult for pathenogens to spread and evolve.”

    – Pathogens existed long before humans hit the scene, and continued to (and still do) evolve to be a burden to everything on earth. Its true that high densities of people enhance the spread of many pathogens, but there is evidence of viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases in even the earliest human findings.

    “Most Neanderthal genes would have been useless or harmful.”

    -If so, they wouldn’t have lasted as long as they did. Modern humans would have to live hundreds of thousands of years beyond the present to have lasted as long as Neanderthals. The disasterous way things seem to be going for modern humans, I’m not making any bets on which group lasts longer.

  • Anonymous

    Who believe anything ‘researchers’ say? In our time we’ve witnessed the death of reason.

  • Lauren

    It’s funny how smugly we were told, only a decade back, that there was no interbreeding between Humans and Neanderthals. With that in mind, I expect to soon hear that some Humans have far more than four percent Neanderthal DNA (Assuming Whites are not extincted before such research can be published. It’s interesting to live in a time when there is a race between the unlocking of the mysteries of life, and the extermination of those who would unlock those mysteries…as well as extinction those who care to learn about those mysteries.)

    I agree that the ‘higher purpose’ of this article is to ‘show us’ that miscegenation is good for us. I don’t know a fig about human genetics. But in my research into Rose Breeding (trying to find Roses which would thrive in our horrendous heat) has taught me a lot about the viability of hybrids…and hybrid lineages.

    Virtually all hybrid Roses, and their descendants, are dead ends: confused, inept, less-than-viable, wretched, stunted things, requiring intervention for their survival and propagation (Remind you of anyone?).

    Roses and Humans have a great deal in common. They seem to be found everywhere we are (They are NOT native, however, to Sub-Saharan Africa…which may clue you in on whom I consider as ‘we’). And there has traditionally been debate over whether Rosa is one big species, or whether the subspecies/species are truly distinct.

    My (wild species) Rosa Laevigata is astonishingly vigorous. It’s a monster in my garden, and wild members of the species festoon trees along wooded roadsides in our town. However, its child, Rosa x Fortuniana, a simple hybrid with the vigorous Rosa Banksiae, is less vigorous than either august parent. Fortuniana cascades nicely from a clump of smallish Bamboo in my garden. And it is one of the ‘keepers’, amid millions of hybrids unworthy of growing. It’s that lucky one-in-a-million. Plant its seeds, though, and you are unlikely to get anything viable.

    The truth is, that after thousands of years of Rose Breeding, the results of the breeders’ efforts have produced only a handful of roses which can take care of themselves. And even those are incapable of replicating themselves through seed.

    What I am trying to say is that Modern (non-Sub-Saharan) Humans are the result of many millennia of culling, by various forces, of the weak, the dead-ends, the goofs….following the hybridization between subspecies. Things were sorted-out rather nicely.

    I don’t think we need to spend another thirty five thousand years, sorting out new classes of hybrids.

  • Spirit Wolf

    Frankly, I’ve suspected this for a long time, due to a peculiar skull morphology that runs in my predominately Anglo-Saxon ancestry; it seems to have skipped a generation, but my grandad had it, I have it, and so do two of my three kids. Our skulls do look rather Neanderthalish, noticeable really, only when as a bald infant. It does make it hard to find a nice hat that fits, though.

    As for the poster who said Neanderthals were “stupid”, well, they did have a larger average cranial capacity than Cro-Magnon man, so the brain mass-body weight ratio probably equalled out between the two. The worst criticism I ever saw about Neanderthals – from texts from 30 years ago – was that their tools weren’t very diverse in style – an axe always looked the same as any other axe – nor did they evolve different types or styles very quickly. I also vaguely recall seeing an article where a psychologist figured that they might have been a very single-minded people – that they would have gotten very absorbed in whatever task they were into, to the exclusion of all else around them (and I will be the first to admit, I’m really horrible for that trait, myself).

    What it simply means is those of us of European stock are different from Africans and Asians, and they are different from each other. Consider the “red wolf” (Canis lupus rufus). Last I understood, it’s a self-perpetuating wolf-coyote hybrid species – ie, the hybrid babies like each other better than their parental stocks. One might say that “Hispanics” and Metis are the same sort of creature.

    If we were more honest about ourselves, we would see that there is such a thing as human biological/evolutionary diversity. It’s a great thing, but it doesn’t mean we need to mix and match with each other – in fact, that’s what kills diversity. Let red wolves, Hispanics and Metis breed only with their ancestral stocks, then those groups would disappear. That would be a bad thing, wouldn’t it?

  • John Engelman

    Neanderthals had larger brains than Cro Magnons, or contemporary humans, but their brains were shaped differently. The parts that were larger were parts that determined reflexes and coordination. The part that was smaller determined conscious thought.

    Cro Magnons, and all races of contemporary humans, practiced salmon fishing. This requires one to know that every year during a particular time lots and lots of salmon will be swimming up a stream or river. Neanderthals did not practice salmon fishing, indicating that they did not have the ability to plan for the future.

    The best kind of stone for stone weapons is flint. Nevertheless, flint can only be found in some areas. Cro Magnons – and American Indians, for that matter – nearly always used flint. This indicates that they practiced trade. Neanderthals used flint if it was available in the area. Otherwise they used stones that were available. This indicates that they did not practice trade.

    Neanderthals had a restricted stone tool kid. They only seemed to have been able to hunt large, slow moving animals. Cro Magnons had many more uses for stone. They could hunt smaller, faster animals. They may have even been able to practice proto farming by helping the growth of plants that they could eat.

    For all of these reasons Neanderthals are considered to be less intelligent than Cro Magnons.

    As far as miscegenation is concerned, the first generation result of a Neanderthal – Cro Magnon union would have been less intelligent than the Cro Magnons the child may have lived with. Most probably died off. As generations passed for the survivors, the Neanderthal ancestry would have become dilute. Individuals with beneficial Neanderthal genes would have had a survival advantage over Cro Magnons without the genes.

    There are advantages to cross breeding. Anyone who has known many dogs has probably noticed that mongrels usually have better personalities than pure bred dogs.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Virtually all hybrid Roses, and their descendants, are dead ends: confused, inept, less-than-viable, wretched, stunted things, requiring intervention for their survival and propagation (Remind you of anyone?).

    Lauren, I truly enjoyed reading your post. And what you wrote is 100% true. Those beautiful hybrid roses presented in the magazines and advertisements rarely live up to their promises. The non-hybrid, wild rose roots which the hybrid is grated onto inevitably put out stronger, more vigorous branches than the hybrid.

    I have spent the past year pulling my high-maintenance, yet very disappointing roses out and replacing them with better suited, non-hybrid species. The results have been astonishing — single roses that hold up better in SoCal’s heat and dry Santa Ana winds and flower profusely almost all year long.

    And this:

    What this article is really trying to imply is that miscegenation is good for you.

    – Black Obongo

    Yes, reading through the lines, I picked up the same subtle propaganda message: that cross-breeding is a good thing. It wil make you healthier.

    –ghw

    I picked up the message about miscegenation from the title of the article!!

    Bon

  • Logic

    Comment 6’s 1st part is, I guess untrue, though any more I’m not sure.

    But his second paragraph

    “We share over 90% of our DNA with earthworms—does that mean in our distant past we inter-bred with them too?”

    is absolutely brilliant. It is incisive, it follows logical principles, it is not convoluted. It is way beyond what most people think of and are bold enough to ask. If our race survives, this kind of ability and integrity and boldness to think and question according to such logical templates will have played a major role in our survival. It also plays a major role in the best developments in our sciences.

    Comment 11 puts a wet blanket on such thinking.

    6 and 11 made me think and made me come up with the underlying truth. If two species share some genes, it means that they had a common ancestor. And nothing further can be concluded solely from sharing some genes. Although other facts and evidence and argumentation may add more conclusions.

    Actually, not even this statement is precise enough. If two individuals (from the same or different time periods, from the same or different any kind of groupings) share common genes, it means that there was a single collection of individuals that was somewhere in both of the individual’s ancestors trees.

    Actually, not even this is totally logically valid. Different genes in the ancestors could have drifted into the same current form. But if we add the statement, that it is exceedingly unlikely in the case under consideration that such drift occurred, then we can conclude that therefore, there is a single collection of individuals that is in both of the ancestor trees of the two individuals.

    Official science should be more precise and logical, and yet it is not. Should it not be roundly criticized for such sloppiness and absence of careful statement and logic? Of course only those who have an inner sense of logic, and who have the integrity and boldness to speak up, will argue for such.

  • Anonymous

    Highly suggest that anyone interested in this subject read Henry Harpending’s book “The 10,000 Year Explosion.” A relatively easy read even for laymen.

    “To suggest that because we have common DNA necessarily means that we inter-bred with them is absurd.”

    If H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis were living in close quarters for *any* length of time – and they were, for several thousand years – then they DID interbreed, many, many times. The interbreeding does not have to have been voluntary on the part of the woman, regardless of which species she belonged to. Humans have mated with sheep, with chickens, with dogs, and even with dolphins (always unsuccessfully, thank God).

    Or it could have been voluntary. They looked different, but not THAT different. Besides, look at some of the people who manage to find spouses today, and humans who mated back then were never on the hook for child support. Either way, it is likely they produced fertile offspring. Their ancestors had only separated ~700,000 prior. Most mammalian species that closely related can generally still produce fertile offspring (lions with tigers, etc.)

    But what’s interesting is how this news affects the view of the evolution of race. The old belief was that non-Africans and Africans only split off 50-70 thousand years ago, an alleged eyeblink in evolutionary terms, and only about 1% of the time since the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. First, it’s not really an eyeblink. 50,000 years is at least 2,000 generations, and that’s evolutionarily significant. But if early Eurasian humans interbred with Denisovans and Neanderthals then it effectively means that the races have been evolving separately for about 10 times longer, or 10% of the time since the last human/chimp common ancestor. That really puts the race deniers on the defensive.

  • Logic

    In response to 22 anonymous, and related to my 21.

    Highly suggest that official science for any of the evolutionarily related sciences read Gottlob Frege’s “The Basic Laws of Arithmetic” (“Grundgesetze der Arithmetik”) . A totally impossible read for any such scientists.

    The recommendation is only for in a perfect world. Much of the book is impossible to read even for specialists. But the key point is the book’s precision and explicitness of deduction. And that sort of thing is totally lacking in the evolutionary sciences (well, there are a very few exceptions, for instance, apparently Philippe Rushton’s genetic similarity theory, though …).

    Anonymous 22 is starting to fill in some of the issues I brought up in 21, but even that filling in is not explicit. And that is ok, because no one in the current audience would follow it anyway (except maybe 6, though only maybe after effort).

    The last paragraph of 22 needs a pencil and paper to write down the numbers and to think through some of the time diagrams. Which I probably wont do because it might require more questions and that would require some interactive commitment of time and effort.

    Re-writing the last paragraph in a more easily readable form would only make sense for an audience different from the current one. I guess. Or maybe not. I don’t know.

  • Anonymous

    “Again, it does and it is being proven. Also, common sense and the application Occam’s Razor would make it more likely than not. It also seems that blond hair, white skin, and blue eyes were common to Neanderthals and Denisovans, who are blamed for the occasional appearance of blond hair in Pap New Guinea natives.”

    Some Austrlian Aborigine children have blond hair which gradually darkens during childhood. This is a common White trait.

  • Logic

    PS I read Cochran and Harpending’s “The 10,000 year explosion”, a number of months ago. Took it out of the library, then bought it so I could re-read sections. Even then the thought went through my mind that this is not at all tight science. It is very good, but it is not tight. With certain qualifiers, which the science has apparently not figured out how to say, it would be tight.

  • Charles Martel

    I wrote #22 but forgot to attach my handle.

    “Even then the thought went through my mind that this is not at all tight science.”

    Correct. “The 10,000 Year Explosion” was not “tight science.” I think the authors made it pretty clear that a lot of their ideas were conjecture, based on what likely happened. They made quite clear that interbreeding between H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens was *probable* and not yet proven. (In fact studies came out within months of their book’s publication validating their hypothesis – assuming the studies are correct.)

    As for a simpler timeline (~ means “approximately):

    ~7,000,000 years ago: separation of human ancestors and chimpanzee ancestors.

    ~700,000 years ago: Neanderthals first settle Europe.

    ~50,000-70,000 years ago: early modern man leaves Africa to settle Europe, Asia, etc.

    If the humans who left Africa ~50,000 years ago *could not* produce fertile offspring with Neanderthals, then separate races have only been evoloving for ~50 thousand years. If breeding between the two *could* produce fertile offspring then they did breed, and the races have effectively been evolving separately for much, much longer.

    Human genealogy gets very, very messy. I think modern humans were encountering Denisovans and Neanderthals frequently all over the world, and there were probably hundreds or even thousands of cases of interbreeding that introduced their DNA into the human genome.

  • Charles Martel

    “Some Austrlian Aborigine children have blond hair which gradually darkens during childhood. This is a common White trait.”

    The gene which causes childhood blondeness in Australian aboriginals is different form the gene causing blondeness in Europeans. The term is “convergent evolution,” where a different gene (genotyope) creates a similar result (phenotype). Many Caucasians and some Africans retain lactose tolerance into adulthood, but the gene causing it for Africans (A-22018) is different from the gene causing it in Caucasians (T-13910).

  • Logic

    Thank you, Anonymous, for your many answers and explanations, all helpful. (As an aside, I found the material on blue eyes and blond hair slightly mind-boggling and humorous – I guess because I emotionally react to blond hair in others as an extremely positive component of appearance – and blue eyes are not bad either – and no, I do not have blond hair – but it must be somewhat genetic in me that blond hair triggers that – but juxtaposing it with Neanderthals is maybe what made it humorous.)

    Thank you also to Anonymous 6 “We share over 90% of our DNA with earthworms—does that mean in our distant past we inter-bred with them too?” Applications of this sort of “logical template” gets the mental juices flowing, and sometimes constitute important advances in science and elsewhere. They bring up genuine logical issues.

  • John Engelman

    Blue eyes are most common in northern Europe, centered around the Baltic. The simplest assumption is that the allele originated in the center of the region, where it frequency is very high today, so our best guess is that if first occurred in a Lithuanian village about 6,000 years ago.

    – Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, from “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution,” pages 150 – 151.

    http://www.amren.com/ar/2009/05/index.html