Thursday, August 31, 2006


There is a little Neanderthal in a lot of us (Telegraph, UK)

The Telegraph (UK): People who have large noses, a stocky build and a beetle brow may indeed be a little Neanderthal, according to a genetic study. But the good news is that other research concludes that Neanderthals were much more like us than previously thought.

People of European descent may be five per cent Neanderthal, according to a study published in the journal PLoS Genetics, which suggests we all have a sprinkling of archaic DNA in our genes.

"Instead of a population that left Africa 100,000 years ago and replaced all other archaic human groups, we propose that this population interacted with another population that had been in Europe for much longer, maybe 400,000 years," says Dr Vincent Plagnol, of the University of Southern California, who with Dr Jeffrey Wall analysed 135 different regions of the human genetic code. [Neandertal]
The open access PLoS Genetics paper mentioned above is "Possible Ancestral Structure in Human Populations".

The Telegraph also refers to "Analysis of Aurignacian interstratification at the Chatelperronian-type site and implications for the behavioral modernity of Neandertals" (Abstract - direct link; blog entry here).

A summary of the Telegraph article also appears here in the Middle East Times (loc. Cairo, Egypt).

Books on Neanderthals from the Science and Evolution Bookshop: UK | US

Books on Human Origins from the Science and Evolution Bookshop: UK | US

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I wonder to what extent we have inherited our social characteristics from earlier races - agression - compassion etc. Is it possible to pass on these kinds of things?
As a rule of thumb, the 'point of origin' of psychological trauma appears to be within the limbic system - or the 'old mammalian brain'.

Consequently psychological trauma (in its true sense - not the popular perception) can be considered to have been part of Man's heritage since 'long before there were words'.

Aggression - and even compassion - can be caused by unrecognized internal reaction with the 'surface' of an acquired psychological history. That is, they are a function of an injury to life rather than of life itself and are passed on in a cultural sense rather than an evolutionary one.

That's just my (brief) opinion - evolutionary psychologists in particular could probably wax lyrical regarding your post!

Thank you for making a comment :)

John Latter / Jorolat
Evolution Research
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