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Re: Neanderthal and PIE

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Thursday, October 16, 2008, 20:01

On Thu, 16 Oct 2008 21:17:13 +0200, Lars Finsen wrote:

> Den 15. okt. 2008 kl. 18.05 skreiv Jörg Rhiemeier: > > > > Most anthropologists are of the opinion that the Neanderthals > > simply went extinct and did not contribute to the modern human > > gene pool. If they were, as evcidenced by their artifcats, > > qualitatively less creative than our species, unable to invent > > new things or to create and appreciate fine art and music and > > all that, and possessing only a comparatively rudimentary > > language, this alone should have constituted a species barrier. > > No matter whether interbreeding was biologically possible or > > not, hardly any Cro-Magnon human would even have considered > > mating with a Neanderthal! > > I don't quite agree with you on that. After all, another thing that's > typical of modern humans is the great variety in tastes, which is, I > think, linked to the imaginative ability. I wouldn't deny the > possibility that some might have been attracted to the big brutes. In > fact, bigness and brutishness is attractive to some even today. If > there was some way to communicate, there must have been some way for > attraction to develop as well, I think. Even if our ancestors > couldn't communicate any better with them than we can with our pets, > you still have the fact than humans of today do get attracted and > even attached to dumb beasts.
True - tastes vary a lot, and there is hardly a taboo that isn't broken by *someone*. And perhaps there even *wasn't* a taboo. It is, however, pretty certain that no human being living today has Neanderthal ancestors, which probably means that the two species were not interfertile, or produced only sterile offspring like mules.
> And even if the Neanderthals *were* startlingly uncreative and > unappreciative of finer things, I don't think we can be sure that > they were *completely* uncreative and unappreciative. The fact that > artful artifacts were found with them speaks against it. There are > uncreative and unappreciative brutes even today who don't seem to > have any trouble getting laid. Myself I cannot imagine how a > Neanderthal could be much more uncreative and unappreciative than > certain individuals I have met, and still survive in their environment.
You are right. Neanderthals probably *did* have some sort of aesthetic sense. They put flowers on the pits in which they disposed of dead bodies, and be it just to neutralize the stench. The items they made may have been purely functional - but they aren't *ugly*. They had a sense for symmetry and all that. Neanderthals may not have shown the complex symbolic behaviour of _Homo sapiens_, but they probably were above mere brutes.
> And even if all this does not help the Neanderthals into our gene > pools, there's the possibility that they could have helped > themselves. Copulation isn't always voluntary.
Sure. It is not impossible that the two species raped each other. We know such behaviour from our species; we don't know about the other, but cannot exclude it. ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>