I’m Neandertal, I’m proud, I’m a victim and I want reparations

Glenn K. Beaton

 I always loved Neandertals, and now I know why. I’m one of them.

Neandertals were of course the people who evolved in Eurasia from several groups of hominids that migrated out of Africa beginning around two million years ago. They’re named after the place their bones were first found, the Neander Valley in present Germany.

Compared to modern humans, Neandertals were stockier with heavier facial features. Primitive anthropologists early in the last century stereotyped them as primitive cavemen.

But later research revealed that they used fire, made tools, navigated boats, created art, practiced religion and ceremonially buried their dead. They could speak as well as we can. They were typically fair-skinned with reddish hair.

Dressed appropriately, a Neandertal could pass for a modern person, albeit one with coarse features.

Most intriguing, their brains on average were a little bigger than modern brains.

That should be no surprise. Stupid people are not able to find, kill and butcher a wild six-ton elephant-like animal with eight-foot tusks and a quarter-inch hide, transport it back to their home, cook it, and make tools and jewelry out of the bones and tusks. Could you and your tribe do that?

Fast forward a few hundred thousand years. Long after the migrations of Neandertal’s ancestors, another large migration occurred from Africa to Eurasia. This time it was modern humans. It’s often said that those modern humans are our common ancestors.

That’s true, but misleading. All of us are indeed descended from those modern humans in the sense that all of us have at least one ancestor among them. But most of us are also descended from the pre-existing people in Eurasia – the Neandertals.

Think about it and do the math. You have two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents and so on. If you go back just ten generations – roughly 300 years – you have a number of great great great great great great great great grandparents that equals 2 raised to the 9th power. That’s 512.

Now 100,000 years is at least 3,000 generations. Your number of great great great etc grandparents from 100,000 years ago is equal to 2 raised to the 2,999 power. That’s an incomprehensibly large number – we’re in the realm of grains of sand on the beach or stars in the Milky Way.

In actuality, the number is not nearly that big, because there are many duplications. There was a lot of inbreeding among distantly related ancestors. (Sorry)

But still, the point is that a large proportion of the total human population were your and my direct ancestors a couple of hundred thousand years ago. Some but not all of those ancestors were those modern humans who most recently migrated out of Africa to Eurasia. Others, however, were the Neandertals who were already in Eurasia after having evolved there from ancient hominids that left Africa a million years earlier.

Anthropologist debated this for a long time. In their cloistered ivory towers, most were sure that migrating modern man did not breed with Neandertals they encountered in Eurasia. Clever modern man simply killed the brutes, was the thinking. Who would want to make love to a stinky stupid Neandertal with red hair?

I knew all along that the anthropologists were wrong. Animals will breed with anything that can’t outrun them. I once saw a dog try to breed with an ottoman. Men are just as bad. They’ll try to breed with farm animals, vegetables and home appliances.

Geneticists recently proved I was right. Modern humans outside Africa have about 2% Neandertal genes.

(Native Africans have a much smaller percentage of Neandertal genes, and even that small percentage might be due to recent rather than ancient back-migration of modern Europeans and Asians to Africa. There’s no fossil evidence that Neandertals were ever in Africa.)

In view of this genetic research, Neandertals did not really “go extinct.” Some were certainly killed by migrating modern humans, and vice versa. That’s what humans do. But large numbers of Neandertals were simply bred into the hordes of incoming modern humans.

So, I’m about 2% Neandertal. And proud of it.

The figure of 2% doesn’t sound like much, but it’s about as much of the genetic makeup that I have from a direct ancestor of five generations ago, or about 200 years ago. Stated another way, I have about as much Neandertal in me as if my great, great, great grandfather had been 100% pureblood Neandertal. In fact, I’m way more Neandertal than Liz Warren is Cherokee.

So Neandertals live on.

But modern man is not off the hook for a genocide of them. Modern man did breed with them, but also killed and ate them.

Modern man got into Neandertals’ jeans and stole their genes, and have been wearing both ever since.

It’s time for this wrong be righted. It’s time for payback. It’s time for reparations.

What’s that you say? You say all this happened a long time ago and the statute of limitations has expired? And, besides, it wasn’t you who committed the wrong and it wasn’t me against whom the wrong was committed?

I don’t care. I’m a victim. Because I want money. And an apology too, but mostly the money.

So cough it up. It might make you feel good about yourself, and I know it will make me feel good about myself. Gimme that Rolex too.

Post comments below. Subscribe and correspond at theAspenbeat@gmail.com.

26 thoughts on “I’m Neandertal, I’m proud, I’m a victim and I want reparations

  1. Neanderthals disappeared into the Iberian peninsula. My guess has been that Portuguese, hence Brazilians are holdovers. They are beautifully different!

  2. From one victim to another, are you coming clean, Glenn?

    “… Modern man did breed with them, but also killed and ate them.”

    Am I to understand that there will be no side dishes?
    Eric Cartman

  3. How about “mixed” breeds? Where a person is both A and B…where A has to pay B reparations. Can person AB just pay themself? Or what if the person is 10% A and 20% B. Do the math? Hahahaha.

  4. What you say about the interbreeding of Neanderthals with Cro-Magnon and modern humans is true – but only for persons of European descent. It’s not true for persons who are purely of African descent, and only intermittently true for persons of Asian descent.

    Being a person of pallor myself, and one whose genes (according to “23 and Me”) have a significant dollop of Neanderthal, what I want is my endowed chair at Harvard. Hey, it worked for Elizabeth Warren, so why not me? And unlike her, I’ve got the genes to prove it!

  5. There once was a gal from Neander
    Who decided one day to meander.
    To her great surprise
    She met a guy in Levi’s,
    And now her jeans are much grander.

  6. I, like you have red hair. I’m tired of coworkers calling me red. I was a minority everywhere I worked. I’ve tried to file for compensation, but they just laugh. I’m a blond trapped in a red heads body. Please help….or not..lo.

  7. Brilliant and also informative. Neandertals did have bigger brains primarily the frontal lobe that could have resulted in some interesting abilities. They were along with the Denisovans and the “Ghost Species” all hominids and all completely different species of Human. Reparations are certainly justified.

  8. Dr Beaton, I hate to improve on perfection, but you missed a key step. Two of your Neanderthal ancestors illegally migrated across a river in search of a better life for their descendents, aka you. You just need to vote for your free stuff.

      • What I would find to be a lot more disturbing for you, Glenn, is your political alliance with religious zealots who really believe that the world was created some 6,000 years ago by a “Supreme Being” with Planet Earth at the center of the universe.

        I appreciate that “guilt by association” smear in a society politically dominated by extremists, the left-wing variety of which call me a fascist and a white racist while the right-wing variety calls me various forms of ignorant and anti-American. On balance, I feel comfortable not being a lackey of the leaders of either cult.

  9. FWIW, I have never felt comfortable with the “Out of Africa” thesis of sole human origin. From simians I can see, especially tailless, hairless, tree-dwelling ones. From African creatures only, that sounds to me like saying coal has one geographic point of origin.

    I know not what the facts are, but certain epistemological sensitivities and experiences I carry around incline me to know when some assertion is not true or not fully true, or to suspect as much regarding it. “Out of Africa” as sole human point of origin is, for me, one or both of those possibilities.

    I have found truth to be self-evident, even and perhaps even especially when its appearance to me is unexpected, paradoxical (= unexpected, outside/beside accepted doctrine). Truth has a way of feeling right right away. Non-truth and less-than-full truth also feel that they are that right away when I see or hear them. FWIW. I guess I am saying, among other things, that I use and trust emotion, or better, direct (unmediated) experience in conjunction with intellection, ratiocination, and the five sense, as epistemological assets.

    • “Out of Africa” is clearly NOT the sole basis for human orgins. All athropologist and geneticists know that. It’s only Prog journalists who don’t understand it — because they like the notion that ALL of humanity came out of Africa recently. That’s false.

    • Human beings originated on the planet Bean, where at first they were called “human beans.” It was only after spores of the human beans got swept into the upper atmosphere by a hurricane, thrown clear of the planet and launched onto an interstellar voyage that brought them to earth that they mistranslated their origins and began to call themselves “beings” rather than “beans.” This was a happy coincidence for the group that would one day invent and get rich off Beano. It would be several generations before they began doing the jerk, calling each other “dude” and fist bumping.

  10. I take it that this is a particular dig at the minority most favored by “progressives” — that is, blacks, a.k.a., African Americans, a.k.a., people of color (with particular concern for people with the darkest skin color who are by their urban elitist reckoning the most “hip”).

    Having said that, I actually do have an understanding of of and regret for the way that MANY people in the U.S. and throughout the world are continuing to suffer the enduring consequences of past events and circumstances. While those are extremely complicated, I will note a few things not mentioned by you and deliberately ignored by “progressives.”

    Regarding the tawdry history of the enslavement of Africans, the FACT is that this was initiated by certain African tribes committing aggression against others with a major purpose of selling captives to slave traders (many of whom were Arabs).

    But that was hundreds of years ago. Then, slavery ended in the U.S. 155 years ago, and the most extreme forms of discrimination against blacks were largely eliminated by 50 years ago. But as the most “conservative” socioligists and economists recognize, both family assets and family cultural practices have an enormous impact on the social and economic well-being of succeeding generations.

    So I support government programs that are targeted to assisting ALL people with lower levels of skill and incomes, and NOT JUST BLACKS . And –unlike “progressives” — I acknowledge the existing programs that do just that, such as the Earned income Tax Credit. And — recognizing that these programs involve a transfer of money from high income people to low income people — I would be a lot more willing to support their expansion if I could trust “progressives” to do it in a rational way.

    I generally support government programs that are targeted to financially supporting prople based on need rather than race, religion, etc., But rather than focus on the “hip” and politically active minority most beloved by “progressives,” I would focus on reparations to specific surviving tribes of American Indians. Those reparations should consist mainly of expanded rights to manage as they see fit the public lands (especially in the West) that were stolen from them by white “pioneers” in collusion with the U.S. government and its state and territorial subdivisions.

    • I don’t disagree, Ted. The problem with the Prog approach is that they don’t want to help people, they want to divide people. They want to practice identity politics. Sadly, their identity politics game hurts, not helps, the purported beneficiaries.

      The Progs don’t really care, because they think that it nonetheless helps them in the voting booth. I think they’re wrong about that too. America is on the verge of leaving identity politics on the ash heap of history.

      • In making you a rational thinker, Ted, your “European-American cultural heritage” with which you lead is not especially relevant. Are you suggesting that Asians and Japanese and other races are not rational thinkers because they lack such heritage?

        The biggest objection I have to your comment, however, is not your cultural and racial suggestions, but that you lump people together stereotypically on the basis of their religion.

        For example, I personally happen to have an engineering degree and was an aerospace engineer for The Boeing Company before pursuing a career in intellectual property law. And I’m a Christian. No, I don’t believe the earth was created 6,000 years ago, nor do hardly any Christians, but we seek understanding in that metaphor.

        I’m not alone in being a Christian of STEM training. More notable ones include Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, Louis Pasteur, Teilhard de Chardin, Francis Collins and numerous Nobel Prize winners. I don’t know your science background or achievements, but I suspect it is less than theirs.

        As for global warming, I think it’s real, but the effects are not clear, the degree to which it is human-caused is not clear (though it is at least in part human-caused) and the severity of the problem is not clear. If you want to talk about people blinded by faith in connection with global warming, it’s mainly the alarmists — who typically have no STEM background at all but have a faith in the tenets of their tribe.

        I don’t see my personal faith as a substitute for scientific problem-solving, but I do see my faith as a help in dealing with adversity and managing the emotional component to problems — sometimes even medical problems. Most doctors would agree with me.

        As for “God’s Chosen People,” I believe the Jews are that as the founders of the great Judeo-Christian tradition, a tradition that by the way is largely responsible for that “American-European cultural heritage” of which you boast.

        Don’t stereotype and mock me or others of faith, Ted. It’s not justified, and it’s not civil.

      • Far from personally stereotyping all “people of faith” I distinguish between those who blondly accept :”facts” contained in ancient scriptures from “facts” recognized by modern science.

        In pointing out the success of European-American culture in delivering a high quality of lofe yo most people, I also acknowledge my agreement with most of the “valies” associated with that, whether included in religious teaching or not.

        I also follow those moral teachings better than many religious zealots, and that includes believing that nobody is racially superior and treating people accordingly.
        My preference for European- American culture is with the realization that it evolved ahead of other cultures due promarily to geographical advantages extending from the British Isles to Japan that have nothing to do with racial superiority.

        Ad to Jews being God’s Chosen People, I don’t think they are morally any better or worse than anybody else, including other “Semitic” people. But that irratiinal belief by some Jews and conservative Christians is a contiuing source of conflict in the Mideast.

    • I generally appreciate your comments, Ted, though we sometimes disagree.

      But I have to say, your last one where you suggested my “political alliance with religious zealots who really believe that the world was created some 6,000 years ago by a “Supreme Being” with Planet Earth at the center of the universe.”

      I won’t mince words. That’s just hateful religious bigotry, Ted. You’re better than that.

      • Having a European-American cultural heritage, a high quality education in STEM ssubjects, and extensive life experience that has consistently supported the credibility of modern science over ancient scriptures.as to matters of fact, my “religious bigotry” is directed towards those who (1) reject scientific logic such as human evolution rather than reconciling it with a faith in some “divine being”, and (2) support public policies that place “faith”” above rationality., as in addressing climate change and other forms of environmental deterioration, or regarding themselves as “God’s Chosen People.”

        That does not prevent me, owever, from agreeing with many “religious” tenets, such as 9 of the “Ten Commandments.” I just recognize many of those tenets as being intelligent rules for humans as “social animals” to follow for their mutual benefit.

  11. Glenn, you can’t possibly be a Neanderthal. Michael Mann is scientific proof that Neanderthals preponderate in the Democrat Party. Mike won’t release his data so nobody can replicate his results, but Mike’s just like that, it doesn’t mean his data are made up or skewed or somehow not legitimate or that he’s a gold plated liar.

  12. I think that progressives want to “help people,” but hypocritically favor those who are the most likely to vote for them, rather than being concerned about the fairness to wealthier people and negative economic impacts on everyome of their Marxist schemes for government controls and extreme levels of wealth transfer.

    I would add that the political appeal of such policies is increased as a growing population concentrates in mega cities — a trend about which many conservatives are clueless in supporting immigraton and other policies that encourage population growth.

  13. The linked article about red hair explicitly states that Neandertals did NOT possess the gene for red hair. So, unfortunately, this is just a “red hairing”.

    • I like your pun, but you’ve misread the literature. The article states that Neandies had the phenotype of red hair but from a different genotype than ours. So we did not inherit our red hair from them, but they nonetheless did have red hair.

      Interestingly, they’ve not found any Neanderthal DNA that had hair color other than red. So it looks like red hair was the ordinarly coloration in Neandies, unlike us where it’s unusual.

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