According to the latest scientific findings, almost everyone outside of Sub-Saharan Africa has some Neanderthal in their DNA.
I sent my DNA to The National Geographic’s Genographic Project, and, according to my results, I am 1.8 percent Neanderthal. For this reason, I am gratified to know that science has also determined the following:
1. Contrary to popular belief, Neanderthals were as smart as anyone else living in Stone Age Europe. They weren’t stupid. This is good news and bad news. The good news is I can still turn out to be smart. The bad news is I can’t blame any of my dumb decisions on Neanderthal ancestry, since they weren’t as dumb as everyone used to think they were.
2. Neanderthals didn’t go extinct because the modern humans who were invading their territory were superior. They went extinct because they interbred with modern humans and there were a lot more modern humans than there were Neanderthals. The Neanderthals got absorbed into the new general population and the result is everyone on earth who doesn’t come from Sub-Saharan Africa, including me.
The second latest scientific finding has started me thinking. Were there actual romances between Neanderthals and modern humans? What about dating, courtship etiquette, etc.? I imagine it could have gone something like this:
Let’s say that a young modern human woman – let’s call her Maude – has met a young Neanderthal guy – let’s call him Ned – and a few sparks flew around. Maude’s family probably reacted like this:
MAUDE’S FATHER: I want you to stay away from that Neanderthal kid – Nate, or whatever they call him!
MAUDE: Ned. His name is Ned.
MAUDE’S FATHER: Ned, Nate, whatever! You stay away from him!
MAUDE’S MOTHER: He’s such a nice young man. Maybe if we talk to his family …
MAUDE’S FATHER: He’s short and ugly! He has no forehead! He has a big nose! He can’t speak Modern Human worth a damn! You want our grandkids to look like him? He’s a freakin’ Neanderthal, for Pete’s sake!
In the meantime, Ned’s family probably reacted like this:
NED’S FATHER: I want you to stay away from that modern human girl – Maddie or whatever they call her!
NED: Maude. Her name is Maude.
NED’S FATHER: Maude, Maddie, whatever! You stay away from her!
NED’S MOTHER: I think we shouldn’t be so hasty, dear. That family is pretty high up on the social register. They live in the best cave in the neighborhood and they know all the best people. They could help you in your rock carving business.
NED’S FATHER: Is that all you care about? She’s not one of us! And she’s butt ugly. You want our grandkids to look like her?
There must have been other questions, too:
MAUDE’S FATHER: Have you been doing anything that your mother and I should know about?
NED’S FATHER: You haven’t knocked that girl up, have you?
I will leave the story here. I don’t even want to think about what the wedding must have been like.