Like a lot of Americans, my brother decided to fork over some cash and have his DNA analyzed to see his ancestry via 23andMe. The usual information popped up — some German ancestry, some Scandinvian, but then a strange name and number...4% Neanderthal.
Neanderthals are an extinct relative of Homo Sapiens, having died out around 40,000 years ago. They’re not exactly roaming the streets of Stuttgart like some of the other Vogts I’m related to. But, surely there are some applicable traits that we share, right? After all, my brothers and I often joked about our physical anomalies while growing up — we have large rib cages and shoulders, wide nostrils, and can handle brutal cold temperatures, which are all traits of what scientists such as Joshua Akey have attributed to Neanderthals.
What this DNA does define, according to The Scientist, is that my modern human ancestors bred with Neanderthals roughly 50,000 to 55,000 years ago. A variety of scientists working on genome sequences have come up with different concepts as to why humans mated with their closely related cousins, and the effects it has on their far-flung descendants, such as my family. One of them is the effect on skin, as well as fatty tissue beneath, as Neanderthals survived in brutally cold environments thousands of years ago. Finally, a study mentions that some of these genomes may relate to psychiatric disorders that are prevalent in some human populations, which I myself happen to have.
Nothing much outside of interesting facts as they come, but I do find it funny when certain individuals glorify blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned individuals like myself and my brothers. They have no idea that we’re not fully human. Maybe we should take them back to our caves and teach them how to get along, Neanderthal and human alike.