NEANDERTHAL MAN IN THE NEWS AGAINJuly 27, 2011
A friend emailed me the following article, wishing to bring it to my attention, and I thought this was significant enough to pass along, since it formed a component of research in Genes, Giants, Monsters, and Men.
What interests me here is both the "contextual corroboration" and yet the precautionary note that must inevitably accompany it. In Genes Giants Monsters and Men I noted that the ancient Mesopotamian texts that seem to imply the genetic engineering of man indicated that the "divine" or "gods" component came from the male, and the "human" component from some sort of hominid female.
As the article points out, there is a haplogroup within the human x-chromosome of non-African humans that is, indeed, part Neanderthal, and this, broadly, would seem to fit the ancient stories...
...but only broadly, for there is another consideration to be borne in mind here, and that is that it is precisely because of the apparent genetic compatibility between homo sapiens sapiens and homo neanderthalensis that some scientists are questioning if they even represent two distinct species of the genus homo at all. The second problem to be faced and squarely acknowledged here is that this really says nothing in favor of the "Mesopotamian scenario" either, since any corroboration of that scenario would require the presence of some DNA not identifiably those of any terrestrial primate, including man. And, given the nature of the Mesopotamian legends, this is likely only to be found in human males.
What the article end up doing is merely not contradicting the Mesopotamian scenario, but nothing more. It remains to be scene if and when genetics will ever verify the other portion of it, and if we'll even be told.
But there is another possibility that looms in the article, and I hope you caught it. The Neanderthal genome has been sequenced, that is to say, an extinct species is now available to the whole panoply of the techniques of genetic science, and - in a real Jurrasic Park scenario - that includes cloning, a literal resurrection from the tombs of genetic death. We are, in other words, one step closer again to the specter of making those ancient mythologies true, if not in ancient times, then in our own.