Humans and Neanderthals are the Same Species After All

This is something that has been argued about by many people since the first Neanderthal skull was discovered in the 1850s, in no small part between evolutionists and creationists. However, today I’m going to try and prove my point, not by looking at Christian/creationist sites and scholars, but by looking to secular/evolutionist information.

The original – and still disturbingly persistent – view of Neanderthals is that they are stupid, hairy, and generally very primitive – a link between us and monkeys. This view was perpetuated in no small part by evolutionists who wanted people to believe that Neanderthals were an early ancestor of modern humans, inferior to us in every way. A lot of early artwork of Neanderthals depicts them as being very monkey-like.

This picture was published in a newspaper in London in 1909, shortly after the first mostly-complete Neanderthal skeleton was discovered. (http://www.strangescience.net/sthom1.htm).

This picture was published in a newspaper in London in 1909, shortly after the first mostly-complete Neanderthal skeleton was discovered. (http://www.strangescience.net/sthom1.htm).

Thankfully, evolutionists have progressed somewhat since then. They now recognise that Neanderthals didn’t exist simply before Homo sapiens, as originally thought, but in fact co-existed with Neanderthals for, at their estimates, between 5000 and 10000 years.

Scientist have also found proof that Neanderthals had many “human” traits, such as burying their dead, making and playing musical instruments, caring for the elderly and infirm, and the ability to speak.

This article claims that although Neanderthals could talk, their inability to vocalise the difference between long and short vowels, for example the words “beat” and “bit” mentioned in the article, must thus have limited Neanderthal speech dramatically. This, I must say, is utterly ridiculous. There are many, many languages spoken today which make little or no distinction between long and short vowels – a quick example which comes to mind is Spanish. No-one can say that Spanish is in any way a primitive or limited language (it’s the fourth most spoken language in the world and is spoken in more than twenty countries), and yet my Spanish teacher often joked about how he had to be careful not to hand out a “shit of paper”, and how it took him a long time to be able to hear the difference between “shit” and “sheet”, let alone pronounce it.

However, if all these discoveries about Neanderthals aren’t enough to convince you that they’re human, here’s something that really will: not only have Neanderthal-Sapiens hybrids been found, but through sequencing both the Neanderthal and modern human genomes, it has been discovered that almost everyone has a certain amount of Neanderthal genes in them – the only ethnic groups which have not been found to have Neanderthal DNA are in sub-Saharan Africa (fitting in nicely with the evolutionist Sapiens-out-of-Africa theory, I have to admit, but more on that later), while all other ethnic groups have a minimum of between 1% and 4% Neanderthal genes. And that’s just a minimum – since Neanderthal and modern human DNA is 99.7% the same, some scientists suggest that modern humans might carry more that 20% Neanderthal DNA. Another human “species”, the Denisovans, have had their DNA sequenced, too, and  results from that seem to show that, while there’s a very little bit of Denisovan in all of us, some ethnic groups, such as Melanesians, Papua New Guineans, and Aboriginal Australians, have around 6% Denisovan DNA – which came as a bit of a surprise to the geneticists, because the Denisovan fossils in question were found in Siberia.

(The irony of those findings is that, back when Neanderthals were considered to be a more primitive version of hominid, scientists claimed that sub-Saharan Africans were “less-evolved” than Europeans. According to these statistics, it’s sub-Saharan Africans who are the least primitive of us all, since they carry no Neanderthal DNA.)

The Out of Africa Replacement hypothesis which has been the accepted model since scientists realised Sapiens and Neanderthals existed at the same time, compared with the Multiregional hypothesis which is gaining popularity with these DNA findings.

The Out of Africa Replacement hypothesis which has been the accepted model since scientists realised Sapiens and Neanderthals existed at the same time, compared with the Multiregional hypothesis which is gaining popularity with these DNA findings.

Well, this is all very well, Rachel, you might say, but what does it have to do with anything? Well, the important thing here is the distinction between a “breed” (or “race”, as it’s called in humans), and a “species”. The general gist of the difference is that interbreeding between different species is pretty much impossible. Closely-related species may be able to interbreed, but any offspring are never viable – that is, they can’t have children of their own. It’s well-known that the child of a horse and a donkey – either a mule or a hinny, depending on which parent is which – is sterile. Chicken-Guinea Fowl hybrids have been successfully hatched, but those offspring are very unlikely, and despite living average-length lives, are never fertile. Chicken-Quail hybrids have yet to be created, despite looking a whole lot more like each other than chickens and guinea fowl.

Three Guinhens (Chicken-Guinea Fowl hybrids). You can see more pictures here: http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/Guineas/BRKGuinHybrid.html.

Three Guinhens (Chicken-Guinea Fowl hybrids). You can see more pictures here: http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/Guineas/BRKGuinHybrid.html.

Different breeds or races of the same species, on the other hand, can interbreed freely and easily, creating viable and fertile offspring every time. In keeping with the poultry theme, almost all of my chooks are cross- and mixed-breed (as are my sister’s ducks).

This rather awesome-looking pullet had a cross-bred mother (Light Sussex cross Rhode Island Red) and a (mostly) barred Plymouth Rock father. I can’t post a picture of her children, since I’m not sure which ones are hers, but I’m 99% sure I’ve hatched chicks from her with a rooster of yet another breed.

This rather awesome-looking pullet had a cross-bred mother (Light Sussex cross Rhode Island Red) and a (mostly) barred Plymouth Rock father. I can’t post a picture of her children, since I’m not sure which ones are hers, but I’m 99% sure I’ve hatched chicks from her with a rooster of yet another breed.

Basically, the point I’m getting at is, if modern humans have Neanderthal (and Denisovan) DNA in them, we can’t be different species. If we were different species, had any Neanderthal-Sapiens hybrids been produced, they would have been unable to have children and thus their mixed genes would not have been passed on to us. However, if Sapiens and Neanderthals were, in fact, the same species, this would have been entirely possible.

And if that weren’t enough, archaeologists have recently found a skull which exhibits traits found in all four human “species” (Sapiens, Neanderthal, Denisovan, and Erectus) – in the same cave and from the same time as skulls from “pure-bred” members of each of those species! Some scientists suggested that that evidence should cause them to re-evaluate and re-define the disparate human “species” as being one species that happened to show disparate characteristics, but the more conventional-thinkers scoffed at that. (Surprise, surprise).

The fact that this particular collection of skulls was found in the near east, where the Tower of Babel was, and where humans would have lived before God muddled up our languages and sent us off on our way to the various corners of the earth to become distinct peoples (races, tribes, nations, whatever), surely can’t be a coincidence. I’ll say it again: there’s less than a 0.3% genetic difference between the average Neanderthal and the average modern human – while, according to some sources, there is up to an 11% genetic difference between any given two modern humans today!

Scientists often say, “Wouldn’t it be great if Neanderthals were still around today? We could find out what it really means to be human!”. To this I say, if there were still full-blooded Neanderthals around today (which there might be, but I’m not going into that right now), we wouldn’t even realise they’re a different species. (Because they’re not).

Well, I hope all that has, if not convinced you that Neanderthals are the same species as us, at the very least taught you something new about them. Either way, I’m going to leave you with some rather more recent reconstructions of what Neanderthals might have looked like. The first one comes from the National Geographic, and you probably saw it a couple of years ago when they published it. (Don’t you just want to tell her, “Would it kill you to smile? Or wash, for that matter?!”)

Oh, and just out of interest, here’s an article about Neanderthal skin tones:

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Voting

Well, I just got back from voting for the first time (State elections). In honour of the occasion, I’m going to tell you then things about voting in Australia:

1 – Lots of people will tell you that it’s compulsory to vote in Australia. This isn’t entirely true. Instead,
(a) It’s compulsory to be on the electoral roll if you’re an Australian citizen* aged 18 or over.
(b) It’s compulsory to turn up to vote on (or to vote by post prior to) Election Day, on pain of a $20 fine (or good explanation), and have your name ticked off on the electoral roll.
(c) Since it’s a secret ballot, what you do with your bit of paper is entirely your own business. You can scribble on it, do a dot-to-dot, put it in blank, or do a donkey vote.

2 – *British Citizens and citizens of other Commonwealth nations (except South Africa but including the Republic of Ireland) who were on a Commonwealth electoral roll in 1984 (or earlier), and who have had residence in Australia for a minimum if 6 months, are also required to vote.
(a) It’s compulsory, just as for any Australian citizen over 18.
(b) It doesn’t apply to Commonwealth citizens who were on electoral rolls after 1985 and have permanent residence.
(c) These countries include, in alphabetical order, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Canada, Cyprus, Fiji, Hong Kong, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, the Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Western Samoa, and Zambia.

3 – Your right to vote may be suspended if you’re in prison serving a sentence of 3 years or longer, or if you’re got an intellectual disability which means you can’t fully understand what voting means. The right to vote might be compromised if you’re homeless, because of the difficulty in proving identity and providing a permanent address.

4 – In Australia, it has been compulsory to
(a) enrol to vote at federal elections since 1912
(b) turn up to vote at federal elections since 1924
(c) turn up to vote at state elections beginning in Queensland in 1915.

5 – If you don’t vote, the Australian Electoral Commission sends out a letter demanding a good explanation.
(a) If a good explanation can’t be provided, you have to pay $20.
(b) If you don’t pay the $20, you’re sent to court.
(c) If you’re found guilty of not voting in court, you can be fined up to $170, plus court costs, and will have a criminal conviction recorded against you.

6 – South Australia was the first state to allow all males 21 and older to vote in 1856. Victoria was second, in 1858.

7 – South Australia was the first state to grant women the vote in 1894.
(a) New Zealand granted women the vote in 1893.
(b) The entire of Australia had granted women the vote by 1902.

8 – Aboriginal Australians did not have the right to vote across the whole of Australia until 1967.
(a) Almost 91% of Australians voted to change to Constitution to give Aboriginals the vote in 1967.
(b) However, Aboriginal Australians already had the right to vote in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania, since they were legally considered British subjects along with European Australians – so men had been allowed to vote since the 1850s and women since 1895.
(c) Until 1967, only Queensland and Western Australia denied Aboriginal Australians the vote.
(d) However, throughout the implementation of the White Australia Policy, it was made very difficult for Aboriginals, along with Chinese, Indian, etc, to vote.

9 – Even though we use British spelling for everything else, one of our major parties, Labor, still uses the American spelling which experienced (very) brief popularity around the time the party was formed.

10 – Although we strictly-speaking have a two-party system, with Liberal and Labor, Australia is very much verging towards a three-party system, with the Greens included in televised vote counts.
(a) Although Liberal technically represents the businessmen and farmers, and Labor the working man, the truth is, there’s not much difference at all between them.

Now, I have ten things to tell you about this particular election. The information has come from a Port Augusta newspaper, the Transcontinental. You can see the original here: http://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/2145705/10-election-facts-you-may-not-know-sa-election-2014/?cs=1286.

1 – During Election Day (today, the 15th), electoral officials are covering an area four times the size of the United Kingdom.

2 – 27000 pencils were purchased for use during the election, and 15080 pencil sharpeners have been deployed to keep them sharp.

3 – The use of pencils isn’t mandatory, and you can used a pen if you want (or if you’re paranoid about tampering). Pencils are supplied simply because they’re easy to store and don’t run dry.

4 – The election required 4 million ballot papers, 7000 polling booths, and 11000 cardboard screens.

5 – About 80% of voting will happen today. (The other 20% will be made up with postal votes and forgot-to-votes.)

6 – Over 5000 people have been employed as officials for the election day.

7 – Running today’s election involves the largest co-ordination of people and resources in a single day than any other South Australian event. (Which is even more amazing considering it’s Mad March and we’ve had the Fringe, the Grand Prix, and WomAdelaide all happening.)

8 – In elections between March 1950 and March 2006, Liberal won at least 50% of the primary vote only once, while Labor won seven times.

9 – The most House of Assembly electorates won by a single party between 1950 and 2010 at a South Australian election was by the Liberals, in 1993, with 37 seats. Labor took the other 10, and no minor parties or independents were elected.

10 – There are 25 parties running for the legislative council in this election, with names such as “The X-Team”, “The South Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party”, “Stop Population Growth”, and “The Multicultural Party”. Thankfully, Federal parties such as “The Motoring Enthusiasts” and the “Party Party Party Party” aren’t in there.

Well, I hope you’ve learnt something about voting in Australia.