My cousin the Neanderthal

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by timojin, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I know. But if you have some other mechanism for one population turning into another besides interbreeding, I'd like to hear it.
     
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  3. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    It was just on the level of "water boils if you heat it enough."
     
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  5. Bells Staff Member

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    Not to mention Asians and the Indigenous population of the Pacific region.

    No they cannot. Timojin, on the other hand, is arguing that they are a separate species.

    The mixture was minor, spidergoat. It happened what? In the last 60,000 years or so ago? And in what has every appearance of being a minute few breeding events. If it was more than that, then populations that carry those genes would be carrying a hell of a lot more than they do today, given the fact that these events occurred less than 80,000 years ago.

    And farming was not a 'thing' back when these breeding events occurred.

    Also, the gene for pale skin was appeared long, loooong after the Neanderthals had become extinct..

    Not to mention the genes for pale skin did not actually originate from or come from Neanderthals.

    The admixture was small.

    Yes. Every single human being on this planet is a result of complex interbreeding with other hominid species. That is how we came to be. I don't think it would qualify as declaring species like Neanderthals and Denisovan's and the other as yet unknown hominid species becoming "modern humans". Just as one would not say that woolly mammoths are modern elephants because Asian elephants branched off what around 400,000 years ago while African elephants branched off earlier than that.
     
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  7. Bells Staff Member

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    But they did not 'turn' into another species. Their offspring did not evolve into a distinct species. If it did, then it died off long ago. What is left in our genetic make-up is a very small percentage of their genes, along with those of other hominids.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    That is not the criteria for saying they became modern Europeans, which they literally did become. The genes don't lie. They were a distinct population, but never a species by the common definition of species. If they were, they could not have produced fertile children with modern humans, which they did. What part of being ancestors to modern humans don't you understand?
     
  9. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    sub·spe·cies
    ˈsəbˌspēSHēz,ˈsəbˌspēsēz/
    noun
    BIOLOGY
    1. a taxonomic category that ranks below species, usually a fairly permanent geographically isolated race. Subspecies are designated by a Latin trinomial, e.g., (in zoology) Ursus arctos horribilis or (in botany) Beta vulgaris subsp. crassa.
     
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    You understand the definitions, but you don't quite grasp the full implications. These words like species and sub-species depend on how we define them, and the definitions don't always accurately correspond to reality. They aren't immutable qualities. They are the result of scientists placing artificial boundaries on something which is fuzzy. For good scientific reasons. But genes flowed from one group into another. That's one thing becoming another thing. It's a trivial fact.
     
  11. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    You're right, I'm not too smart.
     
  12. Bells Staff Member

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    While ignoring all other populations around the world that are not European who carry the same percentage of Neanderthal genes as Europeans do. You do understand what timojin is trying to argue in this thread, yes?

    A few breeding events does not constitute their 'becoming Europeans'.

    Ya. Which begs the question.. Why are you saying that a small gene transfer into the Homo sapiens somehow or other turns Neanderthals into "modern Europeans"? It didn't.. At least, not as you are trying to argue. Europeans were modern regardless for one. And secondly, the interbreeding was sparse. In other words, they did not inject enough of their genes into the Homo sapien population to create a new species called "modern Europeans", or Asians or Pacific Islanders or Aboriginals. All of whom carry the same percentage of Neanderthal genes. Does not mean that Neanderthals became any of those groups as "modern" versions of those groups. There wasn't enough genetic transfer to declare that they are a distinct group because they carry those genes.

    If they had only interbred with Homo sapiens in Europe, maybe and that is a huge stretch of a maybe. They also interbred with the population in Asia. Does that mean that they are a distinct population too?

    That they also became Asians, Papuans, Aboriginals, Maori?

    It's like you are applying a 1% drop rule or something. Which is bizarre, considering what timojin is trying to argue....

    We don't even know how fertile the offspring were. Scientists believe that the hybrid's that came from those pairings would have suffered a high rate of infertility.

    Oh I understand that part. I just don't understand how you are arguing that Neanderthals became "modern Europeans"...

    Not only because you completely and utterly ignore all other populations that carry Neanderthal genes, but also because you are badly trying to argue that it somehow or other makes Europeans a distinct group as a result of these interbreeding events, while trying to say that it does not mean that Europeans are a different species.. Not to mention the fact that the Homo sapiens they interbred with were already "modern" humans anyway and the fact that we share a common ancestor with Neanderthals.

    Which is why I asked you earlier, if you believe that Asian elephants are woolly mammoths.

    I do understand what you are trying to argue. But I get the sense that it's your wording that is causing confusion.
     
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Lots of species - bona fide common definition species - can interbreed with other species. Most of the canids and felids can cross, most of the oak and willow tree species can hybridize, lots of birds can - Darwin's finches on the Galapagos appear to have speciated by hybridizing as much as by incremental selection.

    If you read in any of the common bird identification guides, you'll find many descriptions of the common hybrids of listed species.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Gene flow between populations is not "a few breeding events". Neanderthals and homo sapiens were in contact for about 5,000 years. They had sex with each other, lots of it. You mention that non-European populations also share Neanderthal genes, which is also true. The genes spread around the world, even back to Africa. But they were Europeans first, and if you are a white European, you are more likely to have Neanderthal genes than any other population.
    How many genes does that require? What's a species?
    Then what do their offspring become? The fact that gene mixing also occurred outside of Europe means that Neanderthals also became Asians, and Africans, and all the rest. But it was in Europe, among the population that later acquired pale skin and became farmers that Neanderthals genes are most common. That's where the most mixing happened. And it doesn't mean that Europeans are a separate species or better in any way that matters, or whatever nonsense timojin is pushing.
     
  15. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Correct. Which only goes to show the classification problems in science. I've heard there are as many as six separate definitions for species in the scientific community.
     
  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, they are, from one perspective. There was no demarcation between one and another apart from how we choose to define these creatures. The fact is every individual is a transitional form.
     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Neandertals were a separate hominid species under almost any definition.
     
  18. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    Yep.

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  19. Bells Staff Member

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    There is very little evidence of gene flow going the other way. They have only found one Neanderthal female with traces of human DNA from a breeding event that happened long before she would have even been born.

    They may have had a lot of sex, but they did not have a lot of fertile and viable offspring. And as I noted in a previous post, what offspring that came out of it, scientists believe would have had fertility issues.

    As it stands, male neanderthal and human female pairings show that the male neanderthals appear to have had fertility issues and compatibility issues, which probably resulted in not that many offspring.

    Lots of sex means nothing really, if it does not produce many offspring, in evolutionary terms that is.

    Why do you think they were European first?

    Also, Asians carry more Neanderthal DNA than white Europeans do.

    Are you seriously asking that question like that, kind of out of context of that post?

    The offspring were mostly infertile. It didn't create a new species. Neanderthals became extinct, remember? Sure, a large portion of the world's population carry some of their genes, does not mean that they [Neanderthals] became modern humans as a result.

    Hybrids. Most of whom were probably infertile.

    Huh?

    Pale skin did not come from Neanderthals. At all.

    That was a mutation that happened all on its very own, without help from Neanderthals. In other words, the genes that caused pale skin did not come from Neanderthals. I linked an article about this earlier in the thread.

    Secondly, Asian populations carry more Neanderthal genes than Europeans. And yes, even 'white' Europeans.. And while their genes may be more common in Europeans, the higher percentage of their genes in Asians suggest that there were more breeding events in Asia compared to than in Europe.

    But that is kind of what you are arguing. Hence why I suggested that it may come down to your wording.

    Neanderthals were a distinct species of hominid. They did not evolve to become "modern humans" or "modern Europeans". Our ancestors were already "modern humans" when they would have first come into contact with Neanderthals.

    If you had said that Homo heidelbergensis evolved to become "modern humans", we wouldn't be having this discussion. Because Homo heidelbergensis are our ancestors, and a common ancestor with Neanderthals and Denisovans..
     
  20. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    But it's just a definition is my point. The reality was a blurring between early Neanderthal only groups to a migration of sapiens, to Neanderthal-sapiens mixes, to what we can also classify as a European type with includes Neanderthal genes, and the Neanderthal type dwindling out. We have these classifications for convenience only, you realize? They don't dictate reality. These charts we love to look at are lies to some degree, glossing over all the smeared lines as crossbreeding occurred back and forth between most of these geographically proximate trees. Total isolation of a population was rare.
     
  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    It's a central issue. I don't care about fertility rates.
    Didn't say it did. It came from people of the Steppes, what we call Siberia now.
    So what? I already acknowledged that there is an additional Neanderthal-Asian connection.
    Distinct temporarily, until they weren't. Having Neanderthal ancestors means Neanderthals became you. Wake up and smell the DNA, I'm just pointing out the obvious.
     
  22. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

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    The Neanderthals died out after doing some cross breeding with H. sapiens sapiens. That does not mean that Neanderthals are alive today.
     
  23. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Where does a Neanderthal stop and H. sapiens sapiens begin? How many genes are required?

    The Neanderthals that "died out", did they have any H. sapiens sapiens genes?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
    Walter L. Wagner likes this.

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