Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow

by presbiter iohannes

-What were you doing with that thug?

-Dad! You startled me!

-I asked you a question. It’s late.

-Nothing. I did nothing wrong.

-Oh, you didn’t, huh? That’s for me to decide. I don’t want you to see that animal again!

-He’s not animal! If you only knew him…

-Him? Him? It! It is an animal, and you shame me!

-I hate you! You don’t understand! I LOVE HIM!

-Love? Love? You don’t know love!

-I love him! You are such a speciesist!

-Go to your corner and remember: this is my cave and you will do as you are told!

-Mom! Please! Mom!

It could have been like this. I mean, not in English, but a conversation of this sort might have had place in Paleolithic between a Homo sapiens (that is to say, like you and me) father and his daughter.  Don’t picture a man in his forties and a fifteen year old girl, though, because the life expectancy then was somewhere between 30 and 55, so the father might well have been in his mid-twenties and the daughter in her twelve or thirteen. Yes, that’s weird. Kind of. After all, nowadays in our societies there are some places where you could find something like that, so I don’t know. In any case, today our Romeo wouldn’t be a Neanderthal.

I’m writing this as a result of the recent new about present sapiens being a descendent of (obviously) prehistoric sapiens and Neanderthals and Denisovan and an unknown fourth ancestor. Tell me about melting pots.

Let me introduce you to your family:

folks

Your folks from left to right: Neanderthal, Sapiens, Denisovan and mysterious number four.

Above you have realistic depictions of a Neanderthal man and a Denisovan woman (the Sapiens is taken from Quest for Fire). Although, on the web, we can find a lot of versions. Let’s take a peek.

Some Neanderthals:

n1

I couldn’t find any undisputed Denisovans, but Grandma D and this one:

denisova

When you google it, all you can find are Neanderthal or Homo Rhodesiensis and Homo Heidelbergensis, which experts maintain are the same species. Here you have some:

r5 r4r3r2

There’s a theory according to which the mysterious fourth would be the Homo Erectus. This is the candidate in various versions:

DIGITAL CAMERAe3e1

Of all these ancestors, only our genus still survives, the rest were wiped out by evolution, maybe under the shape of Sapiens.

What draws my attention on this subject is thinking how they interacted. In that time, the population of hominids for the entire world would have been of one million people. Yes, only that. One eighth of London’s or New York’s present population spread in half of the world. For any human group, finding another one would have been something huge, what were the odds? Did they fight? How did they communicate? Are the encounters between species the origins of some ancient myths about strange humanoid creatures? The interbreeding (pardon my French) that has been proved, was a kind of a loot? Did the groups interchange males and females, trading? Were there any interspecies love stories? If so, were there forbidden or allowed?

I’d like to think (since all you can think of  may have happened somehow) that my Romeo Neander and my Juliet Sapiens had a better ending than their literary counterparts, until they died together at the venerable age of 55.

Sources not linked above:

http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/origins/

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/ancient-dna-and-neanderthals/neanderthal-genes-red-hair-and-more

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/10/neanderthals/hall-text/2?rptregcta=reg_free_np&rptregcampaign=20131016_rw_membership_n1p_intl_ot_w#finished

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal

http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com.es/2012/01/denisovan-admixture-may-actually-be.html

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