This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

"They're complete Neanderthals" : No, they aren't

From October 2008

One of the things that irritates the hell out of me is reading things like “so-and-so (someone the speaker doesn’t like, obviously) are complete Neanderthals”.

All right, I may be nitpicking, but I’ve always felt people should know just what the hell it is that they are talking about. The last time I came across this, it was someone claiming the Bush gang were Neanderthals. Oh please.

I hate the Bushies as much as anyone, as everyone here knows perfectly well. But it’s ridiculous to compare them, or any other Alpha-male or Vandal-type, to Neanderthals, and for clear and definite reasons.

Now I’m sure you know something about the Neanderthals, unless you learned to read just yesterday; but some things need repeating.

First is the basic and irretrievable fact that Neanderthals are extinct. That’s right, dead, unless some person does a Jurassic Park and recreates one from DNA; of that, more anon.

The second thing is that Neanderthals were humanoid, even quasi-human; although scientists as yet aren’t decided whether they were a human subspecies (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or a separate species (Homo neanderthalensis). Since I’m sure nobody reading this will be a creationist nitwit, you get the significance of the classification. If Neanderthals were a human subspecies, they would have been able to interbreed with modern humans; if they were a different species, they wouldn’t. And so far as we can find, unfortunately, they didn’t, and they were a separate species. (Yeah, I too wish they had, and they weren't, but we have to go by facts, however unpleasant. That’s why we believe in science.)

Since Neanderthals are extinct, and moreover, didn’t interbreed with our species, calling Bush a Neanderthal would be factually incorrect.

Of course, there’s much more to come.

Neanderthals were bipedal and looked a lot like humans. But there were many differences too; they had a more muscular body, a much larger brain size, but the shape of the skull was markedly different, suggesting that they may have had a more developed visual system and been capable of less vocalisation. And so on and so forth.

But the Neanderthals also used stone tools, hunted, performed surgery (one skeleton has an amputated arm) and religion (they buried their dead with flowers). You think about that. Proto-humans who did all that…and who vanished after coming into contact with modern humans, the Cro-Magnon, everywhere along their range.

What does this suggest? It suggests that these large-brained, muscular, tool-using, evolved hominids were wiped out, either directly or by out-hunting and out-breeding, by the Cro-Magnon, does it not?

High time we began calling stupid, destructive morons Cros.

No insult intended to Corvus splendens, though. 

(By the way, creationists love to pretend that Neanderthals were modern humans. Not so.)

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