So now we know the identity of the original Aryans: Neandertals!
But seriously, I can see so many conspiracy and racist theories coming out of this. I wonder how this new data will square with the fundies' beliefs about our origins? Besides the outright denial, that is.
The first genome sequence from an extinct human relative is now available. Together with an international research team, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig present an initial draft of the genome sequence of the Neanderthal, a human form which died out some 30,000 years ago. Initial analyses of four billion base pairs of Neanderthal DNA indicate that Neanderthals left their mark in the genomes of some modern humans. (Science, May 7th 2010)
British psychologist and author Stan Gooch had a theory before the Neanderthal genome has been sequenced, a theory which identify the Neanderthal’s mark in the genomes of the Jewish people. Would not this be judged not only a saucy, but a blasphemous theory?
There is, perhaps, an essential core of Judaism, a core that Richard Dawkins himself might have nominated as the irreducible heart of his memetic theory, which we might set up as a candidate for discussion as potentially beyond the reach of factual refutation: The Jews are the Chosen People. Choosiness does not imply that they are superior creatures, only that their minds seem capable to have insights which are considered foreign to everyday experience.
And upon these principles, Gooch theorized that the children of Israel are the Chosen People because they are the best – that is, the most successful and the most stable – mixing of our two parent genetic endowments: the Neanderthal and Homo sapiens varieties of man. It would not surprise us, given the fact that it was in the Middle East – somewhere round about present-day Israel – that pure Neanderthal and pure Home Sapiens first met.
“When the Sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore children to them … these … were the might men of old, the men of renown.”
Is this statement from the Book of Genesis really speaking of Homo sapiens males meting Neanderthal females? So it seems self-evident to Gooch that “the Jews kept the memory of our fantastic biological adventure alive down through the tens of thousands of years that followed. Knowing that a miracle has happened, and knowing that they themselves were the outcome of that miracle, they determined to preserve themselves for all time, as the living proof that divine forces were directly and deliberately at work in human destiny.”
The Neanderthal man flourished in Europe and West Asia from about 200,000 years ago to about 30,000 years ago, when it became extinct. It would have shared territory with our own species, Homo sapiens, for about 60.000 years. Their brains were as large as ours, but were structured differently. They lacked the large frontal lobes of the neo-cortex, which is where most of the thinking is done by modern man. There is no real evidence of symbolic language among the Neanderthals. But they had “a dream culture” of intuitive straight-forward knowledge. Homo sapiens is the first specie capable to generate complex mental symbols and to manipulate them into new combinations. The secret is concealed in the mix. Gooch’s investigation gave meaning and value to the most puzzling passages of the Bible and explains why the people of Israel believed themselves "chosen by God."