"I do not ever get colds or flu; I have more Neandertal DNA than you."



My homespun header sung to the tune of something from Paint Your Wagons, I think. The headline at Phys.org is "Modern humans inherited viral defenses from Neanderthals." Click and go, but someone go first for Peter and give him an all-clear, thanks.


We sometimes talk about viral things and sometime talk about Neanderthal and sometimes we talk about Neaderthal and Rand.  This is my half-assed attempt to knit together a proper blog post. Since I can't socialize the means of content-production, I quote from the forum itself:

Musical interlude.

Who knows who he was Listing at:

On 6/18/2018 at 12:51 PM, william.scherk said:

1. Viruses can mutate and cross the species barrier (ie, a bird flu can be caught and sicken a human as seen in our recent past)

The reason this is concerning is that human history has had influenza pandemics in the past. We (meaning international science bodies, epidemiology experts and relevant public health bodies like the WHO) have the means to prevent a pandemic if we maintain our vigilance on all fronts.

2.  Bird flu type viruses may be only two mutations away from changing their infecting power.

3.  The present (fifth) outbreak of H7N9 proves that this virus does persist in poultry and can infect handlers

4.  Viruses and bacteria can be found in outer-atmospheric dust

5.  Disease X (noted by the WHO) is the Nightmare Scenario -- a virus that will not only succeed in mutating out of a single host (avian species/foul) but will be able to be passed Human to Human thereupon.

6.  A human-to-human virus may be "airborne" (as with rhinoviruses near the surface). This is not the "airborne" high atmosphere noted.

7. One usually catches an "airborne" virus when the local airspace or surfaces is supercharged with particles (ie, the mist from a sneeze, phlegm, sputum)

Jerry Biggers and WSS scolding each other politely.  Just off stage right, Jonathan.

On 4/12/2015 at 3:46 PM, william.scherk said:
On 4/12/2015 at 2:24 PM, Jerry Biggers said:

I do not think that there is any evidence of anything more than a rudimentary language among the Neanderthals, nothing written down (cave paintings are not conducive to presenting Objectivist epistemology and Ayn would have to drag Michelle Marder-Kamhi though the time-warp to help them "get" Objectivivist esthetics). She would have a much better chance with their competitors, the Cro-Magnons, who were essentially homo sapiens. Besides, they exterminated the Neanderthals, although maybe breeding with a few (really ugly offspring!)..

I applaud the idea of a timewarp-dragging of Kamhi. This would have extirpated modernism and post-modernism at its roots. Of course, the tribe might have been offended by bossiness and killed and eaten the meddler. Better she had brought agriculture and advanced toolmaking. Perhaps she would have convinced Trog that she could serve a useful function in the family. ...

From my understanding, recent research suggests that Neanderthal language was of fully human capacity, though there was a likely 'primitive' brain in which it was seated (see Wikipedia for a brief summary). I'd often found it a puzzle how Neanderthal could have been able to thrive without human language, without the ability to communicate concepts. Though they were indeed different to modern humans, and perhaps cognitively limited in comparison, that they could and did interbreed with modern humans suggested that they shared an ability for language. Who would want a partner who could not take direction?

That's what I thought during the times when Neanderthal vocal tracts were thought suitable only for grunts.

To the felicitous notion of Rand among the Neanderthals, I think she would have become a leader of the Neanderthal family she found herself in. She may also have become a fecund matriarch, and through her line have injected rational genes into the germ line of humanity. Ayn Rand as tough-talking no-nonsense educator-queen of early humankind makes for a fine fancy.

An on-ramp to Point of Inflection, regarding our present ability to make conclusions about prehistory.

A kind of stew of Neanderthal and history and Rand and Brant and Bob. Mood generally sunny with an occasional sharp gust:

On 1/14/2017 at 6:41 AM, BaalChatzaf said:
On 1/14/2017 at 6:26 AM, Brant Gaede said:

We don't know why the Neanderthals died off. There is additional speculation but it's all speculations. I suppose you read about this is a peer-reviewed scientific publication after which you accepted it on faith.


and you don't know how much of a "blip" we are or even whether we are a blip--your knowledge lacks modesty for you've dressed it up with "science"

The Neanderthals were better adapted physically to cold climates than were the cro-mags (that is to say,  Our Kind).  The Neanderthal weaponry was better adapted to one on one  stabbing and looking the prey in the eye.  When the ice started to recede the prey had  more room to run  so throwing spears were the better weapon.  The Cro Mags developed the throwing spear.  The Neanderthal did not.  Also the Cro-Mags  told stories and drew pictures.  the Neanderthal did not.  During times of critical changes small differences can make the difference between survival and extinction.  The Neanderthals also had smaller vocal apparatus and could not articulate as well as Cro-Mag.   We can assume that Cro-Mags talked more and told better stories than his cousin Ally-Oop. 

Modern Man's  mastery on this planet is a function of  his ability to communicate.  Ideas, both good and bad  are effective on how well they are spread about.

Gentle guidance, away from epistemological swamplands:

On 7/21/2018 at 1:22 PM, BaalChatzaf said:
On 7/18/2018 at 8:59 PM, Peter said:

Harry did not study science enough to mix science and philosophy. Some of his omissions and goofs are illustrated in the latest The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, in the article written by Robert Campbell called "What We Need to Know." The article discusses Binswanger's book, "How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation." 

Binswinger's grasp of the history of the human species  is  very much in error.  Our kind of human did not emigrate from Africa  until about 60,000 ybp.  This was the second wave of emigration by homo sapien.  The first successful emigration of hominids from Africa  eas Neanderthal,  about 300,000 ybp.  Neanderthal  was very successful  but the Ice Age and the competition from Homo Sapien Sapien finished Neanderthal off about 35,000 ybp.  Homo Sapien Sapien had a more gracile skeleton than Neanderthal and was less muscular.  However Homo Sapien Sapien caught on to human networking, exchanging ideas and trading stuff  so had much better hunting technology than did Neanderthal.  There is evidence that limited mating took place between H. S. S.  and H. N  and Homo Sapien Sapien outside of Africa acquired Neanderthal genes  to a limited extent.  The Human Race as it is currently constituted  has about 1 % of genetic material  inherited from H. Neanderthal.

Our kind of human survived because he learned to use his wits and indulge in abstract thought to some degree. We can tell from the cave paintings that some of our ancestors has a "good eye"  and artistic imagination. 

A sly comic confection and call to order from Jerry:

On 4/8/2015 at 7:01 PM, jts said:


I watched some lengthy documentaries about Neanderthals. They were not necessarily lacking in intelligence. But they lived in tiny clans, like 7 or 10 in a clan, with little interaction with other clans except to kidnap their women. How much division of labor do you think there was in such a tiny clan? How much ubuntu? They lived an extremely primitive and difficult life.


We in 2015 have all this technology, a result of man's mind. Neanderthals had none of it. Our technology is a result of a multitude of geniuses working in synergy from generation to generation.

An ass backwards science fiction idea:

By some freak time warp anomality, Ayn Rand (or a copy of her) finds herself among Neanderthals. They are friendly with her and accept her into their clan. They recognize her superior intelligence and see her intelligence as an asset to their survival. Survival was always a concern among Neanderthals. In a Neanderthal clan, every member of the clan is important to the survival of the clan. Ayn Rand retains all the knowledge and skills and memories that she had before the freak time warp anomality. She is stuck here for the rest of her life, has no way to get back. She learns their language and can communicate with them. She is smart enough to know that no matter how disgusted she is by them, she needs them for her survival in this primitive environment.

I will try to populate this thread with a few other standouts from over time.  Who wants all our Musings on the Missing Link linked here too?

Yours truly, minor content provisioner.


1x1.gif Explore further: Long ago humans and Neanderthals Interbred: What happened to Neanderthal genes?

More information: Cell, Enard et al. "Evidence that RNA viruses drove adaptive introgression between Neanderthals and modern humans." www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(18)31095-X , DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.08.034 



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