HOW ABOUT A NEANDERTHAL-HOMO SAPIEN MARRIAGE
Archaeologists opened a 40,000-year-old cave in Gibraltar and reported their findings this month. Artifacts revealed the daily life of the Neanderthal cave residents. The article concluded these guys are all gone now, crowded out by hordes of invading homo sapiens. So cave guys are all gone now, but for their DNA. Eurasian people today carry 1-4% of those cavemen’s genes.
As thinking people, we want to know: If we carry so much of their DNA 40,000 years later, there must have been repeated, enduring unions back in the day. Marriage is never simple, but if Mom and Dad had no common language, diet, culture, or racial tolerance, how did our mixed ancestors make it work? My Japanese wife thinks I’m a troglodyte, but we still sit down and thread our way through conflicts, child-rearing problems, economics, and what’s for supper. How could it work in 40,000 BC? Could those moms and dads share any vocabulary? Or speak any language at all? Or did they have to resolve disputes with grunts, a cudgel, or sexual favors?
How did boy even meet girl? Was it reckless teenage love followed by shotgun marriage? Did angry in-laws interfere? Were there politically or financially advantageous family unions arranged? The variations could be endless and probably were.
THEY WERN’T DIMWITTED. THEY WERE HUNKS
Some people label Neanderthals dimwitted, but that’s cruel bigotry spread by gossipy Sapiens. Indeed, a neanderthal young man might have been a good catch for a Homo sapiens woman. He was a very strong and a mighty hunter who could offer her meat for dinner instead of bark, roots, or twigs that were staples of Sapiens cuisine.
Can you imagine family reunions with in-laws gathering around the fire, criticizing the other’s racial features and dietary habits? Surely, different tribes must have looked down on each other and had territorial disputes resolved without language or translators? Absent communication, they must have resorted to fists and stones.
YES WE HAVE CONFLICT TOO, BUT THERE’S A HISTORY OF RESOLUTION
Our polarized world today imagines endless conflict and battles, but think about it: None of the interracial offspring would have survived perpetual hatred and conflict… And yet, could there have been shared kindness, even romantic nights under a new moon? Something allowed these oddball unions to survive and prosper? Difficult to imagine today, but that DNA proves humans can preserve relationships in the face of unimaginable dissimilarities.