[Added March 10, 2014: By “we” I mean Caucasians and Asians. I’ve also misused the term humans when meaning just Caucasians and Asians. I hope this makes it clearer.]
I came to this story of Neanderthals by way of a link which said something like its title, maybe “Humans and Neanderthals didn’t breed” without the quotes. It sounded so sure. Like we now know with certainty that humans and Neanderthals have never bred despite sharing the old world for hundreds of thousands of years. But only here will you read what the study authors hope. That humans and Neanderthals never had sex with each other, ever.
Other studies have said Caucasians and Asians share certain DNA that is believed to be from Neanderthals and this DNA just doesn’t exist in the African population. Humans are from Africa, so when they expanded into Eurasia, proximity suggests that certain DNA came from the Eurasian Neanderthal.
The linked to “study” and “theory” suggests that the divergence happened in a split Africa. Humans were already divided in Africa for hundreds of thousands of years and the northern ones eventually colonized Eurasia, not once breeding with Neanderthals. Their “non African” genes appeared before meeting Neanderthals. And later, all of the Eurasian humans were erased from Africa.
Obviously breeding with Neanderthals is a simpler theory. The two Africas approach is more twisted and less likely to be true. I certainly believe we bred with Neanderthals. Must I foist the guy who makes love to his car and other men who do the same with life size dolls, all who had recent appearances on the show Anderson? Human/Neanderthal breeding seems so sensible when put on this truer range of human sexuality.
Also to drive home the point that this “study” is all about cleaning up the reputations of humans, the article mentions in the last two paragraphs that humans split from Neanderthals earlier than thought and humans split from chimpanzees earlier than thought, too. Yay! We have less monkey blood and less caveman blood than previously thought.
As for the idea that humans deliberately wiped out Neanderthals, I’ve said it before. There were no fewer than 4 genocides last century amongst groups that are far closer than humans and Neanderthals.
That’s right, we did the old sex and violence thing with the Neanderthals. The familiarity of the phrase “sex and violence” only makes a stronger case.
Postscript. I used the term humans when describing us because I read somewhere many years ago that humans are Homo Sapiens Sapiens and Neanderthals are Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis. Maybe the names have changed over the years and depending what side is championing what. The article I linked to uses H. Sapiens to mean humans which I think could be confusing. And look at the way they hide from spelling out Homo. I could so get into analyzing the twisted minds that wrote this article and the study.