back to article Depressed? Desperate for a ciggie? Blame the Neanderthals

It's now well established that ancient humans interbred with their Neanderthal cousins and their DNA intermingled with ours, but a new genetic analysis has shown that shagging around has had consequences. The research, undertaken by Vanderbilt University using its database of over 28,000 DNA samples, showed that Neanderthal …

  1. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Echoes from the past

    European folk tales often feature shaggy, slow-witted trolls. I have often wondered if these are based on dim memories from the time modern humans lived alongside the neanderthals.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Echoes from the past

      You cheeky bastard! The one on the right looks like me.

      Any more of your lip and I'll club you. But I might take up the "naked but for a tiger skin" look on the next dress down day.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Echoes from the past

        >The one on the right looks like me.

        You're Gérard Depardieu?

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Echoes from the past

          You're Gérard Depardieu?

          We do share something in common. But you'll agree its still a better look than the chap/bird on the left?

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Echoes from the past

        I might take up the "naked but for a tiger skin" look

        Perhaps you can suggest why the Neanderthal in the picture is wearing granny's fox-fur tippet. It's obviously not for warmth or modesty. Come to think of it, I'm surprised that the museum where this was presumably taken displays a life-size model of a big-nose bloke flashing his todger.

    2. Known Hero

      Re: Echoes from the past

      Well when were Neanderthals theorised and proven.

      If at some point the collective history has forgotten them, then nope it can't be associated.

      More likely we like to paint ourselves in a rosier frame, we won because we were more intelligent etc etc .

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Echoes from the past

        A rosier frame indeed, we likely won because we were more aggressive.

      2. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Re: Echoes from the past

        We won out because we were a better fit in the environment.

        That could be intelligence, resistance to a certain disease, faster breeding rate, ability to digest certain plants that were more common, having less hair...

        The Neanderthals could have been much cleverer but if they spent all day sitting around in caves chewing poppy heads rather than having more children or clearing forest then they were on a losing streak.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Echoes from the past

          <<The Neanderthals could have been much cleverer but if they spent all day sitting around in caves chewing poppy heads rather than having more children or clearing forest then they were on a losing streak.>>

          You mean like modern Europeans compared to the new "guests"?

    3. x 7 Silver badge

      Re: Echoes from the past

      European folk tales often feature shaggy, slow-witted trolls. I have often wondered if these are based on dim memories from the time modern humans lived alongside the Scots Highlanders

    4. Kurt Meyer
      Boffin

      Re: Echoes from the past

      The research... showed that Neanderthal DNA has influenced modern humans.

      Them: Major university research project, boffins, database of DNA samples, gobs, and gobs, of funding.

      Me: Half an hour in a doctor's waiting room, gazing out the window at a traffic intersection.

      I'm in the wrong line of work.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is Assange a Neanderthal

    Clubbing the female of the species and dragging them off for sex

    Shagging unconscious women was one of their main traits

    1. lawndart

      Re: Is Assange a Neanderthal

      Citation needed

    2. Neanderthal Man Bronze badge

      Re: Is Assange a Neanderthal

      HEY! NO BLAME US FOR HIM! Shag unconscious women not thing we do. After everyone eat Grog Root around fire, *nobody* remember who we shag (or what).

      1. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: Is Assange a Neanderthal

        after eating grog root I'm amazed you could shag anything......

        is that why you died out?

        1. Neanderthal Man Bronze badge

          Re: Is Assange a Neanderthal

          Thag Cholomondley-Warner got tree knocked up, never did get all splinters out. This origin of phrase 'getting wood'.

          We die out 'cause we follow step 10 in dating guide URL below - all fires go out at same time on windy day.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    Keep firing in the dark

    addiction to nicotine.

    I think almost every mammal can be addicted to nicotine, regardless if they shagged a neanderthal...

    1. Robert Moore

      Re: Keep firing in the dark

      But after shagging a neanderthal, you REALLY need a smoke.

      Don't ask me how I know...

      1. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: Keep firing in the dark

        "But after shagging a neanderthal, you REALLY need a smoke.

        Don't ask me how I know..."

        I know......you live in Barrow-in-Furness

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Keep firing in the dark

        "But after shagging a neanderthal, you REALLY need a smoke.

        Don't ask me how I know..."

        Melania Trump? Is that you?

  4. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Bloody Neanderthals...

    ... coming over here, having sex with our women, spreading their DNA, making us all get hooked on noxious substances...

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Bloody Neanderthals...

      Yes, those fucking bastards caused the first holocaust. Nothing new under the sun.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Bloody Neanderthals...

        "those fucking bastards caused the first holocaust"

        That's not how you do propaganda. You need more subtlety.

        They participated in the first holocaust. Or, even more appropriately, they had connections to the first holocaust. They bastards!

      2. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: Bloody Neanderthals...

        " those fucking bastards caused the first holocaust"

        wiping out the mammoths - and other megafauna - for food does not constitute a holocaust

  5. x 7 Silver badge

    why did the neanderthals die out? Probably just back luck. Their earlier diaspora meant that they got further north, and got there earlier than modern humans. When the ice ages came along they got frozen out and died - with just a few remaining further south where they were eventually absorbed into the modern human expansion/migration

    No humans could have survived the glacial expansion, those who did were south of it. Just luck, just chance that the neanderthals were closer to, and suffered more from the ice.

    Survival of the luckiest. Not Survival of the fittest

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only Wikipedia but interesting if substantively accurate. Limitations as ever by working from limited selection of population etc.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_anatomy

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_extinction

    2. itzman
      Paris Hilton

      Not survival of the fittest...or the luckiest...

      ...and never has been. Let's face it a glance round Tesco will demonstrate that.

      If you want to summarise Darwin in those terms say 'Elimination of the very unlucky and completely dysfunctional'

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      neanderthals apparently survived a number of Glaciation Events quite sucessfully, funny they should die out in one when our ancestors were about

    4. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      @ x 7

      "why did the neanderthals die out? Probably just back luck."

      Dying for a cig and all the tobacco was on a different continent.

  6. itzman
    Paris Hilton

    Non sequitur of the week.

    The brain is incredibly complex, so it's reasonable to expect that introducing changes from a different evolutionary path might have negative consequences," said Vanderbilt doctoral student Corinne Simonti, the paper's first author.

    Why?

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Non sequitur of the week.

      "Why?"

      I'm guessing that what the the paper's author is referring to is that single changes to a complex evolved system are more likely to have deleterious consequences than changes to a simple one. For example, if you take a simple machine like the wheel, making it bigger or smaller will sometimes have good consequences, and sometimes bad, depending on what the wheel is being used for. However, take a more complex machine like the watch, changing the size of an individual cog is much more likely to break the watch than improve it or have no effect.

      Another example would be genetic mutations - if these happen in a bacterium's genome, it may kill the bug or it may increase its antibiotic resistance and help it survive. If mutations happen in the DNA of one of my skin cells however (and I hope I'm considered to be a bit more complex than a bacterium), the result will almost certainly be cell death or cancer.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Non sequitur of the week.

        If mutations happen in the DNA of one of my skin cells however (and I hope I'm considered to be a bit more complex than a bacterium), the result will almost certainly be cell death or cancer.

        Yes but we aren't talking about changing the DNA of a living, formed and already specialized cell. It isn't like you can take a skin cell and turn it into a brain cell by simply changing the DNA. This would be at a level where it's a tweak to the original building instructions for an entire organism. If it produces something really bad the organism isn't viable and is never born. If it's so slight it produces something as minor as better blood clotting or addiction it isn't clear that either is necessarily bad.

        Frankly I find the statement "... but these days it's an issue with raising the possibility of blot clots and strokes" to be laughable without any evidence to back it up. For all we know it stemmed from a resistance to haemophilia in less genetically diverse populations. I also don't see any genetic resistance to strokes, clots or heart attacks based on the lack of Neanderthal DNA, or Denisovan for that matter, in any given population but rather it seems to be one dominated by diet and activity.

  7. Big_Ted
    Facepalm

    Or to put it another way

    Neanderthal genes 'boosted our immunity'

    We may owe our ability to fight disease to our extinct relatives - the Neanderthals and Denisovans

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35246503

    1. Old Handle

      Does that mean Africans have weaker immune systems (but less addiction and depression)?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Races and separations are created and do not "naturally" exist.

  9. Richard Parkin
    Pint

    "Here in the Reg US offices, one of our hacks has scored in the top 99th percentile for Neanderthal DNA, with it making up 3 per cent of his genetics. Thankfully he's a non-smoker who's a happy chap at heart." So good of him to pose for your headline picture. Give him a beer.

    1. Pseu Donyme

      Absolutely, give the man a beer. On a related note - as we now know that the snap has been taken within the Reg US offices - the chap on the left is surely our dear hack A. Orlowski?

  10. nemenator

    Also having the top percentile for Neanderthal DNA I can confirm the depressive and addictive traits- which are de riguer in IT aren't they?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the reason for my lifelong struggle with depression is possibly because greatx500 grandpa just had to get a piece of neanderthal nookie. Nice to know.

    1. Paul Woodhouse

      nope, will have been greatx500 grandma, seems geneflow only came from the paternal side...

  12. All names Taken
    Linux

    Hmm...

    Looks like part of the queue at any (and all?) local (wether) Spoons?

  13. Neanderthal Man Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    Sure, blame extinct guy

    Bad enough me can't make fire, bad enough me can't walk upright. Now I fault for modern problems? Maybe it *you* fault for sit on ass all day! OK, you mad 'cause I shag your sister. It not my fault she look hot in leopard skin bikini!

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    If you have the opportunity, check it out:

    http://www.neanderthalmuseum.info/en/home/index.html

    (Location: very close to Düsseldorf, not that far from Cologne)

  15. siluri
    Facepalm

    What!!

    What!! Are we blaming the Dutch now?

    1. x 7 Silver badge

      Re: What!!

      "What!! Are we blaming the Dutch now?"

      well....if the cap fits....

  16. x 7 Silver badge

    just found this dating guide for neanderthal men

    http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2013/06/04/interspecies-dating-tips-for-neanderthal-men/

    1. Neanderthal Man Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Shit! Me do everything wrong.

      Can't make fire, can't walk upright, can't get date. No wonder I depressed and want smoke!

  17. Sirius Lee

    There appears to be no review of the affects on humans with different ancestry. My impression from the articles and posts on human/neanderthal communing is that this was largely a European activity. Did the interbreeding with Neanderthals take place in Africa? If not, are modern Africans less likely to get addicted to smoking? Clot less easily?

    1. x 7 Silver badge

      "Did the interbreeding with Neanderthals take place in Africa?"

      the literature on the web suggests not, however there appears to have been a later reverse migration from Europe to North Africa of humans carrying small traces of Neanderthal DNA. If I understand it correctly, this appears to correlate with SOME of the Berber and Arabic types.

      However black Africans appear to be free of Neanderthal DNA

      However I really suggest you Google this for yourself - its easy for someone when posting to accidentally put a false slant on this and end up causing a racial shitstorm inadvertently

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