Re: DISCOVER/Neanderthal/Homo Sap.

Mike Reid (
1 Sep 1995 20:33:37 GMT (Peggy Hall) wrote:
> I just picked up the new Discover Magazine. There is a question posed on
> the cover regarding Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens living side by side
> for so long: How could we live side by side for 50,000 years and never
> have sex ?
> What do you think ?
> --
> ==========================================================================
> Peggy Hall
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have not yet read the article to which you refer, but I too think
that this is an interesting question. A lot of people think that
the Neanderthals may have been a separate species within the genus
Homo (H. neanderthalensis) and not part of the H. sapiens lineage
which led to us. If they are right, then it would not be
all that surprising that the Neanderthals and early H. sapiens lived
side by side for thousands of years and yet retained their distinct
genetic identities. We see in other animals a disinclination for
members of different species to interbreed even if the species are
closely allied. Apparently, they find members of the other species
less attractive as mates. And when members of different species do
interbreed, their hybrid progeny are often sterile. Perhaps this was
the case with the Neanderthals and early H. sapiens. The fossils
don€t answer this question for us, but it€s fun to speculate.

Mike Reid