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Science

We Are Not Related 65

mao che minh writes "From Pravda.ru - German and American geneticists recently discovered that the neanderthal has nothing to do with modern day man's genealogy. I figured that the lack of a genetic relationship between the two species was already well known, especially when you consider the empirical evidence compiled thus far that concludes that cromagnon man and neaderthal coexisited. I suppose that the geneticists aim to put the story to bed with their DNA research."
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We Are Not Related

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  • by Hugh Kir ( 162782 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:38PM (#4660285)
    Well, if the report of this genetic discovery is true, it's not very surprising, as this has been discussed as a possibility for years. That said, given the article goes on to discuss a millenia-old mummy with cyborg implants and the possibility of UFOs as the origin of humankind, I question the authenticity of any information contained within said article.
  • by ceejayoz ( 567949 ) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:40PM (#4660307) Homepage Journal
    Why is Slashdot taking seriously a story that includes speculation over whether a mummy found in Mongolia is an ancient cyborg?

    The scientists say that during its life, the mummy could have been a cyborg, a creature made by a combination of features of a robot and a hominid.

    If we rely upon many statements and the evidence of UFOs or extraterrestrial visits to Earth, we can consider our planet as a space colony. And different space centers are very active here. They send their robots, cyborgs, and hominids to the Earth to collect information and materials, to perform experiments on human beings, including even complex surgical operations. In many cases, these operations resulted in mutilations later treated as abnormalities by pathologoanatomists and archeologists. The experiments were evidently performed with a view to create new cloned creatures. These facts allow one to say talk about the alien origin of Homo sapiens.


    While the Neanderthal / Cro-Magnon stuff is probably true (I was under the impression that the question had been decided years ago - they both were around at the same time, Neanderthals died out), the second half of the article doesn't help the credibility of the first half.

    Don't the editors read the links that get submitted?
    • While the Neanderthal / Cro-Magnon stuff is probably true (I was under the impression that the question had been decided years ago - they both were around at the same time, Neanderthals died out)

      That is the working theory. However I am not aware of any proof; and I fail to see how a few thousand year old mummy in a glacier could have resolved a question about Neanderthals which died out tens of thousands of years ago.

      Whatever this article implies, I'm pretty sure that no samples of Neanderthal DNA are known to science, so until we have some, the question seems open.

      As an example, suppose all the white skinned people in the world were killed off [n.b. I'm not recommending this, I'm white!]. Would that mean that the remaining population were not descended from whites? Of course not. So the question is whether Neanderthals and human ancestors could interbreed. I don't know, and I don't think anyone has any evidence either way, but one thing is for sure, I bet they tried ;-)

  • I also thought that the neanderthal/modern man relation had been resolved awhile ago... though I also know that a lot of people still think the neanderthals are our 'ancestors'.

    Then again, I know a few people who think heavier objects 'fall faster' than lighter objects... so I guess you can't take knowledge for granted.

    Oh well. I suppose this is just purely scientific confirmation of what archeologists/paleontologists had figured out from physical evidence. Chalk up another victory for science!

    =Smidge=
    • Well said. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ashurbanipal ( 578639 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @01:08PM (#4660645)
      I know a few people who think heavier objects 'fall faster' than lighter objects...
      Probably because they typically do; in everyday situations the lighter object usually will have aerodynamic properties that the heavier object does not. Weight to surface area (as well as shape) comes into play here.

      Intelligent people observe their surroundings, and one might well notice that a stapler falling off a desk hit the floor before the sheet of paper did.

      Intelligent people also test hypotheses; but most of us do not have easy access to a large vacuum chamber.

      Not everyone has the advantage of a proper education, so your comment that "you can't take knowledge for granted" is right on the money.

      I think homo-sap-sap ate homo-neanderthal.
    • Having neanderthals for ancestors is either not possible for any of the people any of the time or it explains some of the behavior of some of the people all of the time, some of the behavior of all of the people some of the time, or all of the behavior of some of the people all of the time. :P (That or only we wonderful people have neanderthl genes. :{)||
    • If I'm remembering right, there have been recent studies that indicate we do have some genes associated with Neatherals. The idea isn't that we're so much extracted from the speices as there was interbreeding between Cromagnon and Neanderthals. (If they could interbreed, they almost certainly did. That's a fundemental truism for whenever two such species meet.)
      One finding I do definately recall (as I just read about it the other night) is that the genes for red hair seem to come to us from Neanderthals.
      The moral might just be that genetics and human evolution isn't nice and simple. Perhaps we should stop seeking the sound-bite sized answers (we are/are not descended from X) and accept that things are inherently more complicated.
  • Correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by master_xemu ( 618116 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:44PM (#4660368)
    Just for referance there is no such thing as "Cro-Magnon Man". Cromagnon was a site in France where modern human remains were found. Cromagnon man is simply Homo sapien sapien, my wife is an Anthropologist and jumps all over me when I use the term "Cro-Magnon".
  • Convergent evoloution? Or is the story about my great grandpa and the circus monkey true?
  • Old News (Score:3, Funny)

    by JBCybernautics ( 619373 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:48PM (#4660403)

    Obviously we aren't all reading the right literature.

    It's already been discovered that our ancestors co-existed with cro-magnon man rather than evolved from him. In fact, we likely caused his extinction. We're just lucky we got off the leaf-currency system before we deforested the entire planet and did ourselves in.

    "That's traffic control."
  • by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:51PM (#4660441) Homepage

    So, are we then descended from cyborgs, or was that an untenable offshoot of the main branch of human evolution?

  • Phew! (Score:4, Funny)

    by IainHere ( 536270 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:52PM (#4660456)
    This news should really help my forthcoming paternity suit.

    Thanks slashdot!
  • Obviously, it was an advance scout from the Borg collective.
  • by Danny Rathjens ( 8471 ) <(slashdot2) (at) (rathjens.org)> on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:56PM (#4660508)
    Wow, I didn't realize that pravda had turned into a national inquirer type of paper.
    The funny thing about this article is how it starts out plausible enough, albiet not newsworthy, much like a decent troll, before it gets into the nitty gritty of UFO's and cyborg Neanderthals as monitoring devices.
    Another headline is "America Wants to Use Biological Weapons on Iraq"
    The truly sad part is that there are many people in the world who believe nonsense like this.
    p.s. Why is this in "science" category instead of "it's funny, laugh"? Did Hemos fall for the troll?
    • More interesting tidbits from Pravda:

      "Japan didn't capitulate in 1945"

      "Therefore, what kind of anomalous events can be dangerous for planes? They are UFOs, balls of lightening, meteorites, energy fields that humans know nothing about, or even unknown forms of life in the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere."

      "I hope so much for Vladimir Putin now. It seems to me that he is like Joseph Stalin. I treat Stalin with respect, and I think that he was a very wise leader."

      "Fire ants, Solenopsis Invicta (invincible), are ready to destroy any and all enemies, regardless of size[...] At first, it seems that they just idle around their ant hill. However, this idling time might be used to plan well-coordinated attacks."

      "Bin Laden Gives Credit Where Credit's Due - Bush and Western leaders to blame for deaths of Moscow and Bali terrorism victims"

      • "Fire ants, Solenopsis Invicta (invincible), are ready to destroy any and all enemies, regardless of size[...] At first, it seems that they just idle around their ant hill. However, this idling time might be used to plan well-coordinated attacks."
        These guys have obviously never been to S. Texas, where the well-coordinated attacks have already begun, and humans counter-attack with everything from lawnmowers to diazinon to gasoline. It's a civil war, and the prize is the finest piece of Real Estate in the world. DEATH TO THE FIRE ANTS!!! MAY THEY ALL ROT IN HELL WITH THE COCKROACHES!!!
  • If Stalin knew that Pravda.ru [pravda.ru] would be around so long, I think he'd be proud. His propaganda machine has outlived him and continues on even today. It is always fun to check the top stories at Pravda.ru and see what the "Russian slant" is. Best headline I see on there right now: Where Is Stalin When You Need Him?.
  • What?

    Quote from the article:


    Currently, we have no scientific data proving that aliens come to Earth from other planets. However, the first idea that comes to mind is that UFOs are from other planets. If we rely upon many statements and the evidence of UFOs or extraterrestrial visits to Earth, we can consider our planet as a space colony. And different space centers are very active here. They send their robots, cyborgs, and hominids to the Earth to collect information and materials, to perform experiments on human beings, including even complex surgical operations. In many cases, these operations resulted in mutilations later treated as abnormalities by pathologoanatomists and archeologists. The experiments were evidently performed with a view to create new cloned creatures. These facts allow one to say talk about the alien origin of Homo sapiens.


    I don't know whether the poster linked to the wrong site, but this sure as hell isn't about scientists proving anything about pre-historic DNA.
  • Read down in the article. They start talking about some 4000 year old ice mummy that was possibly a 'cyborg'. That paper will print any tripe.
  • That the Slashdot editors really really do not read the articles they link to.

    For Instance


    The mummy isnt from a Pharaoh grave; it was discovered in a block of eternal ice in a mountainous area in Central Mongolia in 1995. It was in the ice within four thousand years. The mummy had long, red hair reaching its shoulders and massive tattooed forearms.

    What is especially interesting, it is supposed that some of the internals and several parts of the brain were made of unknown artificial materials. It may be that they were created in a step-wise manner in the course of very complicated operations; the operations were performed on a more perfect level compared with todays operations. Scientists Justin Manners (the USA) and Kent Jennings (England) studied the mummy; they say that the surgical manipulation performed on the mummy was designed for to create a perfect cyborg, which could carry out observations and collect data. The scientists say that during its life, the mummy could have been a cyborg, a creature made by a combination of features of a robot and a hominoid. The notion hominid denotes a representative of the primates class, which includes fossil man as well as contemporary people (dont mix it with a humanoid, an extraterrestrial resembling a human by its appearance).


    Yeah right and Al Gore invented the internet.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      People say that, but I have yet to get a goatse.cx (or a mirror of same) link published... I submit one or two every single day under a variety of topics.
      • People say that [the /. eds don't check links], but I have yet to get a goatse.cx (or a mirror of same) link published.

        The trick is to set up a site the uses a SLOW redirect - say five minutes. The eds go check the site and it looks fine - then close the windows or use their back button - never the wiser about the redirect. But when the article is submitted a good many users will click on the link and leave it open past the five minutes - certain to get a few gasps from the co-workers walking by when the goats.cx page comes up.

        Alternatively, you could get a real story accepted that points to a page you control, then once it gets posted - change it to a goats.cx mirror or instant redirect.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @02:46PM (#4661678)


    > I figured that the lack of a genetic relationship between the two species was already well known

    "We are not related" and "lack of a genetic relationship" greatly overstate the case. Humans "have a genetic relationship" with all species, and exceed 98% identity (depending on the way you measure it) even with chimps, and we are much more closely related to the Neanderthals than to the chimps.

    What scientists actually say is that we are not descended from the Neanderthals.

  • That's interesting. In Portugal a few years back, a Neaderthal-Homo Sapien hybrid child skeleton was found.

    http://www.freeessays.cc/db/4/alx57.shtml

    If a known hybrid exists, it is highly unlikely that absolutely no Neaderthal DNA made its way into modern homo sapien DNA. However, it may be extremely limited and require widespread analysis to indicate where modern Neaderthal lineage may still exist.

    I don't trust this story because of the bottom, though. If an ancient cyborg was found, it would rock the foundation of modern religion and evolutionary science.
    • by Lars Arvestad ( 5049 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @04:55PM (#4663010) Homepage Journal
      From what I understand, the current knowledge is well captured by a quote [archaeology.org] from Archaeology [archaeology.org]:
      If Neandertals made a significant genetic contribution to modern humans, similarities should exist between DNA of Neandertals and that of people from Europe, where the Neandertals persisted the longest. Pääbo and his colleagues compared the Neandertal DNA to that from five modern populations, but it proved no closer to DNA from modern Europeans than to that from four other groups. While this does not rule out the possibility of Neandertal and modern human mixing, it suggests that the Neandertal genetic contribution to modern gene pools, if any, was small.
      Svante Pääbo is a respected expert on ancient DNA, and was the first (whose student...) sequenced Neandertal DNA.
      • It seems unlikely for one very simple reason...why would some one of another species (or subspecies, I suppose) be attractive to humans? Granted there are currently those few people who get into things like sex with farm animals, and most likely the prehistoric equivalents of them would have probably had no problem with Neandertal's, the vast majority would simply not been interested. Sexual attractiveness, while governed somewhat by cultural ideas, is pretty deeply rooted in biology, and the fact is that if a Neanderthal woman wouldn't do the trick for me or you, it probably wouldn't for Cro-Magnon man either. In general, people are considered more attractive the closer they are to average in various biometric measures...even the hottest Neanderthal chick in the world would not have even approached that. So while hybrids may have occurred if the two populations were in contact, and may have even been fertile (which seems possible, since despite not being directly related, the genetic relationship is really quite close), the resulting hybrid is still going to be ugly, by both Neanderthal and Homo sapiens sapiens standards, and not really likely to contribute to the gene pool. Not to mention quite likely unhealthy to begin with.
    • Hey, horses and donkeys can produce offspring, but they aren't fertile. This hybrid of which you speak might not be either.
    • Hybrids between closely related species are not uncommon but they're often infertile (mules are the best known example).

      These hybrids, of course, would not have any living descendants.

  • I thought for sure the server was cracked post Slashdoting and the story rewritten as a joke.

    Then I saw the other posts here.

    I'm actually surprised that hasn't happened yet.

  • scientists tend to pronounce it 'knee-anne-der-TALL'
    • Time to see if I remember any of my German classes correctly. If something I post in here is wrong, please feel free to correct me (and knowing /., I'm sure someone will)

      This is because the "thal" in Neanderthal comes from the German word "thal", meaning valley. German does not pronounce a "th" sound like English does, so the th becomes kind of an aspirated t.

      So where did the name Neanderthal come from? Glad you asked! Back in the, um, past (I obviously didn't pay too much attention in German class), a German named Neumann owned a valley of some sort. He and some friends decided to try their hand at a little archaeology, which was quite popular at the time. Lo and behold, they find this weird looking skeleton. To come up with a name for the creature, Herr Neumann took his last name, converted it into Latin (Neu mann (German) = New man (English) = Neo+ander (Latin, I think)), and tacked on the word for valley at the end, so the name is a hybrid of Latin and German, Neanderthal
  • Hubbard is at it again. Now the aliens landed and made cyborgs out of our ancestral cousins. I bet Ash went back and killed the cyborgs making way for our rise to dominance. "Alright you hairy Gates wannabes, this is my boom stick!"
  • This article works in the same idiom as the Weekly World News...same tone, same approach to information. Referring to most of the people as simply "scientists," even calling them "famous scientists" at the end of the article. Real journalists don't quote people like this. Real journalists get information from multiple sources. And real journalists don't suddenly start talking about cyborgs and aliens in the middle of an ostensibly serious article. Is this a translation of a Russian article? Is the language used as bad in the original Russian, or is this written in English by someone for whom English is a second language?

    "Neanderthal man...was considered to be in the intermediate position between the pithecanthropus and the modern human." Not by most anthropologists. Neanderthal man (Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis--HSN) was considered to have died out about 30,000 years ago. "Died out" as in "leaving no descendents," or "not able to be called the ancestor of jack squat in modern times." They thrived for about 200,000 years. Homo Sapiens Sapiens--HSS--appeared 120,000 years ago. So, for about 90,000 years HSS and HSN shared space.

    For those who read the Clan of the Cave Bear series, the first book is about a HSS girl raised by a tribe of HSN.

    The Neanderthals were the first group to display abstract thought. They buried their dead, they had rituals, they drew abstract symbols in their artwork. They were not nearly as dumb as previously thought.

    There are 2 theories about HSN: that HSS came "out of Africa" and killed/displaced HSN, or that modern HSS are descended from HSN and other hominids in Europe and Asia.

    Actually, it occurs to me that all that I wrote about journalists above really relates to editors. This wasn't posted on slashdot as a joke. This was posted under the category of "science," not humor. It doesn't belong in this category at all. It's a joke that the slashdot editors decided to let this one through.

    More useful information can be found from lots of other places:

    Slashdot is never going to be a "breaking news" site. It's a news consolidation site. Don't try to beat everyone out the door with the news when it isn't really news. Check those sources, guys.
  • I just had to do some Google searches on the 'cyborg' mummy, and I actually found a neat article [mugu.com] about it. It's interesting to note that these mummies have been found in Xinjiang for over a hundred years, but mostly disregarded until recently. According to DNA testing, they share common ancestry with modern Europeans, and the famous European 'iceman' Ötzi, found in a glacier on the Austrian-Italian border. Kinda sets the history of the area on its' ear, really. The article is a neat read.

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