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Neanderthal Sex Boosted Immunity In Modern Humans 190

NotSanguine writes "Sexual relations between ancient humans and their evolutionary cousins were critical for our modern immune systems, researchers report (paper itself is subscription only) in the journal Science. Mating with Neanderthals and another ancient group called Denisovans introduced genes that help us cope with viruses to this day, they conclude."
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Neanderthal Sex Boosted Immunity In Modern Humans

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  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @04:37PM (#37229828)

    There's one way to bring competition back: allow polygamy.

    Let the best, brightest, fittest mate with as many as possible and have their spouses/kids be under the same legal protection monogamous marriages are right now.

    With most mammals, it's what nature does anyway.

  • by V!NCENT ( 1105021 ) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @04:47PM (#37229900)

    You do realise that being the fittest (read: more succesful) in our current society, means being a total asshole with shitloads of money to pay for every single need?

    There have been some tests that show that the happiest (non-suicidal people) are the people who arent stupid (120).

    So that leaves us with a 110 IQ, rich asshole to mate with everyone.

    That doesn't sound so nice to me.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @04:53PM (#37229950) Journal
    Apparently, one of the major upsides of sex(from a darwinian, rather than purely recreational, perspective) of the not-intuitively-all-that-sensible arrangement of having to seek out a conspecific, risk sexually transmitted infection, and mate simply in order to reproduce, is the rapid genetic diversification you can achieve by recombining genomes with others. Your asexual organisms have it much easier; but they have to depend on mutation(or, as with some bacteria, quasi-sex genetic exchange mechanisms).

    The neat organisms, in my opinion, are the edge cases that can go either way. this piece [](sorry about the paywall...) examines snails that can either reproduce sexually or spawn clones asexually. As it turns out, in areas with higher parasite loads, the snails resort to sex at much higher rates in order to keep abreast of the parasite threat, while the less pressured snails go for the rapid and low-risk strategy of asexual cloning.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @05:52PM (#37230376) Journal
    Probably don't need to worry about our slimy overlords; but it would be interesting to know if this bit of immune-boosting quasi-bestiality helped make humans the pervasive species they are:

    Compared to hunter-gatherers, residents of combination agricultural and town/city civilizations are horribly disease riddled. Animal husbandry means zoonotic diseases and parasites in horrific quantity, grain-based agriculture means truly hideous oral health, and urbanization means drinking and sleeping where you shit. It's only in places with 19th+ century sanitation and 20th+ century medicine that the advantages of wealth and technology in sedentary civilizations started to translate into disease levels less horrid than pre-agricultural ones(even then, things like the yearly flu shot because some new combination of porcine, avian, and human viruses has emerged is a classic animal-husbandry parasite issue).. One wonders if any other reasonably-smart hominids ever took a crack at farming; but had to give it up or die because their immune systems just couldn't hack it...
  • Re:Old news? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 27, 2011 @06:03PM (#37230454)

    No, she was thinking of potential offspring.

    she's probably a typical gold-digger type of woman. the kind most want to be tho some are fat. the fatties who could not become gold diggers hate themselves even more for that and find refuge in a big greasy bucket of comfort food.

    seriously. check the marriage statistics yourself before you dismiss me as a troll. even women who are millionaires want to marry men who are multi-millionaires. from seeing much of the world i can say that the abusive assholes who have lots of money are far more likely to find a loving wife than the middle-class guys who have character and kindness and enjoy romance. funny cause those are the things women say they want. hilarious the way they say one thing then go for another isn't it?

    saying most women are gold diggers or engage in a form of legalized prostitution is not a slur or an insult. it's a realistic assessment of how they behave and how to most simply explain it per occam's razor. the essential nature of most women is that of a whore. the difference between the regular average woman and the street prostitute is that one is honest about the nature of the transaction and tries to maximize the number of cliens, while the other is deluded to the point where she'd get highly offended if you point out what her tendencies and preferences say about her and tries to monopolize a single client.

    women wonder why they're not taken more seriously especially in business. it's because they need to learn to be honest with themselves.

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday August 27, 2011 @06:13PM (#37230526) Homepage

    Now would that be a society based upon psychopathic greed or intellectual prowess or humanitarianism or athletic ability or to stupid to plan ahead and use contraceptives.

    Just want to clarify the basis of selection and not even look to touch on the issue of which is better for human society a matriarchy or a patriarchy. Just that at the moment it is fairly clear that majority polygamy based societies seem to be pretty unstable, treat the plural members of that relationship more like chattel, child abuse seems to be a national pass time and fairly backward.

    Perhaps someone needs to explain the fundamental difference between humans 'a social species' and say lizards. It is not competition within human society, it is competition of the species who by collective and social effort establish species competitiveness. In fact it is very likely that to promote psychotic, lizard like, competition within the human species would break down human society and thus leave humanity vulnerable to direct physical competition with the rest of the biosphere (a guaranteed physical loser).

    In human society it is basically insane to think of the rest of human society as the competitor and as something to be preyed upon, exploited and competed with. This is regardless of the last thirty years mass media messages that psychopathy and narcissism are desirable states of a mass consumption humanity (selfishness and forcing ones ego upon others).

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.