Friday, January 10, 2020

Branches Of The Genetic Tree

Today I conclude this look at Neanderthals, and tomorrow I'll start taking you elsewhere in the Museum of History.

This is the fossilized skeleton of a Neanderthal male, whose remains and the tools with him proved that Neanderthals walked upright, just like us.

All of us are branches on the same genetic tree, and for homo sapiens and Neanderthals, that included contact.

This painting, Stone Age Abduction, still plays to the old stereotypes about Neanderthals. Paul Jamin painted it in the 19th century, so the stereotypes were to be expected.

A series of displays show statistics on various species of the human genetic tree.

DNA analysis is examined at a spot near the end of the exhibit. Science now looks at Neanderthals in a very different light. 

One of the things I found particularly interesting was at the lower left. Science has been able to determine how three vowels would have sounded being pronounced by Neanderthals, based on study of the vocal tract. These vowels sound a bit different than how we pronounce them, but not that different. If you're of European descent, you're going to have anywhere up to 5 percent Neanderthal in your genetic background. They interbred with us, and in doing so went into decline. And yet because of that interbreeding, they live on in us.

Leaving the exhibit, we're left with this question.

 A final display is a forensic reconstruction by Elizabeth Daynes. This is a Neanderthal woman given the name Kinga.

Kinga looks quite friendly, and quite contemporary.


  1. This was really an interesting exhibit, thank you for sharing this.

  2. I wonder how people who believe in divine creation reconcile themselves to Neanderthals when god is supposed to have made man in his own image. Or perhaps they believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and think anything else is all a hoax anyway.

  3. Another fascinating post, William !

  4. Hello, thanks for sharing this interesting exhibit! Enjoy your day, wishing you a great weekend!

  5. ...our ancestry is a lot more complex than many want to believe.

  6. Thank you for sharing!
    That was fascinating.

  7. @Iris: you're welcome.

    @Maywyn: thanks.

    @Lady Fi: indeed.

    @David: true.

    @Francisco: thanks.

    @Karl: thank you.

    @Eileen: you're welcome.

    @Tom: definitely.

    @Janey: true.

    @Ella: it was.

  8. I enjoyed meeting Kinga. She does indeed look quite contemporary. I learned a lot about Neanderthals from your posts. Thank you. :-)

  9. This looks like such a fascinating exhibit. I'm so glad you posted about it.

  10. This has been an interesting series's kind of neat seeing Kinga dressed in today's fashion!

  11. Great to see these exhibits...if I were closer I'd want to see them in person!

  12. A wonderful exhibit! Thanks for the extensive tour, William.

  13. Much hard work has been done to give us this look at Neanderthals. I think there's still much more to discover.

  14. There's a lot to learn in that exhibition.

  15. A wonderful and very informative exhibition.

  16. Glad I have some Neanderthal. That’s a rich background.

  17. These are very informative posts, William! Thanks

  18. @DJan: you're welcome.

    @Jeanie: I enjoyed it.

    @Tanya: it certainly is.

    @Barbara: I enjoyed showing this exhibit.

    @RedPat: you're welcome.

    @Red: I agree.

    @Marleen: indeed.

    @Bill: that it is.

    @Marie: definitely.

    @Cloudia: thank you!

  19. This has been a very interesting series William, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  20. I used to spend a lot of "free time" reading as much archaeology as I could lay my hands on.

  21. I'm surprised Kinga doesn't have a phone in her hand.

  22. i just saw a news report about DNA being used to help health diagnosis'. The reporter said he had his DNA analyzed and found a significant neanderthal heritage.

  23. We are all 'connected' ~ if we could get over the us vs them in everything may be we could have peace. ~ ideal thinking ^_^

    Happy Moments to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  24. Fascinating information about our early ancestors:)

  25. @Jan: you're welcome.

    @Gemel: indeed.

    @Joanne: I find it fascinating.

    @Kay: me too!

    @Sharon: many of us have it.

    @Carol: that's true.

    @Rosie: indeed.