Within the evolutionary world of human ancestry, there is still some controversy as whether or not Neanderthals were fully human or a separate species.  Many try to classify Neanderthals as a separate human-like species that went extinct, perhaps because they could not equally compete with modern man.

There have been a number of genetic tests done on various remains that have been identified as being Neanderthal.  The tests do reveal some genetic differences, but then so do the same tests reveal genetic differences between today’s ethnic groups as some people are finding out.

Carol Zall, a producer with PRI’s The World, knew that her grandparents had come from a small village called Kashuki in what was once considered Russian-Poland but is now Belarus.  She also knew that some of her ancestors had come from Austria-Hungary.  Being the inquisitive person she is, she spent about $200 to have her own genetic testing done in hopes it might help her learn more about her genealogy.

Most of the results were no surprise to her as she found out that most of her ancestors were Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe with a possible small amount of mixing with Moroccan Jews.  What did surprise her was to learn that according to the test, approximately 2.7% of her DNA came from Neanderthals.

During the process of having her own DNA tested, Zall learned that most people of non-African descent contain some Neanderthal DNA in them.

If this is true, then it proves that Neanderthals are not some separate human-like species that went extinct.  Instead, it shows that Neanderthals were fully human and were an ethnic group that has been mostly absorbed into the other European ethnic groups.

One of the most basic definitions of a species is that it cannot successfully interbreed with another species and produce viable young that are able to reproduce and carry one the line.  If Neanderthals were a separate species from modern humans, they would not have been able to interbreed and produce fertile young and we would not be walking around with their DNA in our cells.

The best explanation for Neanderthals starts with the Tower of Babel and the dispersion of people all over the earth.  As different language groups spread out, they settled into different areas.  As each group was separated from the other groups, their DNA variability was not as great and they all developed traits that were specific to them.  It may have been more rounded faces, darker or lighter skin tone, straight or curly hair, prominent eyebrow ridges, etc.  The longer each group was fairly isolated from the others, these specific characteristics would have become more pronounced.

Over time, populations grew in size and began to once again spread out and encounter each other.  As they did they began to intermarry, which once again mixed up their gene pool.  Eventually, the definitive Neanderthal traits were lost in the mixing.  However, from time to time, you may see someone that may exhibit some of those traits.  For instance there is a guy in our city that I have seen out shopping on occasion who has very prominent eyebrow ridges and reminds me of the depictions of Neanderthals.

God started out with one man, Adam and one woman Eve.  God promised her that she would be the mother of all mankind.  That means that we are all the descendants of Adam and Eve and that we are all related to each other.  And among those relations were the Neanderthals.  They may very possibly be your great, great  … grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Reference

Zall, Carol. How I traced my ancestry back to the Stone Age, BBC News, April 17, 2012.

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made (DVD)

When does life begin?

Take a journey from conception to birth with Dr. David Menton, former professor of anatomy at the prestigious Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  Dr. Menton provides both a biblical and scientific answer to the question of when life begins.

Taken from one of Dr. Menton’s lectures, this video will reveal the wondrous design of the womb along with the numerous miracles involved along every step of the development of the unborn child.

Following the tragic starvation induced death of Terry Schiavo, Dr. Menton clearly shows the value and sanctity of human life.

With grace and sensitivity Dr. Menton concludes with a salvation message and explanation of the second birth process as described in John 3.

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