The scientific consensus regarding neanderthals is that they’re a distinct cousin of humans that died out ~30,000 years ago.  However, there is still a lot of debate concerning these facts.

How distinct were they? Were they different enough to be considered a separate species or were they just a sub-species of human? Did they die out a little later than we thought?

Yet one organisation makes claims even more debatable than those. Creation Revolution is a site no stranger to controversy, previously suggesting the early evidence of fire is all wrong for no discernible reason.

Now they’re arguing that neanderthals didn’t even appear until ~2,000 BC and were just an ethnic group of humans who were later subsumed into the rest of society.

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.

Kind of, but not really.

As I said earlier, there is debate over how distinct neanderthals and humans are. However, this debate centres around whether to define neanderthals as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.

Nobody is suggesting neanderthals were “fully human” (Homo sapiens sapiens) they just might be a sub-species. Yet for Creation Revolution’s thesis to be right, even classifying them as a sub-species must be wrong.

So they immediately set out trying to show neanderthals were Homo sapiens sapiens.

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 [between us and them], but then so do the same tests reveal genetic differences between today’s ethnic groups.

Kind of, but not really.

The statements regarding genetic diversity here are so vague to be meaningless. I’ll prove it.

There have been a number of genetic tests done on various Bannanas.  The tests do reveal some genetic differences [betwen us and them], but then so do the same tests reveal genetic differences between today’s ethnic groups.

The logic here is that since humans have genetic differences between them there can be genetic differences between us and something else and they’ll still be human.

But they provide no clues about how much genetic variation can be tolerated within a single species, just that some can be. As such they could justify calling anything human. It’s absurd and does nothing to prove their point.

However, if they tried to give a range of allowed variation they’d blow their argument out the water. There are ~8 differences between humans’ mtDNA. There are ~27 differences between humans’ and neanderthals’ mtDNA.

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.

This is the singular part of the article that isn’t wrong, isn’t “kind of but not really right.” It’s actually just plain right. People do indeed have some neanderthal DNA in them.

But sadly this spell of being right doesn’t last for long.

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.

Kind of, but not really.

First, note the casual racism of this paragraph. Earlier they correctly noted that “most people of non-African descent” have neanderthal DNA. This, to them, translates as “European.” The rest of the non-African world, apparently, does not exist.

Secondly, the neanderthal DNA can be accounted for by only a handful of interbreeding events. “Mostly absorbed” is a vast overstatement, in reality only a handful of neanderthals mated with humans with the vast majority dying out.

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.

Kind of, but not really.

Producing viable young is a good rule of thumb when it comes to defining species but in reality it is a lot more complex than that, especially when you are dealing with subspecies.They can still interbreed and be viewed as distinct.

Take, this situation for example.

The confusing evolution of the greenish warbler

All around one side of the ring the populations are distinct but can still interbreed, making them subspecies. Yet when they meet up at the top they can no longer interbreed, rendering them different species.

But at the same time they’re sub-species, but also different species, but also…..gahhh! It’s confusing, and hopefully shows why Creation Revolution’s “basic definition” isn’t telling the whole story.

Groups can still interbreed and be distinct sub-species, and can still interbreed and…not…Bloody greenish warbler.

The best explanation for Neanderthals starts with the Tower of Babel and the dispersion of people all over the earth.

No. Not even “kind of,” just plain ol’ “no!”

How does anything written before this justify the Tower of Babel as the best explanation? All they’ve done is (badly) argue neanderthals are fully human. Even if we grant that, how does that in any way lend credence to this Biblical tale?

The answer is that nothing justifies these claims.

The longer each group was fairly isolated from the others, these specific characteristics would have become more pronounced.

Except it was ~600,000 years of evolution that resulted in the distinct neanderthal traits which they’re condensing into the few thousand years since the tower of Babel, which some creationists place at ~2,000 years BC.

And they don’t believe in evolution, ha!

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.

This raises the obvious question – where did Europeans “evolve?” Neanderthals lived across Europe so Creation Revolution’s model of isolation would suggest that therefore there was nobody else in Europe, allowing neanderthals to develop unique traits.

So where were the Europeans during this time?

This is a t-shirt. Needless to say I want it.

The sheer laughability of these claims is made all the more disturbing by the fact they’re trying to be a lot more scientific this time. But since the science doesn’t support them they wind up distorting the claims.

This results in a lot of their statements being (as you may have noticed) “kind of, but not really” right. If someone didn’t have the required knowledge to know why this is it would probably be rather convincing and there’s the risk they’d buy into this claptrap.

….And what of the reference-vert I hear you ask?

This time it isn’t so egregious, being a short advert for a DVD they sell. Curiously it’s a seemingly random DVD about the development of the foetus. Not quite sure what that has to do with neanderthals and thus why it’s a references.

All the more evidence that this is probably just a glorified advert.

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5 thoughts on “Neanderthals were alive recently – misguided mondays”

    1. Ahahaha!

      Sorry, I can’t really say anything to that as I’m too busy laughing.

      Whichever way you cut it, erectus was distinct. Whilst it is pretty much an unbroken lineage from erectus to sapiens and people have used that to claim erectus was sapiens; even they acknowledge the presence of different “grades” of sapiens and firmly place erectus in a very different grade to modern humans.

    2. Sorry, I was so engrossed by the hilarity I think I missed the point there.

      Basically, they’re trying to justify ignoring erectus when discussing human origins because some people categorize it as sapiens.

      This is missing the point somewhat, since even the people who think it is sapiens note it is a different grade – evolution is still occurring here. It doesn’t matter what you label the specimens, there is still definite evolution.

  1. Even different species can interbreed and sometimes produce viable, fertile offspring.

    Take mules, for instance. Male mules are indeed sterile (usually–fertile ones have been observed), but females are often fertile.

    Under “Haldane’s rule,” in hybrids of species which have two sexes one of which has sex chromosomes which don’t match (mammals and birds, for instance), whichever sex has the mismatched chromosomes is the one likely to be sterile. (In birds, it’s females.)

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