reply to post by SLAYER69
I was just pondering over this very subject, I then log on to ATS only to find the subject already being discussed!
Anyway, it is a subject I find very exciting. I’ll add my thoughts on the matter:
One point you may have excluded (I have not as yet read through the entire post, so apologies if I’m wrong) is the correlation between the many
expansions of h. sapiens over the globe and the interbreeding with h. neanderthalensis.
Since most non-africans carry a varying amount of neanderthal genes, the earliest interbreeding among the two species must have occurred in the Middle
East, the first area which humans travelled to out of Africa, and where populations of Neanderthals were living. Thereafter, h. sapiens spread to
India, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Australia and East Asia (areas generally populated by h. erectus). Then, for some reason (possibly climatic
reasons – the ice age), Europe seems to have been among the very last areas on the globe to be inhabited by h. sapiens. Crossing over to Europe from
Russia, Turkey and the Gibraltar Straits. This is believed to have happened at the latest, around 35.000 years ago.
Now, these h. sapiens crossing over to Europe would carry with them genes from h. neanderthalensis (from the Middle East), and perhaps even from h.
erectus? On top of this, they would then interbreed with the Neanderthal populations living there, getting a new boost with Neanderthal genes; this
would explain why Europeans have the largest amount of N-genes.
The human populations elsewhere would, by the time of the megalithic constructions (see below), have assimilated so far with the other hominids as to
make little difference in their construction.
The other point is about Neanderthal genes playing a part in the construction of megalithic sites.
First of all, these early megalithic structures were most commonly in the shape of: standing stones (menhirs), alignments (stone rows) and dolmens
(megalithic burials). Of course there are many other types, but what is important is that the earliest ones were generally of the above three types.
Before asking ourselves the question whether anything “neanderthal” participated in the construction of these monuments one has to know the proper
context within which these monuments were constructed.
Their builders were certainly very interested in one thing: huge rocks. Out of all materials, why choose rocks, why not build monuments out of mud,
earth, wood or bone? (well, they probably did but nothing of it would remain today). Even if they built things of other materials, the choice of rocks
highlights that there was something special about them.
If they lacked any significance, why waste so much blood, sweat and tears to cut, transport and build? This in my opinion implies that they did not
choose rocks just for the sake of it, it implies that it was something special about the rocks, but what?
In prehistoric times, rocks would appear to be the most indestructible element known to stone age man. Well, that is, until they decided to try and
“destroy” them, break down huge rocks into smaller ones, turn them into objects, or transport them over long distances for the purpose of
constructing great monuments, of which some would be burial sites for their dead. I could go on forever about the symbolism of rocks, but the choice
of rocks was special.
If the hybrids participated in the constructions, perhaps they wanted to “tame” the almost invincible rocks with their added strength, to become
masters of the rocks, and bury their dead within them. It sure is an interesting thought.
But when exactly were these monuments erected?
Now, the earliest Megalithic structures (yet discovered) is Göbekli Tepe, in Turkey, with its 12.000 years of age. Then, between 10000 and 3200 years
ago, megaliths were constructed in Europe. Most of them, however, were erected during the Neolithic (6500-3500 years ago).
This is a very
long time (like 20.000 years) after the last Neanderthals (well, the last yet discovered). But were the N-genes still strong
among the humans of Europe at the megalithic period? Did the hybrids still “exist”?
I do not know for certain if the “Neanderthal strength” would survive in our genes for so long (I know too little about genetics), but we do
happen to have the highest percentage of N-genes right here in Europe, it is an interesting thought however.
As for the rest of the world:
In the Western Middle East and North Africa (and parts of East Africa too), there was also many megalithic constructions, however I’m not certain of
the dating here (logically, some would follow in the Göbekli tradition).
Megaliths are found in Northeast Asia too. In fact, Korea has the highest concentration of megalithic burials in the world (some 40% of all megalithic
burials worldwide). They have been dated to 3500 years ago at the latest (and the last were constructed around 2500 years ago). In Southeast Asia too,
the Megalithic tradition is commonplace and persisted in some places well into the 19th century. Of South Asia I know little of Megaliths, but I have
read of some findings there as well.
In conclusion it seems that the East Asian ones was constructed very late in our history, so the N-genes would probably have been so watered down as
to make zero difference. Perhaps the same is true of the rest of Asia (haven’t found much yet on datings). But as for Europe (which was among the
latest to be populated by h. sapiens and getting a fresh injection of new h. Neanderthal blood) it is perhaps
possible that hybrids were still
in existence. What we know for certain is that we do not know exactly what techniques stone age people used to construct the megalithic sites.
Experiments have shown that they can be constructed by our hands alone without too much effort. But it will still remain speculations.
It is a very interesting thought, but I would like to hear the opinion from someone with knowledge of genetics.