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Gene Survival

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Neanderthal Survival

The Kakapo & the Cuckoo

 

The Kakapo is an ancient parrot found in New Zealand, and it is an endangered species. It is heavy and flightless but it appears to forget this at times when it climbs trees and falls out futilely flapping its vestigial wings in comedy cartoon fashion. It used to be able to fly eons ago and that is how it got there it flew. New Zealand was isolated and the Kakapo were in paradise there were no predators, at least until the coming of humans.

 

The humans unfortunately found Kakapo delicious. They, the Kakapo of course, have become an endangered species, partly also because of their mating habits. They mate only at the flowering of a particular tree. The male seeing the signs and feeling the urge, races out to the end of a rocky promontory and emits a low frequency booming call to attract a mate. The female hearing this masculine bass baritone song of desire becomes all a flutter but where the heck is he?

 

As you will be aware low frequency sound is omni directional to find the source is extremely difficult. A highly frustrated female may with luck eventually find him consummate the marriage and produce an egg.

 

The conventional opinion was that the Kakapo was stupid and had no survival skill. But is that indeed the case. Along comes that brilliant man Douglas Adams, yes, he of Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy fame. As a biologist of capable of mental agility and lateral thinking he reassessed the information.

 

In fact the Kakapo had survived for tens of thousands of years. It habitat was not limitless and there are actually three options. One is to breed prolifically, in which case you strain or denude the resources, and either some or all the offspring will starve to death. The second is to become territorial and drive others out to starve and die. The third is to limit the population growth, a solution which the delectable parrot used to live happily, without conflict or damage to the environment for thousands of years. That is of course until the arrival of the ultimate predator homo sapiens. Today of all humans it would appear that only the Chinese have taken this lesson on board as a national policy.

 

Neanderthals faced a harsh environment for more than 100,000 years in the ice ages. They had limited food resources and depended almost solely on their hunting skills. They as far as we can gather they lived in relatively small family groups and I would contend that they like the Kakapo had a relatively low birth rate. In this manner they did not eat out or destroy their environment. They would have been likely to need to relate to other family groups to co-operate in hunting activities and for marriage. As we have a civilization which survived for two to three hundred thousand years we must assume there was a reasonable amount of interchange within the Neanderthals to avoid inbreeding. I would point to the Pheremonal barriers to incest which exist within primates and other mammals, and which appear to exist in primates at least even cross species. This would suggest that like the Inuit & Eskimo Neanderthals were hospitable rather than hostile to strangers.

 

Their lack of hostility and aggressiveness would have given them little protection from the aggressive and more numerous tribal Sapiens. One only has to stand back and observe the behaviour of modern sapiens in normal society as well as in warfare to see interbreeding and rape as almost commonplace. In this manner it is reasonable to postulate a cuckoo effect. That is  a form of genetic reverse brood parasitism took place. In other worlds a sleeper genetic component was laid (if one can use that word) in at least a minority of Sapiens. There is indeed some evidence of such interbreeding with the finding of the Gibraltar child skeleton.

 

Given the above it is therefore reasonable and logical to suggest that it is possible and even likely that that Cuckoo like the Neanderthal genes have survived within by flowing through the Sapiens gene pool. I must of course address the question of so called genetic “evidence” that there is no connection. The evidence appears to be based on very shaky grounds. The Neanderthal genetic material available is from only 1 or 2 individuals whereas that of modern sapiens is in the billions. It is like a one eyed diver looking for a single pearl in an ocean of mud. The bias by sapiens scientists is really quite remarkable. The desire to contend superiority and exclusivity for sapiens is a miasma which clouds the whole issue.

 

HUP Human Potential Development Centre

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Last modified: December 22, 2006

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