Neanderthal Demise?

mosaix

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I hope this doesn’t cross the ‘World Affairs’ boundary’s.

A recent article in New Scientist reported that people with significant Neanderthal dna in their dna makeup suffered higher morbidity rates than others when infected with corona virus. And that this explained, in part, the higher morbidity rates of people from South East Asia where Neanderthal dna is more common in the population.

There have been numerous theories put forward to explain the demise of the Neanderthals but I have never seen any suggestion that their dna makeup may have made them more susceptible to disease (I’m not talking about coronavirus here, just any disease).

On the face of it it would appear to be one of the most obvious causes but, on the other hand, the most difficult to detect. Maybe that’s why it’s not been put forward as a reason. Maybe it has and I’ve not heard of it?
 

CupofJoe

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I read that too [or at least an article citing NS].
With every plus there has to be a minus. Maybe the Neanderthals had better resilience to something else, but never came across the Covid family during their era.
Something along the lines of Lactose tolerance being higher in Europe than it is in Asia... [as I'm sure I read that the default human condition is that we should be Lactose intolerant, but somehow the switch that lets babies drink milk didn't get turned off in European early humans... I don't know if that maps to Neanderthal dna or not].
 

Parson

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I read this too, but my thinking went "Every correlation does no more than suggest a causation."
 

JimC

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Lactose tolerance came along very recently. Neanderthals were long gone.
 

Venusian Broon

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From a quick google search, just in the past few years:



Essentially they are saying that DNA makeup may have made them more susceptible to disease - i.e. the vast number of diseases that Homo Sapians were bringing in that they were just not used to.
 

BAYLOR

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Given their overall numbers small compared toe Cro-Magnon man. Could inbreeding have played a role in their demise?
 

Venusian Broon

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Given their overall numbers small compared toe Cro-Magnon man. Could inbreeding have played a role in their demise?
No one really knows, I just posted a couple of theories that posit disease as an important factor. There are many more theories.

Their hybrid descendants still live on of course. By your same argument what caused the demise of 'Cro-magon' man in Europe? (Ans: there was interbreeding between the two make modern men, as for some of us they are both our forebears.)
 

BAYLOR

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No one really knows, I just posted a couple of theories that posit disease as an important factor. There are many more theories.

Their hybrid descendants still live on of course. By your same argument what caused the demise of 'Cro-magon' man in Europe? (Ans: there was interbreeding between the two make modern men, as for some of us they are both our forebears.)
I wish Neanderthal man had survived .:confused:
 

Venusian Broon

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Wait, what? I didn't think Neanderthals ever got to Southeast Asia.
Here's another article that dicusses it:


It states that 63% of the Bangladesh population carries at least one copy of the Neanderthal varient in their genes!

Also it says that one of the Neanderthal genomes comes from "populations who originated in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia " This area has had a long history of east-west and west-east migrations of peoples, even just in the past 5-6000 years of history. That some of those who interbreed with Neanderthals there went East and then into Southeast Asia, carrying those Neanderthal genes* doesn't feel too fantastic.

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* Pure-breed Neanderthals would not be suited at all for the tropics, preferring colder climates, so yes, I doubt Neanderthals would have got to Southeast Asia.
 

JJewel

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I do remember reading, and this one of the few semi-scientific papers I ever read.

The theory was that the Cro-Mags targeted and mostly wiped out the Neanderthals and the few left were kept as slave, which made sense to me given human natures approach to everything. How their DNA survived was suggested as many were kept as sex slaves.

If it aint the same Kill, capture, dominate...

Now that I think about it, it is a good premise for a story?
 
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mosaix

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From a quick google search, just in the past few years:



Essentially they are saying that DNA makeup may have made them more susceptible to disease - i.e. the vast number of diseases that Homo Sapians were bringing in that they were just not used to.
Thanks for the links. @Venusian Broon. Not something I've read before.
 

Robert Zwilling

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I read somewhere that the immune system response is different between Neanderthals and later groups. The difference is the rate at which the immune systems responds. In Neanderthals, as well as in some current people, the response rate is slower. People who came out of Africa later, had immune systems with a quicker response, which is is also still found in some people. The quick response is a double edged sword. It can save you by limiting how far along a disease or infection is able to progress. If the immune response is too rapid, the body can end up killing itself to fight off the infection or disease. This can happen with the flu. The body attacks the lungs so viciously that you die from your lungs ceasing to work.

The idea that the effects of the spread of diseases in the interactions in the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries could have played a part in the disappearance of earlier peoples makes a lot of sense. The Denisovans also mysteriously disappeared. I read that the Denisovans tended to occupy the shores while the Neanderthals were much farther inland, perhaps because it was colder. The migrations along the shores probably ran like modern day highways which could partially account for the complete disappearance of the Denisovans as well.

It would appear that without the various populations intermixing, none of the genes from earlier groups would have carried on. Some genes that govern hair texture, height, sensitivity of the sense of smell, immune responses, adaptations to high altitude, and other characteristics (more studies need to be done) in modern humans are from Neanderthal, Denisovan, and perhaps others. I wonder if long ago, the adoption of genes from other peoples enhanced a groups' survival or not. Even today it is not known very well what the long term consequences are of having some different genes than your neighbor has when it comes to interacting with diseases. Perhaps someday people will be able to get horizontal gene transplants by injection to better meet increasingly unknown futures.
 

BAYLOR

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I do remember reading, and this one of the few semi-scientific papers I ever read.

The theory was that the Cro-Mags targeted and mostly wiped out the Neanderthals and the few left were kept as slave, which made sense to me given human natures approach to everything. How their DNA survived was suggested as many were kept as sex slaves.

If it aint the same Kill, capture, dominate...

Now that I think about it, it is a good premise for a story?
Neanderthals had a larger brain and had twice the physical strength of Cro-Magnon Man .
 

JJewel

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I did say a semi-scientific paper, so I had my doubts on the work.

Did feel it would make a good story was all :)
 

Stephen Palmer

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It's a mix of genetics, marginal environmental differences, the issue of small-scale groups finding it difficult to survive (for genetic and environmental reasons) and more. The author is particularly good on: archaeological interpretation, and the possibilities of how Neanderthals might have dealt with death. Fantastic book, highly recommended. Neanderthals were in many places across the world, and this is gone into also. Erm... that's all I've got at the moment! :)
 
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