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Sex, Love and Assimilation - From The Neanderthals to the Irish
Heart and Mind SERIES
Time.com has reported on a recent genetic project that took immense amounts of work. By taking modern day samples, and comparing to the genome of Neanderthals, they discovered that 1% to 4% of the latter three DNA samples is shared with Neanderthal's — proof that Neanderthals and early modern humans interbred. As they observed: "The fact that Neanderthal DNA was not present in the genomes of the two present-day Africans indicates that interbreeding occurred after some root population of early modern humans had left Africa, but before the species evolved into distinct groups in Europe and Asia."
As Time continues, "The "gene flow" of Neanderthal DNA into early human DNA was found only in one direction: from them to us. The study found no early modern human DNA in the Neanderthal genome. It is not clear whether interbreeding may have happened a few times among small populations or frequently among large populations — the genetic remnants would look the same to scientists' current technology. The Neanderthal DNA appears in the modern human genomes randomly, suggesting it offers no evolutionary benefit and is merely a genetic relic."
Neanderthal Married Into Cro Magnon Relationships
Why not? The Neanderthals had been around for over 100,000 years. That's a long time. This Cro Magnon group looked different. Had more tools. Better living conditions, and because they had come from far away and survived and succeeded all the way up into the Middle East and Europe, they were better adapted, probably in many ways. Eventually the Neanderthals just went out of existence. But their genes are still with us as "genetic relics".
They Succeeded Sexually and Romantically. But They Are Still Extinct.
"You're a bloody Neanderthal", she screamed at him in her Croatian accent at her Neanderthal husband. "You can't hunt like my people. We've got two kids, and you come back with groundhogs. Meathead my brother has a big tent and his family has fabulous furs." Yawno, the Neanderthal Husband muttered. "I just can't keep up with the fastest guys, and I still have not mastered that spear. I have trained, but I just can't run as fast, or hunt as well -- as Meathead and his dudes. I think they don't let me get the best shots."
Obviously, They Were Not Pariahs
"Pariahs". in the former caste systems of Burma and India, were usually relegated to the least desirable occupations such as domestic servants and hired farm hands. The term has become a synonym for outcasts who are excluded from normal social activities. The Neanderthals failed, not because the Cro Magnons excluded them from any contact - obviously. The Cro Magnons most likely, did not kill them off. The Neanderthals were not pariahs, but eventually, they could not adapt. So, we have Neanderthal genes, but the assimilation process failed. The story always gets more interesting when it involves sex and love.
This historic attempt to permanently put a group of people in a sociological prison is actually quite unique and inevitably subject to failure. History shows us that if people undergo miscegenation that new peoples come about. Fly over areas of the world in an imaginary balloon, and you could record this process over and over again, cyclically and endlessly. You will see this process moving forward implacably, relentlessly and without cessation. People make love, form families, languages start changing as groups move here and there and tribes become groups of tribes, and they become peoples. And then weather intervenes, climates become colder or drier, flooded or parched. People movement creates conflict and more people meet people they have not met before. And then history goes on, as romance always is afire.
The Irish - A Micro Story of the World
This one little island is a fascinating example of these concepts about assimilation, conflict, love and romance. First, when the original original Irish were there, they were shorter darker haired and very "at home" in the deep dark woods. They migrated to Ireland after the last ice age (circa 10,000 BC). When the Iberian (Spanish) Irish made their big move, probably from Mediterranean homes, about 2000 BC - The Tuatha De Danann sailed from Spain to Ireland. The Tuatha De Danann classified the original people in metaphysical, allegorical, mythological tales (leprechauns and the like) as time went on. But in reality, they were known as the Firbolgs. They were just very different from these "sophisticated" Irish.
The Romans - "Not", The Vikings - "Yes", The Normans - "Undoubtedly"
Being islands, they were always subject to ingress from various sources. St. Patrick was said to be a slave, so you can see that wild part of the world invited many incursions. The Romans never really made it to Ireland, which as a historical decision kept the Irish as a "fly in the amber" of the ancient Celtic world. When the Vikings made it to Ireland, they clubbed their way in, raped and stole and killed and then established cities and settled down, marrying many Irish girls, along with some Viking females who came later. The Vikings became tribal. Names like O'Neil are actually Nordic. These walled towns had a way of civilizing Ireland because they did not really make walled towns. They had villages, but not protective forts. The Vikings brought the red-haired genes (800's to 1,000). People think that red hair is an Irish trait, and it is, but it is originally Nordic.
The Normans Become Blood and the "Bloody Saxon" Becomes An Irish Epithet
The blonde Germanic Saxon pushed their way into England and eventually established themselves to such an extent that the blonde Germanic look and the English language itself, are Germanic (Saxon).They were just a group of mercenaries in the beginning, but they grew to such influence that the original people were named "foreigners" or "The Welsh", by the Saxons in their foreign tongue, which would eventually become English. Well, eventually, William the Conqueror and his Normans defeated the Saxons (1066). When the Normans started invading Ireland, it began a very long history of conquest from the 1200's to the 1700's. Irish history really is quite colorful from a combative, religious, linguistic and cultural standpoint, but the really sexy part of the story is the Norman gentry.
The Normans (ruling class English) came to Ireland. It was often a "bastard son" without any inheritance of English Royalty who came to Ireland to claim a piece of the land. Like the original Vikings who came to Northern France, they came without women. So, those Vikings married French girls and it became "Normandy" or "the part of France that speaks French, but looks different inasmuch as they are Vikings who married French girls in Northwest France." Well, the Normans (ancient Vikings) did the same thing in Ireland, the Norman princes married the Irish girls and established a new class of people with different last names, but, and this is a big but. They were known as "more Irish than the Irish". The English Royalty, ruling in England and observing these developments, were absolutely befuddled. They would send orders and representatives and commands and policies, but still the Normans who went to Ireland just became more Irish.
When Oliver Cromwell ("the bloody Saxon") (1600's) went to Ireland he made a completely different impression. Being powerfully anti-Catholic, he tried to kill every Irish person he met in battle and decimated the people. The "bloody Saxon" is there way of distinguishing the Protestant and the Germanic ethnicity and cultural bias. I am obviously skipping over much history to make a point of emphasis about blood and intermarriage, along with religion.
"No Irish Allowed"
In the 1800's there was great prejudice against the Irish Catholic. The Irish Protestant was more embraced in America. It was perfectly acceptable to publicly and notably reject Irish Catholic company and patronage. Few people in modern America now, experienced the questions about John F. Kennedy becoming the first Catholic president. Our society has changed so much, so fast, that unless you remember the TV commentary, or actually studied it in a history book (saints be praised), one would not know that this topic was even a point to be considered. The "lace curtain" Irish was a separate designation, appellation and quasi-insult which said: "OK, you have gotten more money than the rest of us, but you are still Irish. It's just that you can afford "lace curtains". The Irish are famous for their hero worship, but they have a really basic, in your face, kind of style. By the way, if you tried to have your way with an Irish girl, and she protested, they had a slick knife strapped to the inner part of their thigh.
Fast Forward 50 Years On St. Patrick's Day
The Irish ability to become American is probably one of the more impressive stories in history. And it is really the specific purpose of this article. Sex and romance are inevitable, joyous and wonderfully and terribly human. Assimilation is what takes the effort. Take a snapshot of the Present. You would swear the Irish were the original settling peoples who everyone aspires to be related to. Actually, it's really more of a truly American statement. "Hey they drink and have a Saint who skedaddled the serpents out of Ireland. It gives us an excuse to party and wear green and be completely assimilated. Who's gonna say I don't have Irish blood anyway?"
"Who Is Gonna Say I don't Have Irish Blood Anyway?"
Let's be honest. America is a miscegenistic country. Just as soon as someone wants to call themselves pure Puritan stock, someone ups and marries someone of a different hue. The Irish are known for being, let us say, "culturally tolerant" in their marital choices. (Forgive me, if you differ). But then that is the whole history of Ireland. You were stuck on an island. That is choice limiting all by itself. As soon as you were in Ireland for a few generations, you were Irish. People just tended to forget where they were from originally. The invading English notwithstanding. They were troops. You know, the kind that end up marrying Irish girls if they stayed for anytime and did not go back home.
Neanderthals, Pariahs and The Irish
Forgive for the covering of umpteen thousands of years. Since now we know that the Neanderthals and the Cro Magnons did intermarry, we can come to a new observation. The point is that our problems are not whether people can grow to love one another. Our problems have to do with culture and assimilation. Whatever happens, it gets down to being able to work with each other after we have loved each other. It is just an axiom of history that romance finds it way (Romeo and Juliet and other such tales), and then they get married, instead of committing suicide. Their kids get new names and new last names and different in-laws. Next generation, the process keeps going and children get better educations and choose different occupations. We have an African American President. It is historic, but also a natural event. We have a Louisiana Governor who was conceived in India, born in Louisiana, raised as a Hindu, then went to Brown University and Oxford. Stories of breakthroughs are amazing and inspiring, but still there will always be differences.
There Will Always Be Differences
The red haired clerk with porcelain skin, south of Moab, Utah was selling cold drinks. A group of Indians came in and purchased items, and then left. Without looking up she said: "Them are them Utes". The same thing could be said of a new Irish Catholic family moving into town in the 1800's in New York. "Them are them Sullivans". The same thing was said by the Tuatha De Danaan about those ancient wood people's "Them are them Firbolgs". The same thing was said about the Israelites when they settled by the Cannanites. "Them are them Israelites from the Desert." The same thing could be said about Joseph when he came into Egypt. "That's that cute guy from the desert". The same thing could be said about Lot when he came into Sodom and Gommorah. "Them are them hill people". The same thing could be said by the Italians around 1300 BC, when poor immigrants who would eventually become the Romans, landed in their boats: "Them are them immigrants from the destroyed City of Troy". And when the English settlers from Roanoke joined a local Indian tribe, the other Indians said of them: "Them are them blonde-haired, blue-eyed, bearded Indians from Roanoke."
The same thing could be said about the Neanderthals when they camped next to the Cro Magnons for the first time. "Them are them Neanderthals, funny lookin' aint they?" A pause and a giggle: "No, I think they are kind of cute."
Christofer French is the Founder of Astrologygetalong.com.