Intelligent Design

Neandertals are part of the human family

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It was 15 months ago that Science carried a story about the completion of a rough draft of the Neandertal genome. Palaeogeneticist Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig was reported as saying “he can’t wait to finish crunching the sequence through their computers”. It has been quite a long time coming, as it is more than a decade since Paabo first demonstrated it was possible to analyse Neandertal DNA sequences. Earlier reports suggested that Neandertals were sufficiently distinct from humans for them to be classified as a separate species of Homo. The draft genome has more than 3 billion nucleotides collected from three female Neandertals.

“By comparing this composite Neandertal genome with the complete genomes of five living humans from different parts of the world, the researchers found that both Europeans and Asians share 1% to 4% of their nuclear DNA with Neandertals. But Africans do not. This suggests that early modern humans interbred with Neandertals after moderns left Africa, but before they spread into Asia and Europe. The evidence showing interbreeding is “incontrovertible,” says paleoanthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who was not involved in the work. “There’s no other way you can explain this”.”

For more, go here.

11 Replies to “Neandertals are part of the human family

  1. 1
    Bantay says:

    As a Christian, I found this article interesting. My first response, honestly, was to acknowledge to myself the sobering truth, that the genome of Jesus had it’s origin at least in part, in Neandertals.

    I also asked myself “Could the Nephilim have been Neandertals?”

    But then I also remembered that God is not as interested in our physical condition as He is our spiritual condition. Having our origin in Neandertal genome or even the “untainted” African genome makes no difference. We all have a predisposition to sin and rebel against God. Jesus still died for mankind’s sin and rose again on the 3rd day for mankind’s benefit. Since Jesus’ time, all mankind who has heard the gospel has had a choice to believe or not. But what is “mankind”? Did Neanertals have the capacity for religious faith?
    I think Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana got it right. Neandertals were like humans in some ways, but significantly different. We are “mankind” or “human” because unlike Neandertals, we are spiritual, intellligent, rational, relational, cultural creatures. There was a time when creatures such as us did not exist. Then, in a geological instant, mankind, in the image of the character of God appeared and co-habitated with Neandertals for a brief time. This does not remove my humanity, but rather establishes it. I am not Neandertal. I am human.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    David Tyler; I’m still not sold on this one genetic study, I’ve seen to many DNA studies bent to fit preconceived ideas, case in point is the 99% similarity between chimps and humans that was sold for years and is now known to be false;

    notes:

    NEANDERTHAL: NO RELATION By Sean Henahan, Access Excellence
    Excerpt: “These results indicate that Neanderthals did not contribute mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to modern humans,” says Dr. Mark Stoneking, associate professor of anthropology at Penn State. “Neanderthals are not our ancestors.”—-“While the two species may have lived at the same time, Neanderthals did not contribute genetic material to modern humans,”
    http://www.accessexcellence.or.....der797.php

    Then again, this following recent study (May 2010) seemingly overturned the mtDNA evidence and thus the genetic evidence could now be interpreted to support the special creationist viewpoint that Neanderthals were actually just a sub-species of humans once again:

    Humans and Neanderthals Are One – May 2010
    Excerpt: In short, the evidence has brought humans and Neanderthals together as mere varieties of the same species, while simultaneously increasing the genetic distance between humans and the great apes.
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100508a

    Study: There’s at least some Neanderthal in many of us – May 2010
    Excerpt: Humans trace their origins out of Africa into the Middle East and then on to other parts of the world. The genetic relationship with Neanderthals was found in people from Europe, China and Papua-New Guinea, but not people from Africa.
    http://www.idahostatejournal.c.....03286.html

    Yet there is much disagreement within the scientific community from paleontologists who question just how much weight should be given this new “complex” evidence:

    Signs of Neanderthals Mating With Humans – May 2010
    Excerpt: “But the new analysis, which is based solely on genetics and statistical calculations, is more difficult to match with the archaeological record. There is much less archaeological evidence for an overlap between modern humans and Neanderthals at this time and place.,, But he and other archaeologists questioned some of the interpretations put forward by Dr. Paabo and his chief colleagues,,,, Geneticists have been making increasingly valuable contributions to human prehistory, but their work depends heavily on complex mathematical statistics that make their arguments hard to follow. And the statistical insights, however informative, do not have the solidity of an archaeological fact.”“They are basically saying, ‘Here are our data, you have to accept it.’ But the little part I can judge seems to me to be problematic, so I have to worry about the rest,” he said.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05.....rthal.html

    I would, especially, love to nail this particular part of the fossil record down conclusively, since it deals directly with man, but frankly until there is more conclusive evidence, it is very difficult, for anyone, to know the full impact of this genetic study. There is simply too many unknowns in this study for me or anyone else to put much confidence in their conclusions yet. For example this burning question, why do the most ancient human lineages of DNA (African) sequences not match the Neanderthal DNA sequence whereas the more recent human lineages (Asian and European) do? That is a fairly big anomaly among many others that the researchers failed to sufficiently address in their paper(s).

    Thus for now, I will rely on the more solid mtDNA dissimilarity evidence to draw my conclusions. mtDNA indicates no relation between Neanderthals and Humans as well as indicating that each of the genomes were stable over long periods of time. This line of mtDNA “stability” evidence is also corroborated by a fairly stable fossil record for each “kind”. i.e. The mtDNA evidence actually indicates there was no evolution going on in Neanderthals, nor in humans, for as far back in time as we can extract and measure the mtDNA. This mtDNA evidence is from multiple data points over long periods of time, and is matched by the stable fossil record over those long periods of time. (Hugh Ross; Who Was Adam?)

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    “although Homo neanderthalensis had a large brain, it left no unequivocal evidence of the symbolic consciousness that makes our species unique.” — “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview.....208.100202

    The authors of the paper try to find some evolutionary/materialistic reason for the extremely unique “information capacity” of humans, but of course they never find a coherent reason. Indeed why should we ever consider a process, which is incapable of ever generating complex functional information at even the most foundational levels of molecular biology, to suddenly, magically, have the ability to generate our brain? A brain which has been repeatedly referred to as “the Most Complex Structure in the Universe”? A brain which somehow has within itself the capacity to understand, and generate, large amounts of complex functional information? The authors never seem to consider the “spiritual angle” for why we would have such a unique capacity for such abundant information processing.

    Genesis 3:8
    And they (Adam and Eve) heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…

    John 1:1-1
    In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Hugh Ross : Who was Adam? part 1 of 11 – audio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo8T1_PArJY

    Human Evolution? – The Compelling Genetic, Fossil Evidence & Tool Making For Adam and Eve – Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4284482

    These following studies, though of materialistic bent, offer strong support that Humans are extremely unique in this “advanced information” capacity:

    Darwin’s mistake: Explaining the discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds:
    Excerpt: There is a profound functional discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds. We argue that this discontinuity pervades nearly every domain of cognition and runs much deeper than even the spectacular scaffolding provided by language or culture can explain. We hypothesize that the cognitive discontinuity between human and nonhuman animals is largely due to the degree to which human and nonhuman minds are able to approximate the higher-order, systematic, relational capabilities of a physical symbol system (i.e. we are able to understand information). http://www.bbsonline.org/Prepr.....eprint.htm

  3. 3
    David Tyler says:

    Bantay @ 1
    Neandertals were like humans in some ways, but significantly different. We are “mankind” or “human” because unlike Neandertals, we are spiritual, intellligent, rational, relational, cultural creatures.

    Thanks for your thoughts. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that Neandertals were not significantly different from humans. They were spiritual, intelligent, rational, relational, cultural creatures. Some of the evidence for this is incorporated in the links at the end of my blog. The genome research has helped to confirm that Neanderthals are biologically human beings. I am aware that design advocates are going to differ on these matters – but I hope my comments on the way Darwinism has influenced interpretations will be found relevant.

  4. 4
    David Tyler says:

    bornagain77 @ 2
    I’m still not sold on this one genetic study, I’ve seen to many DNA studies bent to fit preconceived ideas

    I understand your hesitation – much like my earlier reaction to the Neandertal mtDNA studies! The following quote comes from Gibbons (2010) – cited in the blog.
    But there was no sign of admixture in the complete Neandertal mitochondrial (mtDNA) genome or in earlier studies of other gene lineages (Science, 13 February 2009, p. 866). And many researchers had decided that there was no interbreeding that led to viable offspring. “We started with a very strong bias against mixture,” says co-author David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston. Indeed, when Pääbo first learned that the Neandertal DNA tended to be more similar to European DNA than to African DNA, he thought, “Ah, it’s probably just a statistical fluke.” When the link persisted, he thought it was a bias in the data. So the researchers used different methods in different labs to confirm the result. “I feel confident now because three different ways of analyzing the data all come to this conclusion of admixture,” says Pääbo.

    The researchers deserve some credit for critical thought and a willingness to revise their thinking.

    For example this burning question, why do the most ancient human lineages of DNA (African) sequences not match the Neanderthal DNA sequence whereas the more recent human lineages (Asian and European) do?

    I am not going to suggest anything more than a hypothesis for testing. But we know that the mammalian fossil record shows a pattern of rapid diversification followed by stasis. Why should humans be any different? Maybe we need to qualify or challenge the idea that the african genome sequences represent the “most ancient human lineages of DNA”

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    David Tyler, thanks for clarifying the mtDNA evidence, although I’ve been burnt so many times putting my faith in DNA studies which I thought were conclusive, especially concerning the emotionally charged area of human origins, I will wait until the DNA/protein evidence is literally crushing to the point of exhaustively complete before I risk another solid venture as to what is the truth of the matter. As a sidenote to this,,, Can you tell me how you interpret the fossils? And do you know of any written language whatsoever to originate from Neanderthals?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    David Tyler, to show you what I feel is my reasonable justification for my severe reservation in the matter of classifying Neanderthals as humans based solely on DNA studies, I want to recount my experience with the human chimp DNA studies:

    The first position I had was that man and chimps were 99% similar as far as DNA was concerned thus the evolutionists said it was solid proof of evolution, and in fact I found this fairly intimidating to refute to any sufficient degree save for mutation studies. Yet the first piece of evidence that came to light for me that all was not well with the similarity evidence was that the proteins are very different between chimps and man:

    Chimps are not like humans – May 2004
    Excerpt: the International Chimpanzee Chromosome 22 Consortium reports that 83% of chimpanzee chromosome 22 proteins are different from their human counterparts,,, The results reported this week showed that “83% of the genes have changed between the human and the chimpanzee—only 17% are identical—so that means that the impression that comes from the 1.2% [sequence] difference is [misleading]. In the case of protein structures, it has a big effect,” Sakaki said. http://cmbi.bjmu.edu.cn/news/0405/119.htm

    Eighty percent of proteins are different between humans and chimpanzees; Gene; Volume 346, 14 February 2005:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15716009

    Of course most evolutionists played this off by saying many of the proteins differed by only a few amino acids yet they never answered How in the world did the proteins change by +80% while the genes, which code for those proteins, remain virtually unchanged?

    The Unbearable Lightness of Chimp-Human Genome Similarity
    Excerpt: One can seriously call into question the statement that human and chimp genomes are 99% identical. For one thing, it has been noted in the literature that the exact degree of identity between the two genomes is as yet unknown (Cohen, J., 2007. Relative differences: The myth of 1% Science 316: 1836.). ,,, In short, the figure of identity that one wants to use is dependent on various methodological factors.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    Why is this huge +80% anomaly ignored by materialists and only the biased genetic similarity stressed?

    On top of this huge +80% difference in proteins, the oft quoted 98.8% DNA similarity is not even rigorously true in the first place. Just considering this 1.5% of the genome, that was used to derive the 98.8% similarity, other recent comparisons of the protein coding genes, between chimps and man, have yielded a similarity of only 96%. Whereas, the December 2006 issue of PLoS ONE reported that human and chimpanzee gene copy numbers differ by 6.4%, which gives a similarity of only 93.6% (Hahn). Even more realistically, to how we actually should be looking at the genomes from a investigative starting point, Dr. Hugh Ross states the similarity is closer to 85% to 90% when taking into account the chimp genome is about 12% larger than the human genome. A recent, more accurate, human/chimp genome comparison study, by Richard Buggs in 2008, has found when he rigorously compared the recently completed sequences in the genomes of chimpanzees to the genomes of humans side by side, the similarity between chimps and man fell to slightly below 70%! Why is this study ignored since the ENCODE study has now implicated 100% high level functionality across the entire human genome? Finding compelling evidence that implicates 100% high level functionality across the entire genome clearly shows the similarity is not to be limited to the very biased “only 1.5% of the genome” studies of materialists.

    Chimpanzee?
    10-10-2008 – Dr Richard Buggs – research geneticist at the University of Florida
    …Therefore the total similarity of the genomes could be below 70%.
    http://www.idnet.com.au/files/pdf/Chimpanzee.pdf

    Moreover, when scientists did a somewhat rough Nucleotide by Nucleotide sequence comparison, to find the “real world” difference between the genomes of chimps and Humans, they found the difference was even more profound than Dr. Richard Buggs estimate:

    Do Human and Chimpanzee DNA Indicate an Evolutionary Relationship?
    Excerpt: the authors found that only 48.6% of the whole human genome matched chimpanzee nucleotide sequences. [Only 4.8% of the human Y chromosome could be matched to chimpanzee sequences.]
    http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2070

    Even this more recent evolution friendly article found the differences in the protein coding genes of the Y chromosome between chimps and Humans to be “striking”:

    Recent Genetic Research Shows Chimps More Distant From Humans,,, – Jan. 2010
    Excerpt: “many of the stark changes between the chimp and human Y chromosomes are due to gene loss in the chimp and gene gain in the human” since “the chimp Y chromosome has only two-thirds as many distinct genes or gene families as the human Y chromosome and only 47% as many protein-coding elements as humans.”,,,, “Even more striking than the gene loss is the rearrangement of large portions of the chromosome. More than 30% of the chimp Y chromosome lacks an alignable counterpart on the human Y chromosome, and vice versa,,,”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....shows.html

    Chimp and human Y chromosomes evolving faster than expected – Jan. 2010
    Excerpt: “The results overturned the expectation that the chimp and human Y chromosomes would be highly similar. Instead, they differ remarkably in their structure and gene content.,,, The chimp Y, for example, has lost one third to one half of the human Y chromosome genes.
    http://www.physorg.com/news182605704.html

    The evolutionary scientists of the preceding paper offered some evolutionary “just so” stories of “dramatically sped up evolution” for why there are such significant differences in the Y chromosomes of chimps and humans, yet when the Y chromosome is looked at for its rate of change we find there is hardly any evidence for any change at all, much less the massive changes they are required to explain.

    CHROMOSOME STUDY STUNS EVOLUTIONISTS
    Excerpt: To their great surprise, Dorit and his associates found no nucleotide differences at all in the non-recombinant part of the Y chromosomes of the 38 men. This non-variation suggests no evolution has occurred in male ancestry.
    http://www.reasons.org/interpr.....lutionists

    I find it extremely interesting that the Y chromosome (male chromosome) would have such a pronounced “signature of individuality” in the human genome since it is clearly one of the primary chromosomes directly involved in overseeing human reproduction of males. A “reproductive individuality” for human men which, of course, has direct and severe contradictory implications to the Darwinian scenario since only the “reproductive mutations/variations” that manage to “slip thru” actually count in any Darwinian scenario. As well, lest human women feel left out, this “signature of individuality” for humans is not limited to just the male Y chromosome:

    More Chimp-Human Genome Problems – Cornelius Hunter
    Excerpt: Even more interesting, at these locations the chimp’s genome is quite similar to other primates–it is the human that differs from the rest, not the chimp. (human accelerated regions (HARs).http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....blems.html

    Scientific American: The Banality of Evil(ution) – Cornelius Hunter – March 2010
    Excerpt: Furthermore, these typos simultaneously must have altered two other genes which overlap with HAR1. That’s right, HAR1 (human accelerated region) lies in a region of overlapping genes. Imagine typing a paragraph which contains one message when read normally and a different message when read backward. Not only must evolution have created all of biology’s genetic information, but it composed the information in overlapping prose. Someday evolutionists will figure out how.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....-evil.html

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    As you can see David the evidence went from “slam dunk” similarity between Chimps and Humans for the evolutionists, at least in my mind, to almost a complete turnaround to their being growing compelling evidence for individuality of genomes. I hope you can see my reservations with this Neanderthal study a little more clearly now.

    further note:

    On top of all that the Junk regions are actually found to be “more functional” than the protein coding regions:

    Astonishing DNA complexity update
    Excerpt: The untranslated regions (now called UTRs, rather than ‘junk’) are far more important than the translated regions (the genes), as measured by the number of DNA bases appearing in RNA transcripts. Genic regions are transcribed on average in five different overlapping and interleaved ways, while UTRs are transcribed on average in seven different overlapping and interleaved ways. Since there are about 33 times as many bases in UTRs than in genic regions, that makes the ‘junk’ about 50 times more active than the genes.
    http://creation.com/astonishin.....ity-update

    Evolutionists were recently completely surprised by this genetic study of kangaroos:

    Kangaroo genes close to humans
    Excerpt: Australia’s kangaroos are genetically similar to humans,,, “There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order,” ,,,”We thought they’d be completely scrambled, but they’re not. There is great chunks of the human genome which is sitting right there in the kangaroo genome,”
    http://www.reuters.com/article.....P020081118

    The “Eve” Mitochondrial Consensus Sequence – John Sanford
    Excerpt: Given the high mutation rate within mitochondria and the large geographic separation among the individuals within our dataset, we did not expect to find the original human mitochondrial sequence to be so well preserved within modern populations. With the exception of a very few ambiguous nucleotides, the consensus sequence clearly represents Eve’s mitochondrial DNA sequence.
    http://www.icr.org/article/mit.....-sequence/

    When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor. Richard Lewontin – Harvard Zoologist
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9961

    “Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether”. Evolutionist Henry Gee, Nature 2001 http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....131a0.html

    Man is indeed as unique, as different from all other animals, as had been traditionally claimed by theologians and philosophers. Evolutionist Ernst Mayr
    http://www.y-origins.com/index.php?p=home_more4

    “Something extraordinary, if totally fortuitous, happened with the birth of our species….Homo sapiens is as distinctive an entity as exists on the face of the Earth, and should be dignified as such instead of being adulterated with every reasonably large-brained hominid fossil that happened to come along.” Anthropologist Ian Tattersall (curator at the American Museum of Natural History)

  8. 8
    tragic mishap says:

    YECs have been saying for decades that Neanderthals were normal human beings with Rickets disease and existed as separate colonies from humans without it much like leper colonies.

  9. 9
    Robert Byers says:

    YEC here.
    There is no reason for creationists who believe or flirt with ideas of a separate origin from apes to desire to find in the bodies anatomical or genetic difference.
    If you were God and you wanted to put a being made in gods image into the natural world then what body would you pick?
    What other body is bested suited for us but the ape one?! No other creature would be usefull or desirable for man to live on earth.
    If you say our body should be so different from animals then what would its principals be?
    Would it have more eyes, ears, limbs, Inner parts scattered differently?
    If all life comes from a common blueprint then it could only be we are a part of the blueprint and not separate from it in any physical way.
    We have the same body as the ape. Clearly so.
    Yet this is not evidence or even suggestive of common ancestry.
    It could only be this way unless all laws of nature were changed to prove our unique status.
    the ape itself is just a twist on all other creatures looks and we simply were put by gOd into the best body in nature there was.
    Its fine with me to find us 100% like the ape in all we are physically.
    Its not true since women , at the fall, were given birthing pain and so genetic change and other things for our heads and so on.
    Looking like apes is not evidence against Genesis.
    Its just a special case for special need.
    God’s hands were tied if laws of nature are important.

  10. 10
    David Tyler says:

    bornagain77 @ 5
    Can you tell me how you interpret the fossils? And do you know of any written language whatsoever to originate from Neanderthals?

    Thanks for the material on mtDNA, etc. I agree there’s a lot of apparently conflicting views out there. Hopefully, we can move towards convergence.
    Regarding fossils, I do have views – but my blogs are focused. My aim is to comment on scientific literature from an ID perspective. When I get appropriate leads, I do take them. Regarding writing, there is no evidence of any Palaeolithic writing.

  11. 11
    David Tyler says:

    Robert Byers @ 9
    We have the same body as the ape. Clearly so. [. . .] Its fine with me to find us 100% like the ape in all we are physically.

    I think I understand these comments, but I would suggest you recognise some significant differences. For example, we are bipeds, and this leads to significant anatomical differences (our feet, our pelvis, the way our spine connects with the skull, our forward facing eyes, our systems to achieve balance, etc). The list of differences can easily be extended: for example, our faces are far more expressive because we have a richer supply of facial musclature.

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