I was hoping to have a more in depth post on this for the upcoming edition of the Four Stone Hearth but I am not going to get it finished in time. Here is the short version.
Dear Rep. Grayson,
Although I applaud your stand on health care and you efforts to take the offensive against the Republicans, I do have to take exception to your characterization of Republicans as “…foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals…” This is a gross mischaracterization of Neanderthals on several levels. First, Neanderthals did not drag their feet or knuckles. They walked in a fully erect bipedal fashion just like you or I do. Second, Neanderthals took care of their sick or injured fellows. Take Shanidar I for example:
He was aged between 40-50 years, which was considerably old for a Neanderthal, equivalent to 80 years old today, displaying severe signs of deformity. He was one of four reasonably complete skeletons from the cave which displayed trauma-related abnormalities, which in his case would have been debilitating to the point of making day-to-day life painful. At some point in his life he had suffered a violent blow to the left side of his face, creating a crushing fracture to his left orbit which would have left Nandy partially or totally blind in one eye. He also suffered from a withered right arm which had been fractured in several places and healed, but which caused the loss of his lower arm and hand. This is thought to be either congenital, a result of childhood disease and trauma or due to an amputation later in his life. The arm had healed but the injury may have caused some paralysis down his right side, leading to deformities in his lower legs and foot and would have resulted in him walking with a pronounced, painful limp. All these injuries were acquired long before death, showing extensive healing and this has been used to infer that Neandertals looked after their sick and aged, denoting implicit group concern. [bolding mine - afarensis]
Something Republicans seem unwilling to do at this point. I hope, in the future, you will refrain from smearing Neanderthals by comparing them to Republicans. Other than that keep up the good work and please continue to channel your inner Harry Truman and give them hell!
Update 1: In response to the trackback below there is this.
The PTC test is well known to the point of annoyance. Practically, every biological anthropology class I ever had mentioned it, as did a number of the cultural anthropology. A new article in Biology Letters – requires a subscription puts a new spin on the question.
And can you really call it cannibalism if they are not Homo sapiens neanderthalensis? The lemur/adapid/anthropoid paper is not the only anthropology paper out this week, nor is it the only one that has been the subject of over exuberant reporting. The gist of the story is that the jaw below contains cutmarks:
The jaw may also be a Neanderthal jaw associated with an Aurignacian site. I don’t have much to say about it it other than the few articles I saw played up the cannibalism. Really, I just wanted an excuse to post the picture, but if you want to know more you can go read Hawks. I’ll have a post up on the adapid story sometime in the next couple of days.