An Open Letter to Rep. Alan Grayson in Defense of Neanderthals

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.

Like Sands Through the Hourglass, These Are the Taxonomic Assessments of the Hobbit

The Journal of Human Evolution is going to have a special issue devoted to Homo floresiensis and word is leaking out on one of the articles in it. The Australian has the best article so far. I say that because it inspired a Homer Simpson like D’OH moment on my part. Here is why: Continue reading

Cooperation in Spotted Hyenas

PhysOrg.Com has an interesting item on problem solving and cooperation in spotted hyenas. The item concerns recent research published in Animal Behavior. From PhysOrg.Com:

Drea’s research, published online in the October issue of Animal Behavior, shows that social carnivores like spotted hyenas that hunt in packs may be good models for investigating cooperative problem solving and the evolution of social intelligence. She performed these experiments in the mid-1990s but struggled to find a journal that was interested in non-primate social cognition.

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Saturday Great White Shark Blogging

Just because…

Great white Posted by Hello

Saturday Ring-Tailed Lemur Blogging

What could possibly be cooler than Ring-Tailed Lemurs (other than Aye-Ayes, that is)?

Ring tailed Lemurs Posted by Hello

Ring-tailed Lemurs 2 Posted by Hello

Sounds of lemurs ,
more sounds here .

Interesting links here and here.

Charles Darwin and The Gibraltar Skull

Science has an interesting entry in its Origins: A History of Beginnings series. The entry concerns Charles Darwin and the Gibraltar Neanderthal skull Continue reading

I Love The Internet Archive

Been looking for a copy of The Stone Age of Mt. Carmel for a long, long time. Also Phillip Tobias’ The Brain in Hominid Evolution

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Four Stone Hearth Volume #76

Welcome to volume # 76 of the Four Stone Hearth. There are some interesting items in this issue, so let’s get started.
Continue reading

Pandering To The Wicked: ACORN And The Law Of Unintended Consquences

So, Congress has passed a law against ACORN. Apparently, they can no longer get federal funding. Republicans are jubilant and elated in such. Then some smart ass read the bill. Continue reading

Begging for PNAS Neanderthal Articles

Can someone send me these two articles:

Human origins: Out of Africa and The meaning of Neandertal skeletal morphology?

Thanks in advance!