It’s possible to wonder a bit about what the scientists get up to in their laboratories for we’ve just got the news that ancient human beings liked their sex. More than that, they weren’t all that particular about where they found it. Given the current range of human sexuality – recent news stories have included a man intimate with a miniature horse a number of times and also at least an attempt at a drunken coupling with a car exhaust – the idea that early Homo sapiens wouldn’t have taken advantage of an offering from a willing Homo neanderthalis or Homo sapiens denisova seems unlikely.
But that is what we’re being breathlessly told, that they did:
SEXUAL EVOLUTION Early humans had rampant sex with Neanderthals and other primitive cousins in world of debauchery, new study claims
For approximately 35,000 years, East Asians and Europeans romped every time they were around another species ‘for a while’
While that’s The Sun, not known for understating any story, yes, port selection in a storm and all that.
Early humans had sex with Neanderthals and other primitive cousins far more often than thought, according to a new study.
DNA tests on ancient remains show that the two species interbred at ‘multiple points in time’ over the course of the 35,000 years they shared the plains of Eurasia.
That the evidence is in our DNA does rather show that the three weren’t separate species. The only truly logical distinction of such being that if the production of fertlie offspring isn’t possible then they are indeed a different species. Sure, there are grades even here – a horse and a donkey are different species for mules are near overwhelmingly infertile. Tigers and lions are closer but ligers and tigons are often but not always fertile. That the DNA has passed down to us shows that the crosses were – a goodly portion of them at least – fertile and thus, well, different species not so much. Variations on a theme perhaps.
So, the real point here being that early humans liked a shag and weren’t perhaps that particular. Which explains most Friday nights in most places and much of the weekend in Newcastle then.
There really is only the one more observation to make here, which is that we’re clearly descended from those who did like sex. Obviously so. Those who didn’t like it tending not to have descendants in the first place. Thus we’d rather expect the result that we’ve got. We’re descended from those people who liked sex with those they were fertile with.
Hmm, not all that much of a finding really, is it?