23 October 2012

From time to time I have put up posts which discuss findings in the origins of humans and our ways. In the posts I argue that we all have much more in common than our differences, which are often constructed, and remind us of our journey from our undistinguished origins in primeval slime and our cousins on the road; and urge us to acknowledge the common experiences and common ancestry of people across Britain and the world; and indeed our common relationship to other creatures.

Yes, even constructed differences between groups are real, but I think that in the long story of humans contemporary differences are fundamentally shallow. Overblown claims of Cornish singular distinctiveness seem to be based on a foreshortened view of human history and a disregard of the vast commonalities.

In this post in April this year I noted Maria Pala’s comment about work in archeogenetics: “It helps us to revaluate the perception of our identity. We are highly focussed on identifying ourselves as Italians, British or whatever, but by analysing DNA we discover that originally, not such a long time ago, we came from a common source.”

Now, following on this post about interbreeding among homo sapiens sapiens and neanderthals, an article in PLOS Genetics reports research that suggests the interbreeding took place probably as recently as 35 000 years ago. People calling themselves Cornish and people calling themselves English have neanderthal genes and neanderthal avital grandmothers.

Read the report from PLOS Genetics 4 October 2012 ‘The date of interbreeding between neandertals and modern humans’ by Sriram Sankararaman and others.

Note this from the research: “the last gene flow from Neandertals (or their relatives) into Europeans likely occurred 37,000–86,000 years before the present (BP), and most likely 47,000–65,000 years ago”

Earlier posts
English and Cornish have same milk gene 10 March 2007

English and Cornish are sisters under the skin 20 July 2007

Blue-eyed Cornish and English are brothers 31 January 2008

Atomising people 12 September 2008

Cornwall 5460 years ago 31 January 2010

The first Cornishman 1 May 2010

The Cornishman, the Englishman, and the frog 2 May 2010

A wondrous mixture 8 May 2010

To see oursels as ithers see us 17 May 2010

Puny boundaries 19 May 2010

A walrus, a mouse, and a man went into a bar 18 July 2010

A common source for the English and Cornish 14 May 2012