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Were Neanderthal and Cro Magnon Genetic Crossbreeds?


By James Donahue


For years scientists have wondered how Cro Magnon man, who thrived between about 45,000 to 10,000 years ago, and Neanderthal man, who was here from 300,000 years to 20,000 years ago, came into existence and then survived so long before going extinct.


Evidence has been found that Homo Sapien, or modern humans, have been around for at least 200,000 years. Thus it is clear that we co-existed with both Cro Magnon and Neanderthal during times that they walked the Earth.


What we know about Cro Magnon is they were as tall as we are, they had a similar brain size, but the skull had no brow ridges, with a high forehead and projecting chin. They hunted with spears and made tools from blades of flint stone, and left art works on cave walls. It is believed that they had the capability of speech.


Cro Magnon disappeared about 10,000 years ago. Some believe they were unable to compete with Homo Sapiens and died off. Another possibility is that there was cross-breeding and that the two species merged.


Neanderthal came into existence at almost the same time Homo Sapiens did, and disappeared about 30,000 years ago.


But the origin of these uniquely different humanoid species has been a puzzle.


A recent bit of information about the similarities of DNA in both humans and the ape, however, may have shed some light on this matter. Dr. Calum MacKellar, director of research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, noted that because of this close relationship, he believes it is possible for a hybrid type of humanoid to be created by fertilizing a female chimpanzee with human sperm.


Indeed, is it possible that such a hybrid has already existed, and that it was either Neanderthal and/or Cro Magnon man?


MacKellar issued this information with a warning that contemporary scientists, in their rush to use new DNA information to fill a growing demand for organ donors, might consider inseminating chimpanzees with human sperm. He worried about the hybrid humanoid that might emerge as a result of such a cross.


Genetic researchers who have studied the feasibility say there is no reason why the two species could not breed, although they wonder why anyone would want to try it. Indeed, we may wonder why, but we know that humans have been having sex with animals for thousands of years. The act is listed among the forbidden acts delivered by Moses in the Old Testament.


While most animals are not genetically capable of cross breeding, others are. For example hybrid species have been successfully produced by crossing tigers and lions and sheep with goats.


MacKellar, who is urging passage of legislation that would ban such experimentation between chimpanzees and humans, said he worries that if the process is not banned, scientists wil be “very likely” to try it.