The Letter from Dmitri Bayanov to Henner Fahrenbach on Neanderthal Connection
This is my reply to your question "There were so many parallel hominid lines, why cram it all into one?", implying my preference for the Neanderthal connection regarding the origins of unclassified hominids we study. Let me note right away that among parallel hominid lines, the Neanderthal line was the latest and closest to Homo sapiens. In this connection I wrote in 1976, "in the case of early hominids there may have been enough time for such factors as evolution, absorbtion, or extinction to account for the absence of these forms today, whereas for the late forms such factors don't seem to make a convincing case"(On Neanderthal vs.Paranthropus, Current Anthropology, June 1976). The Fathers of hominology -- Boris Porshnev, Ivan Sanderson, and Bernard Heuvelmans -- regarded Neanderthals as very possible forbears of the present unknown hominids. Sanderson and Heuvelmans also proposed and included other hominid lines, while Porshnev focused attention on Neanderthals alone both for theoretical and practical reasons. In that CA article I followed and tried to substantiate the ideas of my hominology teacher. Since 1976 I've never heard any arguments against my conclusion in the article that today's "wildmen", at least in Europe, are descendants of yesterday's Neanderthals.
One objection against the Neanderthal connection that immediately comes to mind is the difference in body size between the Neanderthal image we have and that of, say, Sasquatch, Yowie, etc. "I simply think that Sasquatch is related to Gigantopithecus because both are giants", said Grover Krantz to me. I was astonished by that kind of simplicity. It's like saying that big humans are related to gorillas; small humans, pigmies in particular, to pigmy chimpanzees. Body size is the most variable and soonest evolving characteristic in biology. A huge difference in body size between dogs of some breeds created so quickly by artificial selection is an instructive example. As to natural selection, besides pigmy chimps, we also know of pigmy elephants, pigmy hippos, and the giant lizards -- Comodo dragons. More to the point are differences in body size among humans: Africa is inhabited both by very tall Masai and by pigmy tribes of Homo sapiens. Pigmies also live in some parts of Asia.
As to extant unclassified hominids, Porshnev pointed out that they are characterized by gigantism and dwarfism. Giants are encountered and reported in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, and we hear about hairy "little people" in all of those areas as well. The existence of the Neanderthal hominid line is found to be much longer than that of Homo sapiens, so why couldn't that line evolve giants and dwarfs of its own as well?
The October 2008 issue of National Geographic offers on its front cover in big letters The Other Humans -- Neanderthals Revealed, a lengthy article by Stephen S. Hall. I cite below relevant passages from it, followed by my comments.
The Neanderthals, our closest prehistoric relatives, dominated Eurasia for the better part of 200,000 years. During that time, they poked their famously large and protruding noses into every corner of Europe, and beyond—south along the Mediterranean from the Strait of Gibraltar to Greece and Iraq, north to Russia, as far west as Britain, and almost to Mongolia in the east.
Eurasia, if someone doesn't know, means Europe plus Asia together. It has to be stressed that for all those areas where Neanderthal fossils have been found, we have historical or present-day reports of the existence of "wildmen". It was the methodology of my CA article to demonstrate in detail this striking fact with relevant examples.
.... squeezed by the westward spread of anatomically modern humans as they emerged from Africa into the Middle East and beyond. Within another 15,000 years or so, the Neanderthals were gone forever, leaving behind a few bones and a lot of questions. Were they a clever and perseverant breed of survivors, much like us, or a cognitively challenged dead end? What happened during that period, roughly 45,000 to 30,000 years ago, when the Neanderthals shared some parts of the Eurasian landscape with those modern human migrants from Africa? Why did one kind of human being survive, and the other disappear?
The Neanderthals were NOT gone forever! "The Neanderthalers appear to have been driven back into the hills by the folk of Cromagnon-culture"(Ivan Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come To Life, 2006, p.88). "Porshnev's theory envisages a search for H. neanderthalensis recens under such names as pans, satyrs, fauns, sileni, sylvans, nymphs, and countless others. Indeed, the discovery of relic hominoids may be expected to bring about a revolution no less resolute and resounding in what Napier called the 'Goblin Universe' -- the study and understanding of mythology, and demonology in particular -- than in primatology" (On Neanderthal vs. Paranthropus).
One of the longest and most heated controversies in human evolution rages around the genetic relationship between Neanderthals and their European successors. Did the modern humans sweeping out of Africa beginning some 60,000 years ago completely replace the Neanderthals, or did they interbreed with them?
Paabo's genetic bombshell seemed to confirm that Neanderthals were a separate species—but it does nothing to solve the mystery of why they vanished, and our species survived.
Trinkaus believes they indeed may have mated occasionally. He sees evidence of admixture between Neanderthals and modern humans in certain fossils, such as a 24,500-year-old skeleton of a young child discovered at the Portuguese site of Lagar Velho, and a 32,000-year-old skull from a cave called Muierii in Romania. "There were very few people on the landscape, and you need to find a mate and reproduce," says Trinkaus. "Why not? Humans are not known to be choosy. Sex happens."
Interbreeding between "wildmen"- homins and humans can be inferred from modern and historical reports and folklore in all areas,
Whether Neanderthals were capable of sophisticated language abilities or a more primitive form of vocal communication (singing, for example) still remains unclear, but the new genetic findings suggest they possessed some of the same vocalizing hardware as modern humans.
Homin language ability is what is revolutionizing hominology today. This is contrary to Porshnev's views: he assumed that Neanderthals had no language.
"We know that the human and chimpanzee sequences are 98.7 percent the same, and Neanderthals are much closer to us than chimps," said Ed Green, head of biomathematics in Paabo's group in Leipzig, "so the reality is that for most of the sequence, there's no difference between Neanderthals and [modern] humans." But the differences—less than a half percent of the sequence—are enough to confirm that the two lineages had begun to diverge around 700,000 years ago. The Leipzig group also managed to extract mitochondrial DNA from two fossils of uncertain origin that had been excavated in Uzbekistan and southern Siberia; both had a uniquely Neanderthal genetic signature. While the Uzbekistan specimen, a young boy, had long been considered a Neanderthal, the Siberian specimen was a huge surprise, extending the known Neanderthal range some 1,200 miles east of their European stronghold.
If the Neanderthal connection is true, then it's clear why we have the "human" results in DNA testings of BF samples so far. The human contamination explanation is wrong. Also note the Neanderthal fossil finding in Siberia, the region closest to North America.
So, while the new genetic evidence appears to confirm that Neanderthals were a separate species from us, it also suggests that they may have possessed human language and were successful over a far larger sweep of Eurasia than previously thought. Which brings us back to the same hauntingly persistent question that has shadowed them from the beginning: Why did they disappear?
But they did NOT disappear. Pressed by Homo sapiens and driven into the wilderness, they evolved and turned into "wildmen" and "woodstmen", endowed with night vision and telepathy, having thus changed their previous way of life.
... , the "growth rings" in the 100,000-year-old tooth of a young Neanderthal discovered in the Scladina cave in Belgium indicated that the child was eight years old when it died and appeared to be on track to reach puberty several years sooner than the average for modern humans.
Without telling her the above, I asked Janice Carter at what age young bigfoots reached puberty on the Carter Farm, and received the follwong answer:
"Males seem to hit puberty at around eight in general. I suppose some may wait until an older age, just like the females, but in general it's around eight or nine. Squeaky did so at nine. The males also go though a voice change like young men. With Blackie, and Toby they were around eight when they were going through puberty, and it seems like their voices became deeper by around eleven or so. I know however that Squeaky's took a while longer to deepen, as when we came back from Indiana he let out a few very high pitched yells and still had some squeakiness to his voice. However, the last I heard him speak and yell his voice has become really deep and when he yells he also could be mistaken for a roar or deep grumble when he talks. Some, not all, females can reach the age of puberty around five or six, while others seem to wait until later age."
"This would certainly affect Neanderthal social organization, mating strategy, and parenting behavior," says Hublin. "Imagine a society where individuals start to reproduce four years earlier than in modern humans. It's a very different society. It could also mean the Neanderthals' cognitive abilities may have been different from modern humans'."
Yes, a homin society is very different from a human society, and earlier maturity may be one of the reasons for that; yes, their cognitive abilities are different from sapiens.
"Why did the Neanderthals disappear in Mongolia?" Stringer asked. "Why did they disappear in Israel? Why did they disappear in Italy, in Gibraltar, in Britain? Well, the answer could be different in different places, because it probably happened at different times. So we're talking about a large range, and a disappearance and retreat at different times, with pockets of Neanderthals no doubt surviving in different places at different times. Gibraltar is certainly one of their last outposts. It could be the last, but we don't know for sure."
They did NOT disappear in Mongolia, they exist there and known by the name of Almas. The Mongol scholar, Professor P.R. Rinchen, a member of the former International Committee for the study of humanlike hairy bipeds (Porshnev, Sanderson, Heuvelmans, John Green were also its members) published in 1964 a long paper "Almas Still Exists In Mongolia". A Russian physician, Pavel Shastin, who had worked in Mongolia for several years in the 1960s, and had an Almas sighting (male, female and a young one), related at our seminar in the Darwin Museum, in January 1972, a story confided to him by a Mongol teacher. The latter, during an outing in the mountains, was kidnapped by two Almas females and taken to their cave. They scrutinized him with high curiosity, touched and pulled his clothes.They did not let him escape in the first few days. They brought him food, once it was a carcass of a hoofed animal, probably a mountain goat (the doctor did not know the exact translation of the word the Mongol used but was sure it referred to a hoofed animal). Most important of all: they used sharp stones to cut the carcass apart. The teacher had a magnifying glass, he built a fire and ate roasted meat while the Almases ate it raw. After some time the Almases lost interest in him and he made his escape. He gave Shastin to understand there had been certain sexy details to the story, but did not want to dwell on that. Shastin thought this was one of the reasons the teacher was so secretive about the whole thing. It is my impression that the Almas, humanlike in height, is the closest to our image of Neanderthal.
As to Israel, present-day homin existence there is not known to me, but in the historical past they were definitely in the area, known by the name se'irim (hairy ones), mentioned in the Bible and translated as satyrs in European languages. "Azazel, in the Old Testament, was a demon in the Wilderness of Judea (south of Jerusalem) to whom the scapegoat was sent on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16 : 1 - 28)" (Encyclopedia Americana). Recall the Carter Farm bigfoots' taste for goats.
In Italy, Luigi Maria Sinistrari (1632-1701), jurisconsult of the Inquisition's High Tribunal in Rome, wrote of incubi and succubi, describing them as "reasonable creatures on earth, apart from man, which have like man a body and a soul, which like man are born and die, which are redeemed by our Savior Jesus Christ and capable of salvation and damnation". In Italy people call them folletto, in France follet and lutin, and in Spain duende.The characteristics of these creatures, as described by Sinistrari: they seek sexual intercourse with humans; from such intercourse children are born who, when grown up, become very tall, strong and daring; their vocalization resembles whistling; they are attracted by horses and like to plait their manes; they throw stones and pile them up; it is very difficult to see them, they are seen either by chance or of their own volition; they are capable of feeling and suffering, but being very swift and nimble in avoiding danger, it is surprising that they get killed or injured at all; this can happen when they are asleep or in some other inadvertent way.
How about North America? It is generally accepted that the continent was initially reached by Homo sapiens via the Bering land bridge and Alaska. What other higher primate, besides sapiens, was likely to do the same, one that was the closest relative of Homo sapiens and lived in cold and geographically nearest Siberia, or one that was most distant and different from sapiens and lived in the south of China? I mean Neanderthal and Gigantopithecus. The answer is obvious. As usual, objection number one is the difference in body size between Sasquatch and our image of Neanderthal. Note that wild hairy hominids of North America are characterised by gigantism and dwarfism as well. The hairy "little people" in NA are reported in the books by Ivan Sanderson, Kathy Moskowitz Strain, David Paulides. Again I assume that natural selection had worked here on Neanderthal descendants as it had elsewhere, and how it had worked on Homo sapiens. Ray Crowe, who shares with me the Neanderthal connection hypothesis, says: "Height (of Sasquatch. - DB) is the result of general late Pleistocene gigantism of many species"(Linda Coil Suchy, Who's Watching You?, 2009, p. 238).
How about Australia? All who have read The Yowie: In Search of Australia's Bigfoot, 2006, know that Sasquatch and Yowie are difficult to tell apart. Pigmy hairy people are reported there as well. Australia is separated from Asia by a sea water barrier which could not be crossed by most placental animals. Homo sapiens did cross it. Same question: Which higher primate, besides Homo sapiens, was likely to do this? Obviously, the closest phylogenetically to sapiens. Any fossils of such in the area? Yes, "many came to see Javanthropus (or Homo) soloensis as a sort of Asian Neanderthal equivalent" (Ian Tattersall, The Fossil Trail, 1995, p.63).
What about other candidates for ancestors of present-day unclassified hominids? I do accept Homo erectus and even Australopithecus, in Africa, for example. My only point is that the Neanderthal connection is argued logically best of all. It answers both the riddle of anthropology regarding the Neanderthal "disappearance", and the riddle of hominology regarding the origins of "wildmen" in place of Neanderthals. The argument is half a century old. So why is it hushed up by mainstream anthropologists, even though published in their scientific journal? Also why is it ignored by bigfoot investigators? I believe because our investigation is like a club of people discussing their common hobby, and not a scientific body in pursuit of the truth. Scientific discussion is impossible without a scientific journal. Of course, it's wonderful and praiseworthy that we have dug up and collected such a vast amount of information, driven by nothing but sheer curiosity and sheer enthusiasm. But it's time all realized that a scientific solution is impossible without a funded international scientific body.
P.S. My heartfelt thanks to X for sending me a copy of that NG magazine issue.
29 November 2009