Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Homo neanderthalensis and You

It recently came to light that we humans... (well, some of us anyway! specifically, those of European or East Asian or Australasian extraction.) have 1 - 4% Neandertal DNA coursing through our veins. How cool is that!? (I'll answer... Way Cool!) I'd try to go into a little more detail, but I'm pretty sure I'd end up sounding like the Neandertal-esque ignoramus I actually am. So you can read all about it here: John Hawks Weblog. He knows of what he speaks.

It was also at that blog where I learned there is a new app for the iPhone. It's called MEanderthal. It takes a close up photo of your face and morphs it into a Neandertal version of you! Now how cool is that? (see above answer) It can also make Homo floresiensis and Homo heidelbergensis versions of you. I expect--and hope!--that they will add more species in the coming months. Til then... have some fun!

OK... here's my transmogrification:


One other thing... Neandertals thrived for over 400,000 years. From the Levant to northern Europe to China to Siberia. It seems reasonable that they had developed adaptations not unlike ours. A Neandertal from what is today France and one from China or Siberia probably didn't resemble each other all too much. In other words, I'd like to see at some point a few available versions of Neandertal from this app. Differently shaped noses, a few different shades of skin perhaps. Not everyone should have the same hair style either. This is all for fun of course, but I'm guessing that when everyone starts comparing their Neandertal avatars and begin to notice we all look the same it'll lose some of it's grooviness. Anyway... just some thoughts.

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