You’d think that history would be a fixed thing, but it’s not. First off, history only goes back about 4 or 5,000 years ago, to the invention of writing, because if it’s not recorded it’s called something else. Legend, maybe. Guesswork, more like it. Then there’s archaeology, which is history that is actually, literally written in stone, but the two problems with that is we have to find the right stones, and then we have to interpret them correctly, and since there’s very often more than one interpretation possible, we’re back to square one. The past is over, and a lot of it has gone unrecorded.
So, two news articles I read today really change the way we view early human history, and by early I mean early, back before we even looked like we do today, back when our ancestors were still hairy, and had the slopey foreheads, and looked a lot like gorillas. Back when we diverged.
It’s interesting to me partially because I’ve got a Facebook friend with a deep affinity for the islands of Melanesia, like Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and he swears up and down that the people who people that region are living proof that the out of Africa theory is wrong, and that Homo Sapiens evolved in lots of different places, which has always, up to this week, struck me as a little bit nuts, because how? We evolve through mutation, and thinking that humanity evolved simultaneously (not literally simultaneously -there might have been gaps of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of years, but for anybody alive today that might as well be simultaneous) is similar to thinking that lightning will strike the same place twice, or that somebody won two huge lotto jackpots, without any cheating.
Than there was one (which I believe was posted by aforesaid Facebook friend, because he posts stuff like that) that suggested that people in Papua New Guinea actually have a different DNA lineage than everybody else in the human race, and they may be related to our long lost cousins, the Denisovans or the Neanderthals.
Now, to my hypothesis. A few hominid species rose up during the course of evolution, and spread across the Earth, and some of them, like maybe us and Neanderthals, or us and Denisovans, or Denisovans and Neanderthals, were capable of interbreeding, just like we see Ligers born when Tigers and Lions get together, which almost never happens because they don’t live in the same places, unless those places are zoos, and Zorses or Zonkeys when Zebras mate with horses or donkeys, or Grolar Bears, which is what happens when a horny male Polar Bear wants a bit of the strange, and takes a Grizzly mate.
So maybe people are not quite as pure, not quite as exclusively human as we thought. Maybe we got all the genes mixed up a long time ago, and some vestiges of that still live on on little islands, and in isolated jungle villages, or in hidden valleys, here and there around the world.
Doesn’t really matter. We’re all people and have to live together. Interesting to think about, though.