Michele had her DNA tested a couple of months ago. She has about 1.2% Neanderthal DNA , about 2% Densovian DNA – which is very surprising at first glance, but may be the source of her bright blue eyes – and, of course, 96.8% good ol’ Homo sapiens sapiens from East Africa. It got me thinking how H. sapiens sapiens – our biggest genetic contributor, basically us, in other words – moving out of Africa could have interbred with Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Denisova hominins both of whom left Africa about two hundred thousand years earlier.
That small group of H. sapiens – I’m going to drop the second sapiens – migrated out of Eastern Africa, into what we used to call Asia Minor, about sixty thousand years ago. They were people with almost the same DNA as us, they were anatomically modern humans, but they were very different. They were the people we all evolved from, very dark West Africans as well as very white Finns, Chinese and Native Americans, everybody. If the few hunter gather tribes that still exist are any guide, they lived in small groups, suspicious of outsiders, and ready to fight (even today, hunter gathers spend the majority of their time fighting, getting ready to fight, or getting stirred up to fight).
As an aside, in all likelihood, our 96.8% ancestors, the smart ones, moving out of Africa into Asia Minor, were dark skinned and the Neanderthals, the less smart ones that they ran into, were light skinned. End aside.
When they met, it was not a love match like Romeo and Juliet. Think more like Boko Haram raiding the pastoral Nigerians. They probably fought and the DNA evidence strongly suggests that the intermixing of Sapiens and Neanderthals came as a result of Neanderthals stealing the Sapiens’ women. Women were currency, they were booty – sorry, I couldn’t resist – the spoils of battles.
Mad Max: Fury Road imagines this brutal world of kidnapped women in a post-apocalypse landscape with cars that are as mutant as the people driving them. The basic conceit is that the “brides” of a warlord, Immortan Joe, have been set free by another badass, Imperator Furiosa, played by a one armed Charlize Theron with a buzz cut. The movie is like Gravity in its simplicity and episodeity. A long, evolving car chase across a desert landscape, improbably complicated, and then a break and another long, different, car chase and another break and another…. To quote The Telegraph, Imagine if Cirque du Soleil reenacted a Hieronymus Bosch painting and someone set the theatre on fire.
The chasers are religious fanatics who believe that they will go to Nirvana if they die fighting for Immortan Joe and the chased are the women. The movie makes it clear that the hellish afterscape is a result of and perpetuated by men. As an aside, I once asked a woman why she thought men ruled the world, she didn’t even hesitate before saying Because they are bigger and stronger and can kick the shit out of any woman who doesn’t like it. I think that I had sort of expected a men are more devious and aggressive type answer and I tried again, a couple of days later, and got almost the same answer, again without any hesitation. I have learned to not ask that question again. End aside.