The Last Neanderthal

March 1st, 2008
by Alfonso Ebanks

[private] v6-3-Our IslandsHis name was Nook and he lived about thirty thousand years ago. He was the top hunter and chief arbitrator of his clan. Whenever there was a dispute among the members of his group, Nook was called upon to settle it. Nook also had one distinguishing characteristic that made him stand out from the rest of his group: he was a head taller than all the rest. On this particular winter afternoon his mind was occupied with the things he had seen just this morning. Earlier, he had climbed the hill that separated his little valley from the huge river basin on the other side and had beheld a strange scene. Nook saw it as strange, but little did he know that on the other side of that little mountain he had seen the force that would change his whole way of life and the lives of his entire group and their kind. On the other side of that hill he had spotted another race of bipedal mammals much like but yet very different from himself.

Nook knew that it would be only a matter of time before the new arrivals would discover his group and he was not sure what would happen. He knew from trail debris and animal remains that there was another group in the valley but until now he had believed them to be of his own kind.

Nook moved his clan farther up the valley; but because he was so completely fascinated by the new arrivals, he made daily trips in an effort to observer them from his secret vantage point. He noticed that even the female members of the new group were taller than anyone in his own clan, and they all had skin of a lighter color and were less hairy than his own. The strange clan seemed to work together more harmoniously and to use toned down vocalization to communicate with each other rather than with calls and gestures. Nook took his clan a week’s walk from the little hill and left them on their own. He had decided to steal one of those females from the river basin on the other side of the hill and make her his wife.

If he succeeded in this great venture he would have to keep his new wife separated from the females of his clan because he was sure that they would destroy her. Nook was successful in surviving the fury of the other group, and his new wife survived the females of his own clan. He had taken the step which would guarantee that his genes would survive for all time, and he would never know that his offspring would proliferate and eventually dominate most of the western part of the Iberian Peninsula.

Nook was a Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and his gene flow would be the major factor in creating the stock of the Iberians. Many thousands of years later his genes would be carried to Hispanic America by the crews on the vessels of European founders and colonizers. The Castilian Spaniards used Iberians as crew and soldiers on all their voyages to the new world. Iberians were also left behind to “hold the fort” for the Spaniards. They are still here. Look around and you will find that Nook has us surrounded. [/private]

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