Posted to Subscribers on 22 November 2017


Dear Subscribers,

The rabbit hole sagas will continue after the gatherings of this long weekend. I have an enormous amount of material to add, but there is one point I would like to make as many of you sit down to a big feast tomorrow. It will help us to stay on topic and also, I hope, address some details that are not quite in focus with the various takes on the official and not so official accounts.

What seems to be in keeping with the season is the contrast between hunters and agricultural societies. Obviously, they need not be mutually exclusive, but what I keep hearing in the various attempts to explain how our genetic pool spread is that "superiority" or "survival of the fittest" was measured both in terms of the capacity to adapt as well as weapons, the bow and arrow, for instance, being an improvement over the spear. However, the flip side of this is that nearly every story refers to an indigenous group. For example, before the Hellenic Greeks of historical record, the territory was inhabited by Pelasgians who were regarded as indigenous. They were almost certainly also not Aryan or Indo-European, but being prehistoric means we do not have much information. The question is always whether they were annihilated or assimilated.

In the case of Neanderthals, some of their genes persist and constitute about 2.5% of our genetic heritage, but that percentage varies from almost nil to 4% with the lowest percentage being in Africa and the highest being in the Americas and Asia, suggesting that they were unable to remain viable in Europe. There are "human" issues to consider here, some that address the interactions between various social groups and some that help us to put together our history.

There are also scientific issues to consider, and I wish to continue this direction after the holidays. However, to seed the discussion, I would like to bring up the issue of geography and its cousin climate. We are still experiencing the remnants of an ice age. When there is more ice, there are, of course, more land bridges, such as the one often discussed in reference to the original colonization of the Americas via the Bering Strait. When the ice melts, the ocean levels rise and land masses shrink. I am not going to go into detail today, but I wonder how many of you have heard about the supercontinent of Rodinia?

Chew on this for a while. This is not part of mythology but rather science. The name is Russian for Motherland or Birth Place. We are used to ideas of tectonic plates, continental drift, and volcanic eruptions, but few of us have considered the terrain during times when there was more ice. However, we are told that the British Isles were once covered with a mile-thick ice sheet. Yet, today, they are habitable. Compare this to the accounts of Antarctica.

Ice is a formidable obstacle to survival and explains why some people would have migrated, some would have gone into caves or underground, and some would have become extinct. The rabbit hole is very deep so there will be much more discussion in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.




Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2017


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