Human Evolution in China: New Fossils Shed Light on the Relationship Between Neandertals, Modern Humans and Denisovans

Working at the open-air site of Linjing, China, palaeoanthropologists discovered what would turn out to be one of the most exciting East Asian human fossil finds in recent memory.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Great post! I believe that the Neandertals were real humans, and real persons. And they were quite admirable the way they survived on so little.

Hope you are in good health, Jim.

What I think is so interesting is that, here we have had this cultural idea that Neandertals were brutes with very little intelligence who were wiped out by the incoming, more intelligent moderns. What is actually the truth? The truth is that Neandertals interbred with moderns (who were mixing it up with archaic Homo sapiens in Africa even before they migrated north and east), that they had complex tools and structures and that this behavior had been in place for several hundred thousand years. Twenty years ago, Milford Wolpoff gave a paper at the 100th anniversary conference on the discovery of Homo erectus in East Asia, in which he said “One hundred years is enough!” He wanted to sink Homo erectus into the taxon Homo sapiens, arguing that there was so much mixing of the groups that you couldn’t tell them apart. While that is perhaps an overstatement on his part, it is clear that there was not nearly as much separation between them as we once thought.

And, yes, as much as I like winter, having the tundra line at Vienna would get to be a drag after awhile.

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So I think Neandertals were people just like us, or almost like us. What do you think? I see no reason to deny them personhood.

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I agree, especially as I just got my 23 and me results, and have 274 markers for Neanderthal.

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Why you hybrid, you!

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So what percent of you has a soul or the image of God?

3% Neandertal, 100% child of God.


Ha! Depends on who you ask, I suppose. One of the speakers last week brought up the that it is not we as individuals that are made in God 's image, but rather mankind as a whole that is the image of God, Similar to how we are part of the body of Christ, but as individuals are not the body.
I had to go back a read the text in that light, and am not sure what it means for mankind to be the image of God rather than the individual.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,a and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God createdu mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and femaley he created them. NIV

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I suppose, then, that we are ALL children of God but not all of us are 3% Neandertal. Sub-Saharan African populations have zero Neandertal in them and, the further east you move, the lower the percentage. What you find in East Asia, on the other hand, is an increased number of Denisovan markers.


The implications of these skulls are stark: there has been widespread population mixing and regional continuity in Europe and Asia for at least 400 thousand years. Not only did the Neandertals feel enough cultural kinship to mate and have children with these East Asian people, the early modern humans coming out of Africa did, as well. As Chris Davis of China Daily News put it: “One big happy family.” - See more at: Human Evolution in China: New Fossils Shed Light on the Relationship Between Neandertals, Modern Humans and Denisovans - Article - BioLogos


This seems to support my view that evolution is a process that is more complementary then competitive. Sadly Darwin and ourselves are greatly influenced by the ideology of the struggle of capitalism and “the self made man.”

Fortunately God has a different plan based on the Logos that science is slowly revealing.

There is quite a bit more going on than this. Evolution proceeds by many different processes. Darwin was not influenced by “survival of the fittest” ideologies, he simply wanted to come up with a mechanism that would explain the changes through time that he saw. Often, evolution is neutral, and only down the road are some changes co-opted by the organism to become more fit. Some parts of evolution are complementary: the Yucca plant and Yucca moth, for example. One cannot survive without the other. Other times, it is allopatric in nature, with a population being split by a geological event of some kind, such that, over time, the two sub-populations diverge to the point where they are separate species. Darwin would have been horrified by the misuses of his theory that occurred after his time.



Darwin was a man of his age and class. He lived the time of British imperialism. He lived in a time when capitalist competition was the way of life. Thus he took Thomas Malthus’ population theory as the basis of the theory that the struggle of survival was the basis for the evolution of life and accepted the phrase “survival of the fittest” as the basis for natural selection.

He called evolution the “war of nature.” This view exists to the present time. Whether he would agree with what people like Dawkins have done with his theory is besides the point.

Unfortunately the struggle for survival view has not been scientifically proven and i9t clashes with the ecological concept of symbiosis as the basis of organic change which has been scientifically proven. The struggle for survival led to the believe that homo sapiens killed off the Neanderthals. Your evidence seems to indicate otherwise.

I agree that there is much going on here. Ecology is much more than genetic change. It involves many relationships, which is why it is a better explanation for evolution than neoDarwinism. My view is that sub-populations diverge in different ecological niches because they need to adapt to these niches to flourish and survive.

Indeed Darwin wanted to come up with a mechanism to explain how evolution works. That is good.

What is not so good is that there are serious problems with his understanding of Natural Selection. That is not so bad except that science has failed to acknowledge this problem and correct it.

That is not Darwin’s fault. That is our fault.

It is our responsibility to make corrections based on the best information we have which supports symbiosis.


Roger that, Roger! (< hey… see what I did there!)…

And what’s more, BioLogos does not teach Darwinism. It teaches God-ordained Evolution, which I believe most agree is not Darwinism.

Thank God for that, aye?

I am not sure. Some evangelicals say that evolutionary creationism is Darwinism which has been blessed and baptized. My point is that a sound scientific understanding of evolution is compatible with Christianity through the Logos, while Darwinism is not a sound understanding of evolution.

As those who seek to understand the true nature of reality, this is important to scientists and Christians.

I think that we are confusing evolution with evolutionism, a notion that evolution is completely unguided, cruel and random. This is something that C.S. Lewis warned about. He was perfectly content with the notion of biological evolution but not with the idea that it was godless. It is quite true that Darwin only understood a little about how evolution worked. Give the guy a break, he came up with it in the middle of the eighteen hundreds. That is why we had the modern synthesis of Haldane, Mayr, Wright, Simpson and Dobzhansky in the 1940s through the 1970s. We have expanded beyond that to understand concepts that were not even known at that time. Evolutionary theory continues to “evolve.” We now understand things about hox genes, incomplete lineage sorting and a host of other concepts that are opening up new avenues to understand one of God’s most intriguing mysteries. Okay, thus endeth the soapbox.