Friday, 15 June 2012

Basques are Neanderthals?


I was very amused in the mid-80s to read John Hooper in his book The Spaniards saying the Basques are so ancient a race that some have suggested they are not homo sapiens at all but descended from the Neanderthals. 
This morning before work I suddenly and quickly  read up on the theory. The internet is a wonderful thing. 

I mention it now purely in the hope of being amusing.  I am not particularly interested in the origins of Man (nowadays Person) and, lest I be suspected of being a racist, I do not believe in the 19th century theories about race of Gobineau or God knows who. Didn't Ambrose Bierce say 'goke' after attempts at humour? 

He also suggested using what he called a “snigger point” — \__/ — to convey jocularity or irony. But Ambrose Bierce was so leaden and unfunny. I feel sad just remembering The Devil's Dictionary.

As for the Neanderthal theory, perhaps it is true. Judge for yourself here.


  1. Junk science, I think. The clue is this bit:"the supposition becomes almost self-evident." Not without evidence, it doesn't, and this article offers no evidence, only conjectural junk that makes C19th racist theorising look sophisticated. Nice idea, shame about the facts.

  2. Undeniably intriguing idea. Cf Professor Luca Cavalli-Sforza of Stanford University: "Basques are extremely likely to be the most direct descendants of the Cro-Magnon people, among the first modern humans in Europe". A.

  3. Having thought this was just a good joke, I begin to think it may in fact be true..

  4. the "Neanderthals" are the result of selection bias: when the "Neanderthals" were discovered dating was not done by stratigraphic data or C14 or anything else; they just selected the bones that did not look like the ideal Nordic/Arian ideal and invented a "older race" out of it ... that's why it appears that the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnon "cohabitated" for thousands of years ... because they were variations within the same population

    there are plenty of living "Neanderthals" right now, if you judge by the skull or other bones

    the Basques are related to some populations in the Caucasus, Iverians or smth

    Emil Perhinschi

  5. I haven't seen that people are saying that the Basque people are Neanderthals but evolved from them because of physical appearance, the RH- factor and the language that is peculiar only to this group. I don't think it is a racist idea unless you stick with the old ideas about Neanderthals and think of them as inferior in some way. New discoveries are being found out all the time and especially through the Y-DNA testing in the British Isles which link many to the Basque which some say were originally referred to as Celts in all actuality. I have done a lot of reading on this topic.It would explain all of the references to very tall people with reddish to blond hair and light eyes that were very different from others in the general area. There are a lot of theories but I wouldn't throw this out with the bath water yet. Everything starts with a theory and most theories are resisted at first until there is so much evidence people have to take it seriously.

  6. A long article - but it does not include the basic information, what percentage DNA Neanderthal is the average Basque? This could be found out by DNA testing - so why does the article not give the number? By the way - the 5% number comes from villages in Tuscany, the heart of the Italian renaissance had people who were 5% neanderthal.