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The brothers of no significance

The brothers of no significance

I hope everyone reading is a Homo Sapien (human)- the species sapiens (wise) of the genus Homo (man). Sapiens have preferred to view themselves differently from animals.
That's not the case though. Like it or not, we are the individuals of a huge and especially noisy family called the great apes. Sapiens has kept hidden a disturbing secret, not only do we have savage cousins such as chimpanzees and gorillas, we had quite a few brothers and sisters as well.

Sapiens were not the only humans belonging to the genus Homo. Our brothers Homo rudolfensis, Homo erectus, and Homo neanderthalensis belonged to the same genus. It is a frequent misconception to think of these species as being in a direct line of descent, with Erectus begetting Neanderthals and the latter giving rise to us. The truth is that the world was actually home to many human species from around 2 million years ago until roughly 10,000 years ago. Neanderthalensis or Neanderthals were humans in Europe and western Asia. They were bulkier and more muscular with a brain bigger than Sapiens.

What drove our brother extinct? Well, frankly, us. There are two conflicting theories. The 'Interbreeding Theory' tells Sapiens and Neanderthals attracted, mated and mingled. If this is the case, then Eurasians are not pure Sapiens. They are the cross of Sapiens and Neanderthals. The 'Replacement Theory' is a wiser theory because Sapiens have shown a history of destruction. This theory state that Sapiens committed genocide. Wherever Sapiens had put their paws, half of the flora and fauna vanished. Assume you are a mammoth in Australia enjoying a beautiful day while casually munching on grass. When you look up, you see a Sapien staring at you with a sharp-looking stone. You resume eating after deciding that the other animal (Sapiens) is not a threat. Next moment you realize you are dead and feast to the species four times smaller than you. Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards a different human species when there was a competition for resources? Because tolerance is still not a Sapiens trademark. Even in the present era, a slight difference in dialect, religion, or skin colour has been enough to inspire one group of Sapiens to begin
the extermination of a different group. Another reason for the approval of this hypothesis is even if a Neanderthal Romeo and Sapien Juliet fell in love, they could not produce fertile offspring because of different anatomies, mating habits and body odour.

Imagine how things would have turned out if other species of the genus Homo survived. The kind of cultures, societies and political structures would exist on earth where different human species coexist? If our ancestors did not consider them brothers of no significance.


Vanya Mudgal
BCA 3RD year