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bhikkhu

(10,740 posts)
11. Definitely true, but it was a crapshoot about which way it might have gone
Sun Apr 17, 2016, 01:21 PM
Apr 2016

With a 20,000 year separation in the gene pool, diseases could have evolved in the native americans that europeans had no immunity to, and europe could have depopulated instead.

At the time nobody understood diseases and tended to look at them as the judgment of god, as in, two groups collide, one is wiped out by disease, so god must have hated the one and chosen the other as his people. The psychology of that probably underpins some of what being "american" means to people still.

There is much less to go on with the neandertals. Given what we know about our genetic inheritance it seems we acquired a certain amount of disease resistance from them, which is a different thing than happened in the americas. The role of hybridization in building up disease resistance and environmental fitness is an interesting new line of study, that does tell us something new about who we are as a species.

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