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The apple doesn't fall far from a Neanderthal's tree

Recent information regarding my ancestry has seemingly predicted and affected my behavior. Not too long ago, I spent half an hour spitting into what looked like a small test tube but which grew to quart size when it became apparent that one doesn't spit all that fast. You go dry, spit all you want.

Lots of you out there have likely already done this, had your genome sequenced. As I was spitting, I was reminded of high school days when wrestlers would spend the whole day trying to spit their weight down to some category. They now have my sympathy.

Anyway, if you remember, the results came in, and indicated that I have more Neanderthal ancestry in my genes than does 99 percent (that's you) of the population. (Which still isn't much. Honest.) I had attributed this ancestry to my father's side of the family, because that side is definitely German, and the Neanderthals got their name from the discovery of their bones in the Neanderthal Valley in Germany.

However, he is off the hook. Information has been discovered that the Neanderthal line of my family tree actually originated nearly 700,000 years ago, much earlier than did Lucy, which is our earliest known African ancestor. 270,000 years ago, African humans spread to the German area and interbred with the Neanderthal ancestors. Humans won. To get to the point, the Neanderthal inheritance still comes through, but it comes through mitochondrial DNA, which is only passed from mothers to children. See?

Thank you, mom.

This may explain a lot. One supporting example of the difference between my mother and my father happened after he retired from farming. They still lived on the farm, and a large old wooden corn crib was falling down. Since dad burned wood, he took a small electric chain saw to that quite large structure, and over a couple of years, turned it into small burnable pieces. Patience and planning, no doubt about it.

I've often thought, had this been my mother's project, she would have torn into it, chain-sawed her health into imminent physical collapse, and taken two years to recover.

Ahem. That's also how I would have done it, you see. Now we go to how my ancestry has affected my behavior. I had a concrete floor poured in a large pole building here on the farm. Upon completion, I realized that I needed a small apron of concrete in front of each of the two large doors into that shed. Small. Hardly worth calling for delivered concrete, much less paying a substantial premium for part loads during hot weather, when they have trouble keeping it pourable. Very expensive.

To explain the decision I made, it would have been nice if a thrift gene had shown up in my ancestry. One that was provable, one that I could spit my way into. Nope.

What Neanderthal DNA would hesitate at a mere thirty 60-pound bags of Sakkrete. Which as you know has to be mixed with water. I knew the bags would come on a pallet. I knew that from the pallet to the ground was downhill. Heck. What guy who has had two back surgeries and a recessive Neanderthal gene can think downhill is hard. Not this one.

I got it done a few days ago. I just got back from the chiropractor. I walked in there all humped over, unable to stand erect. Barely able to walk. Four day beard. Long hair all awry because I could barely lift my arms.

Kind of like the pictures of the way we think my Neanderthal ancestors looked and walked.

And the way they thought, apparently.

No wonder they all died out.