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Did they use a cro magnum?
It is well-known that early humans hooked up with Neanderthals. However, this week researchers revealed the delicious details of these interspecies sex sessions, which reportedly included kissing, philandering and even transmitting STDs.
“When you kiss someone, oral microbes will go back and forth between your mouths,” said anthropologist Laura Weyrich of Pennsylvania State University. The researcher postulated that these prehistoric peoples swapped saliva after finding a human bacteria signature on a Neanderthal tooth discovered in northwest Spain in 2017, the BBC reported.
Through comparing Neanderthal and human microorganisms, Weyrich ruled that the bacterial exchange could be linked to 120,000 years ago, “one of the first time periods where we have described interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals,” said Weyrich.
Hence the idea of a human-Neanderthal makeout session.
“It [microbial swapping] could have happened once but then sort of been somehow magically propagated, if it happened that the group of people who were infected went on to be very successful,” she said. “But it could also be something that occurred more regularly.”
And while these salivary stowaways can also be transferred via sharing food, there isn’t any evidence of a Neanderthal prepping meals for a human. Perhaps they shared a romantic mammoth tail a la “Lady and the Tramp.”
Unfortunately, bacteria wasn’t the only byproduct of this carnal cross-pollination. Researchers believe that our species might’ve acquired Type A of the human papillomavirus (HPV) from bonking our ancestors.
“I tested it thousands of times using computational techniques, and the result was always the same — it’s the most likely scenario,” says Ville Pimenoff, an evolutionary geneticist at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
Therefor, it was highly probable that humans were bedding cave people on the reg. “It is very unlikely that it just happened once, because then it would be more probable that transmission would not survive further,” said Pimenoff.
The researcher postulates that acquiring Type A from our ancestors explains why the disease is so cancerous in humans — we didn’t have time to build up an immunity because we encountered it so early.
Neanderthals might have even infected us with an early iteration of HIV — a favor we returned by reportedly giving them herpes and other STDS, according to research conducted by evolution experts from Stanford University and the University of Arizona.
The progression of manhood
Did Neanderthals have a massive erectus? Hard to say. But a 2013 study found that just like modern humans, Neanderthals lacked the genetic code for penile spines, which our closest living relatives — the infamously promiscuous bonobo chimps — use to compete for females. It is thought that our collective forebears shed their sexual spurs around 800,000 years ago, the Guardian reported.
As a result, it is likely that these extinct peoples were predominantly monogamous just like us. So yes, they were faithful despite sleeping outside their species.
Thag the philanderer
Nonetheless, researchers believe that Neanderthals might have slept around more than their human compatriots. They deduced this using the oft-disputed method of measuring the difference in lengths of their index finger and ring fingers (which often correlates to the level of testosterone in the womb).
Chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans — which have a higher propensity for philandering — boast lower digit ratios on average, while both early modern humans and their present day brethren had higher ones, the BBC reported.
As Neanderthals’ digit discrepancies fell in the middle, scientists theorized that they fooled around more than humans — but less than the other great apes.
If that wasn’t enough to upend your perception of ancient peoples, recent studies found that prehistoric humans might’ve been chubby chasers and that women were no strangers to bringing home the bacon in 10,000 B.C.
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