Well, this explains a lot.

Turns out there’s a little caveman in all of us.

According to a team led by scientists from the University of Montreal, a piece of DNA that makes up part of our genetic structure definitely came from the Neanderthals. And that applies to everyone who did not originate in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Neanderthals, you’ll recall from school and the funny pages, were those not-quite ready-for-prime-time near-humans who were rendered extinct by the vastly superior Cro-Magnons — that is, us.

Neanderthals were typically depicted as knuckle-draggers with low-sloping foreheads and a tendency to bash first

and ask questions later. The story was they didn’t have the intellect — or the looks — to overcome their fate.

You’d better get in touch with your inner caveman, because there is conclusive evidence that our ancestors found their Neanderthal cousins attractive after all, maybe after a few fermented grain infusions, and those prehistoric boogie nights live on as part of our X chromosome.

The Neanderthals, like Britney Spears, were mainly victims of bad press. Discovery News, in an attempt to set the record straight, reports they possessed the gene for language and had sophisticated music, art and tool-making skills, and their cranial capacity was as large as or larger than the competition’s. It all adds up to sexy and smart if you’re a Cro-Magnon looking to hook up.

All this transpired between 30,000 and 50,000 years ago, which means that unless there are undiscovered cave paintings revealing exactly what happened, it’s pretty much a matter of idle speculation, which has never stopped us before. You can bet, though, that despite all the sophisticated music and art, this smoking X chromosome is the result of some pretty dangerous liaisons: “No, you can’t take her to the mastodon hunt. She’s not your genotype.”

Of course, this is a godsend for those of us looking around for someone else to blame. “It’s not my fault I got rib sauce all over my shirt front. My X chromosome is nine per cent Neanderthal.” For those of us who are politically correct, this is our cue to start feeling guilty for persecuting the Neanderthals. Obviously, they were here first. They invented fire. And in return, all we’ve ever done is steal their stuff, tell them sweet little lies and slander them in our textbooks. We’ve got a lot to answer for.

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