What we know about sex with Neanderthals

True… although the more advanced tribe spoke in one of the Inuit languages… possibly Inuktitut. (The obscurity of that language saved Burgess the trouble of inventing a whole new language for the film tribe.) :slightly_smiling_face:


There should be a trivia thread on BB; that should keep all very busy.


There was a glut of high-quality sci-fi film in 1981-82, and not as much demand as there is now

  • Time Bandits
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
  • Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
  • John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Blade Runner
  • TRON

I’m probably forgetting some more

I didn’t even know people thought Quest for Fire was good and should be on the list, guess I do now


Haven’t seen it mentioned yet, but the recent book about Neanderthals, " Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art" by Rebecca Wragg Sykes is an excellent read and will give you everything you ever wanted to know about our current understanding of these distant relatives (as reported by one archaeologist).

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Pics or it never happened.


Metalheads should be familiar with it!


Bonobo’s are at least as sex mad as humans, so it’s probably something that all apes share. Basically I’m saying that the Neanderthals were probably just as likely to initiate.

Alas, I can’t remember where I read it, but I remember an account from a zoologist studying orangutans. He was following one particular female orangutan, who was quite comfortable in his presence. In fact, more than comfortable, because she started, ahem, ‘presenting’ to him, in the same way she did for male orangutans. Apparently when he went back to base camp his colleagues castigated him for not taking her up on the offer, “just lie back and think of the science!”.
If anyone can dig out the source on that (and verify if it’s true or not), I’d be eternally grateful.



(Parser can’t unpack Orangutanese.)

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This interesting part of this (apart from all the, um, stimulating Neanderthal porn) is that homo sapiens sapiens and h. s. neanderthalensis were close enough as species to produce non-sterile offspring, unlike mules and other hybrids.

Hybridization is quite common, and may be adaptive.

Maybe we are all a hybrid species that arose in the Pleistocene.



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I never thought of it as a cult film. Looking at it today (or as I think I watched it again about six years ago) it’s kind of a guilty pleasure. There are some comedic moments. But when it came out and was in the theater, that was very immersive.

Here are some sludgey four word film reviews. Sorry in advance - these are all dad joke level:

  • Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan - Chekov can’t shake earworm.
  • Blade Runner - D.A.R.Y.L. Hannah
  • John Carpenter’s The Thing - Thing is, nobody knows.
  • Quest for Fire - A new Rae Dawns.
  • TRON - Logon, Run.
  • Time Bandits - Mission imp possible.
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior - OK Boomerang.

Primate behavior along those lines is extremely varied. And I know this thanks to reading books like The Third Chimpanzee. Bonobos take “Make love, not war” as the Prime Directive. Gorillas have harems (and tiny, tiny peckers, just big enough to get the job done). Young male orangutans do dangerous tree-surfing but only in the presence of young female orangutans; it doesn’t seem to increase their mating success. Totally unlike humans. Totally. Gibbons are monogamous and don’t have a lot of non-procreative sex. Female Capuchin monkeys (if I’m remembering the species correctly) have lots of sex partners and make a lot of noise during orgasm as a sort of “Come and get it, boys!” Male monkeys of many species get all aggro about being The First One to mate with a female in oestrus, but if a few go into season at once the exhausted dudes end up running away to escape.

Zookeepers I’ve known who’ve worked with bonobos say that casual propositioning by their charges isn’t uncommon, and the apes seem confused and a little put out initially that humans are so anti-social.

Not surprised at all about the lady orangutan. She probably thought that cute, exotic, polite, if a little wimpy was interesting. And it sounds like the punchline to an old joke. “Okay, but I don’t have to kiss her. Nobody finds out about this. And the children have to be raised Catholic.”


My favorite bit was when Man the Tool User, Man the Quester for Fire, Man of the Great Brain sees a predator. Immediately all that goes out the window and it’s Scared Monkey Races Up a Tree :smiley:


or the concept of a “species” in biology isn’t really working and they need to start over


That attitude will get one arrested in many jurisdictions.

Sometimes there are surprises when they check the actual DNA.


I’m also just remembering I think they called fire “Atla” or something like that.

Saw this, it was a great read. The George C Page museum at La Brea Tar Pits has a wall that’s all dire wolf skulls. I think no matter how deep they excavate they’re still finding them. They have pulled more than 4,000 so far. As potential prey became trapped in the tar, the dire wolves would be drawn to them. So really this site was a horror show for millions of years. I wish I knew more about what the native peoples thought of it as I’m sure they had a special name and took great care around it.

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It’s complicated.

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