(Holidailies Day #18)

After an evening of unsuccessful knitting catch-up, I have decided to quit knitting. At least until the morning.

In a previous life, I studied archaeology a bit. And anthropology. I wasn’t hugely successful at these things either, but my academic career was mostly punctuated by mediocrity. Not much I can do about that now, but I sure wish I could go back and slap my teenaged self into better studying habits.

Earlier today, I was reading a post about the best independent cinemas in Britain and someone in the comments section (which normally I wouldn’t read, but I wanted to make sure someone else had already noted the inexplicable omission of the Filmhouse from the main list) mentioned deciding to move to Gibraltar after having visited for three days because he loved it so much.

All I knew of Gibraltar is the odd diplomatic row/talk of small-scale war every few years and that the only wild/native monkeys in Europe live there (and they are jerks). Oh, and that it’s at the mouth of the Mediterranean (and the arse of the Atlantic, if we are imagining the world’s waterways as being Human Centipede-like).

The last Neanderthals may have lived in Gibraltar. There were probably Neanderthals (not the same ones, obviously) living there for over a hundred thousand years, ’cause there was no great ice age in that bit of Europe and, I guess, the hunting was good. Good weather, good food, unruly apes; I don’t think Gibraltar’s changed much in 200 millenia.

How I learned this:
Can’t lie, Wikipedia. Was reading about Gibraltar.

The Neanderthals were mostly killed off by natural causes or warfare, but there was a lot of interbreeding too, to the point that, 30000 years on, most non-African humans have 1-4% Neanderthal DNA. The QI podcast talked a bit about Neanderthals a few months back and they discussed how commercial DNA tests (like will tell you what percentage Neanderthal you are. Which is slightly tempting; maybe if I ever have $200 burning a hole in my pocket, I’ll try it out.

BTW, Neanderthals might have had religion, or at least spiritual beliefs, long before homo sapiens did. And they also liked bling.

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