The Neanderthal Theory of Autism and Asperger’s

This is the extent some people are going to ‘prove’ what causes autism.

Having a degree in sociology and cultural anthropology, I was stunned.  This ‘researcher’ went to a LOT of work to show how the bigger ills in our society go back to Neanderthal and Homo Sapien Sapien genetic mixing.  The saddest parts to this are 1- this ‘scientist’ is completely serious, and 2- a number of people without education in these areas might not only be persuaded this is possibly true, but continue the generalization into a sort of racial slurring.

I’ve seen some pretty wild arguments around autism and Asperger’s, but using it to explain Neanderthal culture is as disgusting to me as the books that came out some decades ago on the naturally lower intellectual capabilities of the black man.

I adore the Geico cavemen, and I’ve said myself in other places that the commercials would be a good metaphor for how someone with Asperger’s might feel in normal society.  However, it was only a cute jest, and it hardly means I believe modern humans can or should be subdivided into ancient genetic lineages to explain current medical or functional problems.

Every day I hear an ad on the radio espousing the statistical probability of having a child with autism, which they compare to other birth defects of sorts that aren’t as common.  I bet parents of children with leukemia and cystic fibrosis and Down’s syndrome and whatever else are so tired of hearing those ads.

How deeply do we want to dig to prove autism is the worst nightmare a family can go through?  To the point of trying to prove it’s a genetic throwback going back to Neanderthals?


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16 thoughts on “The Neanderthal Theory of Autism and Asperger’s

  • Janika Banks
    September 22, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Hi, just for the record I’m still here. =)

    My whole point was comparing autism to racism. Sorry some of these people missed that. By the way, I do come from a much older generation that really did commit genocidal atrocities, and I think we need to be very careful how we solidify our research into politically acceptable thinking.

    Carry on.

  • August 22, 2012 at 12:26 am

    So because you have a degree in sociology you are able to disprove this theory? Laughable. Next time, respond with something scientific rather than rabble rousing. This blog post is knee-jerk reactionism and a joke.

  • January 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    i am an Aspie, and rather proud of my accomplishments in an extremely technical field, as well as proud of my accomplishments as a combat Marine, and I discovered this article long before the research caught up with it. 

    Man-on-man, Autisable can’t hope to compete with me, though I’d welcome the opportunity. Choose your weapons, from brains to broadswords. The NT prejudice exhibited is what has embittered my life from my earliest remembrances, and I now understand it is just a numerically smug majority justifying their pitiful insecurities and abuse of Autistics. I have come to hate NTs as the insecure, incompetent, vicious little miscreants you are. We displaced you several times over the last few ice ages – you should fear we will do it again!
    I’ve lived this for 65 years, and while some of RDOS’ comments are still very speculative, the bulk I can attest to. The rest of you – FUCK OFF! 

  • June 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    The Journal of Evolutionary Psychology just published a paper (Conceptualizing the Autism Spectrum in Terms of Natural Selection and Behavioral Ecology: The Solitary Forager Hypothesis) that supports the hypothesis that the confirmed neanderthal admixture event(s) provided cognitive variations that were subsequently selected for, sometimes causing a locus of deleterious recombinations in the genomes of children with parents who had selected one another for those characteristics.

    An excerpt: “The autism continuum could represent a remnant of genetic introgression that took place before humans were the lone species in our genus. Perhaps some of the genes for autism evolved not in our direct ancestral line but in a solitary subspecies which later merged genetically with our line of descent through gene flow.”

    More info can be found in the Wikipedia discussion of the “Causes of Autism” page.

  • December 10, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    NT’s are inferior and we all know it. I propose we keep them happy in the dark until the master plan can commence, my friends.

  • October 17, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    love how the answers here put into light the emotional reaction of NTs to anything new or different, and the open minded “let’s research this” way of going at anything of AS…this alone to me proves who is responsible for the evolution of the human race, allowing here that we do belong to it, which i doubt more and more as science progresses.

  • October 12, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I’m not sure about Autism, but this could be an explanation of Down-Syndrome. After a decent amount of research, I found many similarities between Neanderthal and Down-Syndrome. This interbreeding could have resulted in the extra Chromosome, what are your opinions on this and do you think it’s a reasonable explanation. This is just a theory, please don’t bite my head of like you did this article if you disagree.

  • May 31, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Wow. I see the publish date on this post is August of 2009. Since that time, Paabo’s team at the Max Planck Institute has confirmed that anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals did interbreed. They also confirmed that we are carrying some Neanderthal genes – anywhere from 1% to 4% of the non-African human genome. Worst of all – egad! – the autism theory itself has been confirmed. Now, I still don’t really understand why you took umbrage with the research in the first place, but it is clear that you will have to reconsider your righteous indignation. Me? I belong to the Y haplogroup I1, which probably has the highest concentration of Neanderthal genetic material. It’s also the “ultra-Norse” group. It doesn’t bother me a bit. Why should it bother you? PS: The gene in question is CADPS2. Don’t take my word for it… but don’t go off half-cocked, either. Let’s see a little more thinking and a little less posturing. K?

  • December 2, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Sorry but after reading this I don’t found this offending. I see the “officials” NT’s theories (different = bad/deffective)  much more offending than this one. Perhaps it’s your degree in pseudo-science the real problem here… His theory have some flaw but the idea that the mixure of h.s.n. et h.s.s. can produce incompatibility and differences why not! This is far more smart than the official NT’s theory based on arbitrary judgement.  

  • November 3, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I am a living embodiment of these theories. I “suffer” systemic Asperger syndrome. I have an awareness of my surroundings that could be mistaken for psychic ability. I do not fully understand how logic may be socially unnacceptable.

    I have redefined myself with genetic science. I have corrected what has affected and formed my dysfunctional life through dietary and evolutionary diet. I have found myself alone in a dysfunctional world. There are many of me out there, but they can no longer function while eating the roots of what kills them slowly. Mal Absorption.

    If you let the stomach feed the brain without challenging it with a genetically identified allergen to my human pack mammals species, you will learn to stop grazing on grass and eat the meat that eats the grass. Gluten proteins are killing my pack, I am the leader, and not one person is aware enough  to recognize me.

    I am HLA DQ8. I am present in 10 to 15% of world populations. My brother, the HLA DQ2 is present in 80%. These are gluten intolerant propensity genes. These are the numbers found in Italy by Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland

  • August 3, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Seriously, that’s almost as dumb as the suggestion that blondes will die out in the near future because people have been bleaching their hair. (Having something vaguely to do with “natural selection” and dominate and recessive genes… and nordic descent? WTF?)

  • August 3, 2009 at 9:44 am

    It’s pure garbage. Ill-educated morons spouting off about subjects they know nothing about. It looks more like the “author” is bucking to gain recognition off of the disability, rather than help explain its origin(s).

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