“… General Lee ain’t descended from no monkey.”

Just 7% of our genome is uniquely shared with other humans, and not shared by other early ancestors, according to a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances.

“That’s a pretty small percentage,” said Nathan Schaefer, a University of California computational biologist and co-author of the new paper. “This kind of finding is why scientists are turning away from thinking that we humans are so vastly different from Neanderthals.”

A reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton, right, and a modern human skeleton on display at the Museum of Natural History in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

A reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton, right, and a modern human skeleton on display at the Museum of Natural History in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The research draws upon DNA extracted from fossil remains of now-extinct Neanderthals and Denisovans dating back to around 40,000 or 50,000 years ago, as well as from 279 modern people from around the world.

Scientists already know that modern people share some DNA with Neanderthals, but different people share different parts of the genome. One goal of the new research was to identify the genes that are exclusive to modern humans.

It’s a difficult statistical problem, and the researchers “developed a valuable tool that takes account of missing data in the ancient genomes,” said John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who was not involved in the research.

The researchers also found that an even smaller fraction of our genome — just 1.5% — is both unique to our species and shared among all people alive today. Those slivers of DNA may hold the most significant clues as to what truly distinguishes modern human beings.

“We can tell those regions of the genome are highly enriched for genes that have to do with neural development and brain function,” said University of California, Santa Cruz computational biologist Richard Green, a co-author of the paper.

In 2010, Green helped produce the first draft sequence of a Neanderthal genome. Four years later, geneticist Joshua Akey co-authored a paper showing that modern humans carry some remnants of Neanderthal DNA. Since then, scientists have continued to refine techniques to extract and analyze genetic material from fossils.

“Better tools allow us to ask increasingly more detailed questions about human history and evolution,” said Akey, who is now at Princeton and was not involved in the new research. He praised the methodology of the new study.

Comment: I am 4% Neanderthal by several tests. It would be interesting to know what else is in there. The implication of this study is that we are less uniformly homogeneous by DNA than dogs who are altogether grey wolf in DNA. Why haven’t these scholars been cancelled? They are obviously “raciss.” My title is a memory of two Confederate grunts discussing Darwin around a campfire in Michael Shaara’s “Killer Angels.” One of them says “You may come from monkeys. I may come from monkeys, but Jenrul Lee, he don’t come from no monkey.” pl



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54 Responses to “… General Lee ain’t descended from no monkey.”

  1. joe90 says:

    Neanderthal were humans just like Mexicans who claim to be 4% Aztec. All claims that they were a different species were made up by people looking for grants to dig up bones. Story telling grifters.

  2. Barbara Ann says:

    That “Killer Angels” reference is very interesting, it hadn’t occurred to me that the publication of On the Origin of Species was contemporaneous with the WBS, but sure enough Wikipedia says the first US publication was mid-January 1860. Given the scandalous nature of Darwin’s ideas, I guess it’s perfectly feasible that monkey lineage humor would have made its way into grunts’ banter by 1863. Conversational embellishments like this really help bring a historical novel to life. Do you have a favorite such device/episode from your trilogy Colonel?

    As regards our unique homo sapiens DNA, I do hope scientists are soon able to isolate the gene(s) responsible for hubris. A therapy treatment for that most serious of weaknesses would be invaluable.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Barbara Ann
      I realized today that the scene in my story in which Lee and Jackson listen to the talk between soldiers out in the darkness before they decide that Jackson will march his corps around Hooker was probably inspired by this monkey talk. I have a lot of respect for this book, Michael Shaara’s only published work that I know of. He did get the character “Harrison” a bit wrong. Harrison was actually a lieutenant in the signal corps of the Confederate Army. They were the dedicated intelligence field force of the army. Harrison was detailed to support Longstreet as a scout during the Gettysburg Campaign and did an admiral job of it, following the Army of the Potomac north until he broke away to make an always dangerous passage of lines to find Longstreet and report. Longstreet sent him across the lines during the battle requiring him to return and report. The Confederate records are quite clear about whom he really was. He did not return to Longstreet and instead made his way “home” by another route. This mightily annoyed Longstreet and Harrison got himself transferred to the trans-Mississippi to avoid him.

  3. TTG says:

    I don’t think you got the implication of the study right. The initial statement of the Fox News article is better understood as saying modern humans and our ancestors, like the Neanderthals, Denisovians and others, share 93% of our genome. Only 7% of modern human genome is unique from those ancestors. The point is that we are not that genetically removed from our ancestors. As the article says, we are a young species.

    How this 93% shared genome squares with the results of common genetic tests that show anywhere from 0% to 4% to 8% of Neanderthal DNA in our genetic samples is beyond me. My father took a National Geographic DNA test years ago and came up with 4% Neanderthal. My guess is that this is due to the limited sampling of DNA we send in for these tests. Only a small number of markers are looked at and measured, including a very limited sampling of Neanderthal DNA available at the time. There is also wide variation in how genetic scientists calculate this stuff. This is from a Smithsonian article:

    “Geneticists have come up with a variety of ways of calculating the percentages, which give different impressions about how similar chimpanzees and humans are. The 1.2% chimp-human distinction, for example, involves a measurement of only substitutions in the base building blocks of those genes that chimpanzees and humans share. A comparison of the entire genome, however, indicates that segments of DNA have also been deleted, duplicated over and over, or inserted from one part of the genome into another. When these differences are counted, there is an additional 4 to 5% distinction between the human and chimpanzee genomes.”


    There is also a wide variability in dog DNA. In one fairly comprehensive study there was an interbreed variation of 27.5%. That still leaves some three quarters of a dog’s DNA the same as the grey wolf. That’s not surprising since we have aggressively bred dogs for these variations for so long. Humans, on the other hand, have been interbreeding willy-nilly since before we were humans apparently.


    • Pat Lang says:

      I know that you are anthropologically trained and are bound to have the last word. I didn’t realize that you are also a canine geneticist. I will nonetheless cling to my primitive opinions and understandings. With regard to the dog’s DNA, what else is there in these beasts, badger?

      • TTG says:

        The thing about dog DNA struck me as odd given the massive physical differences among the breeds. I thought it would be odd if all these breeds shared the same DNA since they certainly don’t share the same genetic traits. I serendipitously found that American Scientist article on dog DNA that pointed out the degree of genetic variation. Given that domesticated dogs probably evolved along side us and if they were left to their own procreative tendencies rather than being being forcibly and selectively interbred, I would imaging their DNA would be a lot closer, almost identical, to their grey wolf ancestors. But alas, no badger DNA, just canine.

        • Pat Lang says:

          Which other canine?

          • TTG says:

            As TheUnready said, there is no evidence of another canine other than the grey wolf. The genetic variation between domesticated dogs and the grey wolf are due to managed selective breeding and breeding population separation. The distinction between modern dog breeds and grey wolves has only been around for a few thousand years. The breeding of wolf dog hybrids, both managed and in the wild, shows the fluidity of genetics and genetic mutations.

          • Pat Lang says:


            As I wrote, the differences in physique and temperament do not change the origins of dog DNA.

          • TTG says:

            The origins of DNA, dog or human, do not change. The current makeup of that DNA, the genomes that express the different physiques and temperaments, has changed over time. Getting back to those two Confederate grunts, Jenrul Lee did indeed come from those monkeys although I understand their sentiment. In the words of Robert Ardrey, “But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides.” The grunts may disagree, but I find Ardrey’s full exposition on this point to be inspiring.

          • Pat Lang says:


            That construct was a literary flourish. Shaara was meaning to express Longstreet’s fear as a listener that the men loved Lee too much and that would lead them to destroy themselves in willingness to do whatever he asked.

  4. TheUnready says:

    There is no evidence of another canine. The differences result from managed breeding that accentuates and accumulates deviations from the norm. Left to their own devices, they would remain wolves because the deviants would interbreed with the majority and the distinctions are lost…

    • Pat Lang says:


      That is my understanding as well. I watched a documentary years ago about a Russian experiment with Silver foxes who were bred selectively for changes in physiology and temperament over many generations. The changes in the animals were astonishing.

  5. English Outsider says:

    What a great quote. A real delight . ” “You may come from monkeys. I may come from monkeys, but Jenrul Lee, he don’t come from no monkey.”

    But when we’ve done the genetic stuff, and have established that the DNA of the average highland Kenyan allows him to run faster and longer than the Swede, I don’t believe we’re much further forward. The influence of background is there too.

    There’s been much comment in the press and elsewhere about our withdrawal from Afghanistan. Pity, many are saying. Maybe we could have done some good there. At least we tried.

    Such nonsense. Underlying it all has been the Progressive exceptionalism that reduces the Muslim world to merely an inferior version of ours. OK, they wear different clothes and have some funny habits but give them a bit of time, and maybe some firm handling, and just underneath all that there’s us, Western man, waiting to pop out and do Freedom and Democracy with the best of them. Background is largely irrelevant to that way of thinking.

    Setting aside the awkward question of whether we ourselves are such dab hands at Freedom and Democracy, that attitude explains why our Western interventions in MENA and other parts of the world have been so disastrous. We in the West are not a superior model to which we are helping inferior models to aspire. That is merely the comfortable Progressive version of “The White Man’s Burden”. We are merely one model among many others and should not seek to force peoples of other backgrounds into ours.

    That Progressive vision is coming under increasing attack. Good. It postulates that Man is merely a tabula rasa on which, with deft social engineering and careful attention to education, we may write what we please. It seeks dead uniformity in pursuit of an impossible utopian dream. It does not allow for our differences in background and outlook and pretends all that is merely superficial. Nonsense indeed. Whatever we thought we were doing in Afghanistan in the R2P line, we were doing nothing useful. Not for them. Not for us.

    As for Jenrul Lee, and never mind his bloodlines, I’m not sure it would have done any harm if he’d won. Just a feeling that. Where money and immediate convenience is increasingly the measure of all things, maybe it’d be good, every now and again, to have someone come out on top for whom it wasn’t.

    • Pat Lang says:

      He was that, the “Marble Man.” And now, he is treated like dirt.

    • Fred says:


      Where are all the marathon runners from the mountains of Peru, or Nepal? As to Afghanistan, the problem is a lack of “magic dirt” that makes the folks just like Londoners.

      Jenrul Lee, he did win, that’s why the left has been trying to erase him from history. Apparently George Floyd is the role model now.

    • Barbara Ann says:


      You are probably OK with “the DNA of the average highland Kenyan allows him to run faster and longer than the Swede”, but Jenrul Lee winning? You’re cruisin’ for a cancellation there boy.

      Cycling, not running, is the real problem. The average Slovenian appears to be faster that pretty much everyone else on 2 wheels, in a sport renowned for the overwhelming whiteness of its participants. This surely can’t be permitted for much longer. The Handicapper General will be along presently, I expect.

    • Barbara Ann says:


      As for progressivism, I still think Burke’s original critique of this intellectual disease says it best:

      But one of the first and most leading principles on which the commonwealth and the laws are consecrated is, lest the temporary possessors and life-renters in it, unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors or of what is due to their posterity, should act as if they were their entire masters, that they should not think it among their rights to cut off the entail or commit waste on the inheritance by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society, hazarding to leave to those who came after them a ruin instead of an habitation – and teaching those successors as little to respect their contrivances as they had themselves respected the institutions of their forefathers. By this unprincipled facility of changing the state as often, and as much, and in as many ways as there are floating fancies or fashions, the whole chain and continuity of the commonwealth would be broken. No one generation could link with the other. Men would become little better than flies of a summer.

      • English Outsider says:

        Great quote. You sent me back to the original. I’m cautious with Burke – when all’s said and done he’s a Whig and pushing the Aristo interest – but that passage is spot on.

        Isn’t it odd. I only yesterday saw that quote referred to in some stuff on post-modernism I’m ploughing through. Referred to approvingly too.

        I could end up as the only post-modernist Trump supporter on the Colonel’s site. Burke wouldn’t have liked that. He didn’t think much of Deplorables anyway –

        “The occupation of a hairdresser or of a working tallow-chandler cannot be a matter of honor to any person—to say nothing of a number of other more servile employments.
        Such descriptions of men ought not to suffer oppression from the state; but the state suffers oppression if such as they, either individually or collectively, are permitted to rule. In this you think you are combating prejudice, but you are at war with nature.”

        And Ecclesiasticus is brought in in support of Burke’s opinion of the plebs – ““How can he get wisdom that holdeth the plough, and that glorieth in the goad; that driveth oxen; and is occupied in their labours; and whose talk is of bullocks”? .

        Well thanks, Edmund. We love you too.

  6. Eric Newhill says:

    I have long found it interesting that sub-Saharan Africans naturally have no Neanderthal DNA. I say “naturally” because, since colonial days, there has been some limited breeding between whites (who do have Neanderthal DNA) and Africans who do not, producing some offspring that have a small amount of N-DNA.

    There are big implications that no one is really allowed to talk about these days. Like how can the “out of Africa” story of the rise of humans be true if humans, in the form of Neanderthals, already existed outside of and separate from Africa.

    How about the “evolved from monkeys” theory? Were there monkeys in Europe that evolved to be human and a different kind of monkey in Africa that not only also evolved to be human (parallel evolution) but did so in a way that resulted in the same breeding compatible species? What are the odds of that happening? Sounds like a stretch.

    What about the concept of “race”. If Europeans have 4% +/- DNA that the Africans don’t have, depending on what that DNA is doing, is that not sufficient to qualify as being two different races?

    • TTG says:

      That assumption is no longer correct. Sub-Saharan Africans do have Neanderthal DNA. This revelation wasn’t published until January 2020 after at least two separate studies showed a surprising amount of Neanderthal DNA among sub-Saharan Africans. The theory on how it got there is that a population of human ancestors migrated back from Eurasia to Africa after interbreeding with Neanderthals.

      Your idea of parallel evolution isn’t supported by the fossil or genetic record. Human ancestors appear to have all come from Africa, but we don’t know how many waves of migration occurred. What became the Neanderthal came out of Africa in on of the early migratory waves. Same goes for Denisovians, the “hobbits” of Indonesia and the newly discovered Dragon Man of China. Now we have evidence of a migration back to Africa to explain the Neanderthal DNA south of the Sahara. Our ancestors definitely had the Wanderlust. Evolutionary genetics is a young science. I’m sure there will be more revelations.

      • Ishmael Zechariah says:

        W/ respect to “race” did you read Charles Murray’s book “Human Diversity” (Hachette, 2020)? Part II “Race is a Social Construct” is interesting reading, specifically the figures on page 151, 152 and 180. His “Recapitulation” on Page 181 reads “Much has changed since the 1980s when it was still possible for Stephen Jay Gould to believe that evolution since humans left Africa couldn’t be more than skin deep. The main events were the sequencing of the genome and then the advent of genome-wide scans. Those analyses in turn shifted the center of attention from evolution through mutation to evolution through allele frequencies. The same analyses uncovered unexpectedly large portions of the genome that have been under recent selection. Like the results of the cluster analyses of noncoding SNPs discussed in chapter 7, the new analyses showed that the regions of the genome under selection varied by geography and population ancestry. Or to summarize it in the words of proposition 6, evolutionary selection pressure since humans left Africa has been extensive and mostly local”.
        Overall the book is a careful rebuttal of the “woke” thesis, and
        worth a careful (deep) read. It provides valid statistical data in support of its arguments, and these arguments are sound. I recommend it to all Pilgrims. Cheap copies for international shipping were/are available on used book sites, and some public libraries in the USA might have it.
        Ishmael Zechariah

  7. Mark Logan says:

    Dogs can be heavily modified in a remarkably small number of generations. Intelligence and great deal of genetic malleability would be handy whenever an ice age or very large meteor rolls into town. The natives say the coyote will be the last critter still standing on earth. Maybe he already damn near was.

  8. Eric Newhill says:

    Thanks for the update on sub-Saharan Neanderthal DNA. Not ready to buy it 100%, but will look into it.

    I was commenting that parallel evolution would be so improbable that I can’t see it happening.

    Actually, I do not believe evolution is a scientific fact. Darwinian adaptation? Sure. That is selection – meaning emphasis and expression – of genes already in the species’ genetic make up; e.g. while beaks on the European variety of a bird are yellow and 10 centimeters long, the gene for orange 5 centimeter beaks was already in the species and a shorter orange beak is beneficial to the birds isolated on a certain island.

    Same with dogs. All of the genes expressing in the various breeds were already present in the grey wolf. Selective breeding, etc just emphasized what we observe in the phenotypes. They are still dogs/wolves and can interbreed. No new species was created.

    The idea that new species emerged via genetic mutations is, to my mind, a Just So Story (as is Out of Africa and the Big Bang). Mutations usually = death. That is because animals are complete systems and mutations only happen in one system. A bird isn’t just a lizard who’s scales mutated to be feathers. In order to survive, the eyes, the skeletal system, the digestive system, etc must all mutate together for a lizard turned bird to “work”. The fossil records do not show anything like that and, again, a myriad of necessary mutations happening at once defies reason and probabilities. Even an ocular system successfully mutating into a different functioning one defies probabilities. There hasn’t been enough time in the entire universe for something as complex as an eye to successfully arise from mutations, let alone integrate with the nervous system (including the brain), which in turn integrates with all of the other systems, which integrate with each other.

    Further more, from a survival probabilities standpoint, a mutation would have to happen to many individuals all at once. A mutation in a single individual isn’t likely to get too far in the wider genetic make-up of the species – that’s if the individual even survived to breed.

    Then again, I think your covid panic and the subsequent vaccines are largely bunk based on the data I see (albeit you have to take my word for that because you can’t see it). Maybe I’m just a Neanderthal.

  9. Eric Newhill says:

    Meant to say that the fossil record doesn’t support the idea of individual system component over time. We do not see in between species. Lizards have always been lizards (even if they were really big a long time ago). Birds have always been birds, horses always horses. There are no flying feathered lizard horses.

    The fossil record does tend to support giant changes in species happening suddenly. i.e. multi-system changes occurring at once to result in new species. That is contra the mutation theory in all ways.

    Again, “scientific theories” are too often the result of looking at scant data as if it were a Rorschach test.

    There are forces and intelligences at play far greater than own and we would do well to humble ourselves before them.

    • TTG says:

      I follow you on the improbability of parallel evolution and I agree. But I agree primarily because of how evolution works. I gather you accept the notion of Darwinian natural selection and the role of dominant and recessive genes in that process. However, genetic mutation also plays a very large role in that process. Mutations occur in genes all the time. Most of these mutations have no effect on the individual or the process of natural selection. Some mutations are harmful to the individual and are selected out by natural selection. Some mutations produce an advantage for the individual. These mutations are often passed on through natural selection. It’s a slow and gradual process with a lot of what appears to be chance involved. Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit and paleontologist accepted this, but saw the hand of God in what other saw as chance. He and his writings are finally being rehabilitated in the Church.

      I know you were just making a point, but there were flying feathered lizards. Fossils of the Archaeropteryx were first discovered in Germany in the 1860s. There were also quite a few flying lizards like the Pterodactyl (pterosaur) and Quetzacoatlus. These are what evolved into our birds. But you are correct on the nonexistence of the flying, feathered horse lizard. At least I hope you are correct.

      Mutations also play a part in creating different breeds of dogs. It it was just a matter of selecting for dominant and recessive genes/traits, there would be no genetic difference between the grey wolf and the domesticated dog. Instead there is a 25% variation in the DNA of the two. That’s the result of genetic mutations.

      Mutations also occur within DNA without changing the general makeup of the DNA. For example, chimpanzees and humans share 99% of our DNA. That doesn’t mean that 99% of our DNA is the same. The sequencing is different among the genetic material. In a chimpanzee two separate genes are expressed as a single gene in a human. All these differences happened over time after we split from our common ancestor, one mutation at a time. That’s why a human-chimpanzee chimera is all but impossible. No “Island of Doctor Moreau” creatures. I imagine if such a thing was possible, it would shake our view of the Cosmos more that the appearance of intelligence extraterrestrial life.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        I am well aware of the catechism of evolutionary biology – and you have repeated it dutifully. Like the catholic catechism, it is a faith based assertion. All genes do is turn on or off the production of proteins. That’s it. They cannot be proven to do any of the myriad things that are commonly attributed to them, which is where the magical thinking comes into play.

        For that reason, humans and dogs, quite understandably, share 84%/85% DNA. After all, dogs and humans are both flesh and blood creatures. Flesh and blood are made of proteins. In that light, what does it even mean to say that dogs and grey wolves have a 25% variation in DNA. Which DNA? Define “variation”.

        I am both amused and somewhat concerned when geneticists look for the DNA that causes bipolar disorder, or a preference for blondes, or some other mental state. Yes, for example, DNA could conceivably turn on proteins that are used to grow improved myelination of neurological pathways, allowing a critter to move faster or even be “twitchy”, but nowhere is there proof that DNA creates the mental state that desires to think more deeply or move faster. DNA causing mental states is in the realm of living beings as meat robots; the mechanistic view of the universe. Of course that outlook also says that mental states, as a mechanistic epiphenomenon, are just an illusion experienced by the robot.

        Even in the realm of morphology, DNA offers only limited explanatory power. Eye and fur color? Sure, along with all the attributes that can be accounted for by natural selection. But DNA cannot explain gross morphology (e.g. why is a turtle a turtle and a dog a dog). DNA does its thing within the framework of gross morphology. It doesn’t and cannot create gross morphology. The proteins being created by DNA are being directed by something else. DNA does not have any blue print for creating a flipper versus a paw. That is scientific fact that is too often overlooked.

        Finally, speciation by mutation – or by any mechanism – has never been observed in the lab or in nature. Flying lizards becoming birds is a theory teetering on the chasm of magical thinking.

        I don’t know how or why any of these living forms exist. I know there are realms of awareness/consciousness beyond the everyday reality we all more or less experience. I do know that evolutionary biology’s explanation doesn’t pass the sniff test. More eminently qualified people than I agree. What it all means is where I too assemble the scant facts and delve into mythological story telling.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Or a shorter me – if you want to believe that physical life emerged from a puddle of chemicals, after being hit by lightening (a la Dr. Frankenstein or something, none of which can be replicated in a lab, but should be easy to do if it was real) and that a single living cell emerged, somehow lived, was adapted to the puddle life with a whole bunch of energy consuming processes just magically spontaneously occurring at the moment of the lightening strike, then the cell spilt in two to form a second living cell, which also somehow was adapted to the puddle and lived- then have it.

          Lightening is powerful juju!

          Because all of the above is necessarily part of the paradigm that you squeeze your observations into; and indeed is what evolutionary scientists say.

          Speciation has never produced in a lab or observed in real life either. There is no solid proof for any of the mechanistic materialist genetic robot theory of life. None.

          Sniff test failed, as far as I’m concerned.

        • TTG says:

          Eric, new species are being created all the time, not just discovered, but created. This applies to insects and mammals as well as viruses and microbes. The London Underground mosquito is very different from the mosquitos living throughout England. Their behavior and biology is different and the two cannot mate. That speciation happened in the last 150 years. Here’s a mammalian example.

          “A small handful of European mice deposited on the island of Madeira some 600 years ago have now evolved into at least six different species. The island is very rocky and the mice became isolated into different niches. The original species had 40 chromosomes, but the new populations have anywhere between 22-30 chromosomes. They haven’t lost DNA, but rather, some chromosomes have fused together over time and so the mice can now only breed with others with the same number of chromosomes, making each group a separate species.”

          Species and life itself is not immutable. One only has to observe the world around us to see that. Scientists don’t have all the answers and explanations. Evolutionary biologists and quantitative geneticists are just scratching the surface. That’s why they continue to do science. I come back to Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ. As a Jesuit, he saw God in all things, including paleontology and evolutionary biology. He accepted speciation, including in human evolution, and even accepted the probable existence of extraterrestrial species. None of what he saw as a scientist shook his faith. The Church gave him the stink eye for decades. Now the Church fathers are seeing that he may be on to something.

          I’m enjoying this, Eric. It reminds me of the Great Oxford Debate between Bishop Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley. Perhaps I’ll write something on Teilhard de Chardin in the near future and we can pick up the discussion.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            We are using the term “species” differently. Dogs and wolves are different species, but they can still interbreed and have the same DNA. The same for the mice you mention, etc.

            You are using “species” in the strictly correct manner. I’m using it as a wolf is a dog is a wolf and a mouse is a mouse. I guess I should be employing the taxonomic term “family” – dogs and wolves are both Canadae.

            You are technically correct, but you are splitting hairs to win an argument. Yes, within a genus, “speciation” – as you use the term – does occur. I have already stated that I accept that. It can be observed. It is merely an emphasis and expression of genes already in the genus that result in what is considered to be a new species. Nothing remarkable there. If environmental pressures are removed, the species will revert to the original type for of the genus. It will cease to exist. So was it true speciation per the ramifications you want it to have? I think not. I am talking about the idea that new life forms came into existence via genetic mutations; the only mechanistic/materialist way to get a new family and the way “science” says it happened.

            To some extent, probably a large one, species and even genus are arbitrary assignments. They are very fluid.

            A new family arising from mutations of a previous genus has never been observed, not in real life and not in fossil records. As I said, dogs have always been dogs, horses, horses at the genus level (even zebras can be bred with horses). There are no horse-dogs and there are no monkey-humans.

          • TTG says:

            Eric, dogs and wolves can still interbreed. The mice and mosquitos I mentioned cannot interbreed with other mice and mosquitos. The mice DNA mutated enough in only 600 years to prevent the possibility of interbreeding. It’s much the same with great apes and humans. Our DNA and that of chimpanzees are 99% similar. However, in 7 million years or so, there were enough mutations to prevent interbreeding. Two chromosomes in the chimpanzee are expressed as a single chromosome in humans. There were many other nucleotide substitutions, deletions and duplications of DNA fragments of different size, insertion of transposable elements and other chromosomal rearrangements. Dog and wolf DNA has gone through a lot of mutations as well, thus the 25% differentiation between dog and wold DNA. But that differentiation has not yet affected chromosomes in a way critical enough to prevent interbreeding. That critical chromosomal differentiation is why there are no horse-dogs or monkey-humans.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            And, just to demonstrate that I do read what you write and assess it, I looked into your London mosquito example. I dispute that it is speciation.

            First, per my previous comment (above), the London Underground mosquito is still the same genus as other mosquitos (Culex) and, of course the same taxonomical family (Culicidae). It is hardly a totally new critter. In fact most of the write-ups refer to it as a “sub-species”.

            Second, some papers are stating that it is not a new species (or sub-species) arising in the London subway system. Rather it can be found in Egypt, where it probably actually originated, and elsewhere.

            Next, as for lack of reproductive compatibility with other mosquitos, we have to understand why (assuming that is even a truly accurate observation). Is it because it is genetically incompatible? Or is it because it is behaviorally and/or mechanically incompatible? The former being different mating rituals that aren’t recognized by a member of the opposite sex of the other subspecies and the latter being reproductive organs that are simply of a sufficiently different size and shape that they don’t fit even if attraction occurred.

            Too often pop science is so eager to bolster the consensus paradigm that it makes premature statements, which are then repeated in an even more bludgeoned manner by the media.


          • Leith says:

            Interesting discussion between you two.

            I would hope in your future write-up on de-Chardin that you would add other Catholic Priest scientists. Lemaitre and Allore jump to mind as well as others.

          • Leith says:

            “there are no horse-dogs or monkey-humans.”

            CRISPR may soon change that. There is already talk of Frankenshark experiments.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            I think you have an issue in your figuring.

            You say, “Our DNA and that of chimpanzees are 99% similar. “, but humans and chimps cannot interbreed (though I’m sure it’s been tried somewhere, and I don’t necessarily mean in a lab ;-(

            You also say, “Dog and wolf DNA has gone through a lot of mutations as well, thus the 25% differentiation between dog and wold DNA. But that differentiation has not yet affected chromosomes in a way critical enough to prevent interbreeding. ”

            Again, DNA just turns on and off proteins. Any geneticist will agree to that statement.

            About 60 percent of our genes have a recognizable counterpart in the banana genome. Of those 60 percent, the proteins encoded by them are roughly 40 percent identical when we compare the amino acid sequence of the human protein to its equivalent in the banana. Will the day come when anthropologists discover a fossilized missing link? A transitional species between banana and human?

            % DNA in common seems to not be meaningful with regards to ability to interbreed in and of itself. Why bother with it as a metric?

            That said, I do note that you have moved from from DNA to chromosomes; specifically chromosomes mutating to form a new genus in some cases and new families in others. Ok. Now where is the proof that is what happened (i.e. “Two chromosomes in the chimpanzee are expressed as a single chromosome in humans”).

            This is all, of course, far from my area of expertise. All I can do is apply the sniff test based on my experience analyzing things before and after hearing all of the false assumptions, drive to incorrect paradigm maintenance, poor logic, etc that others have made before and after.

            Einstein said, “God does not roll dice”. Geneticists say, “there is no God and a mechanistic universe roles dice.” I have no opinion on any of that. However, what I do know is that there has not been enough time for a single individual cell, emerging from a chemical laden pond to randomly mutate into the incredibly complex life forms that populate the planet. Looking at the complexity and precision of how all of the parts work so brilliantly together in each organism and across organisms, the genesis story of the material scientists looks even more silly.

            Again, I would expect that scientists by now could easily take a puddle of water with the right chemicals and create living cells all day long every day. Why are puddles of water today, in nature, not giving rise to new cellular life forms? Scientists should be able to visits puddles and come back saying, “Uh yup, 12 new species again today”. They don’t, of course.

            It’s kind of like the Big Bang, to my mind. At 0 hour, 0 minutes, 0 second there was a bang and all this stuff came out of it. That was the beginning. Now stop asking questions – like, “Ok where did all the energy come from since energy can’t be created or destroyed” – because settled science!

            Anyhow, it’s been fun. Appreciate you patience with this Neandethal and willingness to engage.

          • TTG says:

            We have 20,000 to 30,000 genes distributed over our 23 chromosomes. Those genes are only 3% of the DNA in the cell. The other 97% is far less understood but may also be involved in transcription (creating mRNA) and translation (the creation of amino acids using the mRNA and tRNA). The rest is a mystery. One thing all this DNA does provide is an evolutionary history of the mutations that took place over time. This includes all mutations that weren’t repaired by ribosomes prior to DNA replication. Thats what the quantitative geneticists look at.

            Looking for the banana-human missing link? Now you’re being silly. As for cells out of puddles, I don’t understand why you think that should be so easy. Scientists don’t understand what the majority of the DNA in the chromosomes fully does. Nor can they control the direction and speed of DNA mutations. I do know that experiments with chemical soups and lightning have produced amino acids. That was quite a few years ago. Five years ago scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), NIST and MIT did create a single cell organism of less than 500 genes. With the recent addition of 7 genes, these synthetic cells grow, divide and replicate themselves like normal cells. My grammar school class replicated the simple pea experiments of Gregor Mendel. We did it over two years and that was simple peas and observing only simple traits. What we really learned was the need for persistence and patience in scientific experimentation.

            Big Bang. I know little about it, but the Catholic Church is now comfortable with the theories of the Big Bang and evolutionary biology. As I said earlier, the writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin, the paleontologist priest, are accepted by Rome. You might like his stuff. It’s a far reaching synthesis of science, theology and even mysticism. The concept of the noosphere is something we may both be able to get behind.

  10. Babeltuap says:

    General Lee was a fine man. Surrendered on a donkey in a private uniform. Won’t find that civility today anywhere. His officers were probably correct looking back. Guerrilla warfare. Keep fighting. Eventually the Elite east coasters quit. They always do. Can’t stomach reality.

    • Pat Lang says:


      “Surrendered on a donkey in a private uniform” Means what?

    • Morongobill says:

      He surrendered in his finest uniform, riding in on Traveller. Grant wore the privates uniform.

      • Pat Lang says:

        Grant habitually wore a private’s uniform.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Humble? Or practical; like didn’t want to be a magnet for Confederate Whitworth rounds?

          • Pat Lang says:

            Eric Newhill

            The story goes that when he graduated from WP and went home wearing an officer’s uniform he was mocked and started wearing a private soldier’s uniform with officers’ insignia. Dunno if that is true. He would have been just as visibly an officer in either rig.

          • Leith says:

            Thrifty as well as humble. Kept his dress uniform in a storage wagon in the rear. As far as being a magnet, he did wear Lieutenant General shoulder boards.

          • Pat Lang says:


            Shoulder STRAPS, not boards. Poor Grant, Lee couldn’t remember him from Mexico. But, he had won and there is no substitute for victory

          • Leith says:

            Grant probably got his ideas of uniforms in wartime from Zachary Taylor. He had served as a young 2nd Lieutenant under Taylor at the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, and Monterrey early in the Mexican War.

            In Grant’s Memoirs he highly praised Taylor’s style of leadership and said of him: “General Taylor never made any great show or parade, either of uniform or retinue. In dress he was possibly too plain, rarely wearing anything in the field to indicate his rank, or even that he was an officer; but he was known to every soldier in his army, and was respected by all.”

        • Mark Logan says:

          Grant did all that could be done to make the surrender as least painful to Lee as possible. A display of empathy. I imagine a guy like Grant would drop ornamentation which engendered an un-natural response from others which could be practically dropped, as a course of habit.

          A feature of his humble origins, I suppose. His dad was a small shopkeeper, Grant may have picked up the habit of putting people at ease and carefully listening from him, as all good small shopkeepers do.

  11. Pat Lang says:


    I was trying to send you the link. I don’t know what happened. Sorry.

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