Cro-Magnon - Neadertal mating

When I first published “Heart of the Bison” (2002) paleontologists were still in disagreement as to whether Neandertals and Cro-Magnons could mate and produce live offspring. Since then, DNA has pretty much put the argument to bed, and since most of the population of the Earth has traces of Neandertal DNA, it comes out in favor of live offspring, and it must have happened fairly often. I’m very happy about this because important points of the story of “Heart of the Bison” hinge on offspring from Neandertal/Cro-Magnon mating.

 

One of the important characters resulted from a Cro-Magnon male forcing himself on a Neandertal female. Though this would seem unlikely because Cro-Magnons would have thought Neandertals were incredibly ugly, it was a matter of some curiosity for the male.  Forced sex would not have had the same implications in those early cultures as it does today. He had never seen a Neandertal before, so it was unlikely he would ever see another one.

 

The other mixed breed character was the product of romantic relationship and deep love between a Cro-Magnon male and a Neandertal female. It was a challenge to create a situation where this could seem believable to a reader. Not only would they be unattractive to each other, but the cultural and religious backgrounds would be completely incompatible. They wouldn’t even speak the same language. Well —— this is impossible.

 

The things these two mixed breed characters did in “Heart of the Bison” 25,000 years ago were destined to impact important events in “Spirit Fire” 5,000 years ago and in “Search for the Heart of the Bison” at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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