I wonder if some of the bigotry is rooted in prejudice against Neanderthals.
This article suggests that autism may come from Neanderthal genes, and adds:
I want to be perfectly clear on this point: this discovery absolutely does not mean that the Denisovans, Neandertals, and other ancients were autistic. Nor does it mean that autistic people exhibit prehistoric thinking. Rather, what it underscores is that normal modes of human thought occupy a broad continuum.There is a theory for this origin of autism:
The “neurotypical” way in which most people see the world today is only one way of doing it. As enlightened studies of autism repeatedly drive home, we need to appreciate those variations as part of our human spectrum rather than just labeling them defective or abnormal.
With or without all our cognitive abilities, the Neandertals and Denisovans survived under amazingly hostile conditions for hundreds of thousands of years. Their different ways of thinking may have been dominant throughout long stretches of the past, and might even have had advantages over our own under their circumstances. The lesson that these ancients offer is that we should broaden our minds about how broad minds can be.
The theory shows that autism is not always a disease and that some forms of autism exist for a simple reason: Every population has a surrounding frontier where there are few members. Adaptation to frontier sparseness produces a Sparseness Adaptation Syndrome that plausibly accounts for much of autism. In other words autism is an expected result of adaptation to the unrelenting sparseness of population frontiers.Popular portrayals of Neanderthal men show them to be ugly and stupid. They were not so stupid, as New Evidence Debunks 'Stupid' Neanderthal Myth:
Many long-held beliefs suggesting why the Neanderthals went extinct have been debunked in recent years. Research has already shown that Neanderthals were as good at hunting as Homo sapiens and had no clear disadvantage in their ability to communicate. Now, these latest findings add to the growing evidence that Neanderthals were no less intelligent than our ancestors.Some new research leads to this speculation:
Metin Eren, an MA Experimental Archaeology student at the University of Exeter and lead author on the paper comments: "Our research disputes a major pillar holding up the long-held assumption that Homo sapiens were more advanced than Neanderthals. It is time for archaeologists to start searching for other reasons why Neanderthals became extinct while our ancestors survived. Technologically speaking, there is no clear advantage of one tool over the other. When we think of Neanderthals, we need to stop thinking in terms of 'stupid' or 'less advanced' and more in terms of 'different.'"
For ages, anthropologists have puzzled over Neanderthal and human brains, since they were the same size. If each species had comparable brain power, why did humans dominate?I have had my genes sequenced, and they are 2.8% Neanderthal. Neanderthal men had a European look, with hairy bodies, light skin and eyes, stocky builds, and large cranial capacity. Some people find it very upsetting that brain size could be related to intelligence.
A comparison of Neanderthal and human brains has revealed it was a matter of allocation: Neanderthal brains focused more on vision and movement, leaving less room for cognition related to social networking. ...
Another theory, supported by this new study, is that Neanderthals went extinct because they were less capable of forming larger social networks. Pearce theorized that "smaller social groups might have made Neanderthals less able to cope with the difficulties of their harsh Eurasian environments because they would have had fewer friends to help them out in times of need."
She continued, "Overall, differences in brain organization and social cognition may go a long way towards explaining why Neanderthals went extinct whereas modern humans survived."
Dunbar further thinks that new diseases brought in by humans could have hurt Neanderthals.
I am here to speak out against Neanderthal prejudice.