Thoughts on the Neanderthal hypothesis of Autism?

I forget who, but a scientist proposed that Autism and other nuero divergent conditions are traits inherited from the Neanderthals. I've also seen studies that claim Neanderthal/Denisovan genes overlap with genes for autism.

What do you think of this?

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  • C
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    There's no identified "autism gene."  So far that's pure speculation.  The theory that autism represents an earlier human cognitive state has been around since at least the early 90s when I first came across it.  As a stand alone theory about the development of cognitive fluidity it's interesting, thought-provoking and definitely worth considering.  However please note that when cognitive fluidity is supposed to have occurred and to which species is a moveable feast to suit whichever pet projects various academics nurture.  You're running into the same problem archaeologists run into when they try to map material culture onto language and the rate of linguistic change.  The two categories are so different that they cannot map, though we can very carefully speak about generalities.  At present autism can't be linked to any gene.  

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    • C
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      in our knowledge where the puzzle pieces fit because we haven't found evidence to the contrary - yet.  I agree that it is interesting and I don't think we've reached the end of this line of inquiry, just we've not really found anything conclusive - yet..

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  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Suuure.. like we have the DNA of all neanderthals that ever lived on file, and the DNA of all non-neanderthals living at the same time as them too.

    • No one has suggested that, and I've never seen someone misinterpret data so hard. All  Europeans and Asians have trace amounts of neanderthal ancestry.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    This part of the article sums everything up perfectly:

    "What’s It All Mean?Honest answer: Nobody is sure."

    It's a bunch of groundless speculation. No one even knows what causes autism at this point.

    Edit: Then we have a difference of opinion. I think it's pure nonsense.

    • Yes but it's not 'groundless' speculation. The findings that Neanderthal and Denisovan genes overlap with autism genes provides groundwork for the hypothesis. Also the findings describing Neanderthal genes still influence the brains of homo sapiens.

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