You call it gene flow, I call it love.
There is no last word on life in the Ice Age, no resolution on how that unique animal called human was able to cope and eventually thrive. New discoveries are made, new conclusions drawn, new ideas are hatched about man’s dexterity and inventiveness. When did the stick become a spear, a random fire become a hearth, a cry of alarm become a story to be retold and passed down? When did a log become a boat, a stone become a knife, wheat become bread? When did a shell turn into adornment--painted, pierced, strung, worn, carried, traded—or used to hold ochre and charcoal and splashed on a wall capturing what was in the mind’s eye, recalling a memory, connecting past and present? We yearn to read spirals and hash lines. Homo erectus, Neanderthal and homo sapiens were all around as recently as 30,000 kbp. Not sitting around a campfire together chatting about the weather, but widely scattered over Europe and Western Asia and as closely related to each other as we are to them. In Java, scientists found fossils of an early human relative, H. erectus who they believe lived only 27,000 kbp. The debate is heated enough to ignite an Ice Age bonfire. There were interactions of culture, traditions, and genes. Somehow a universal belief in unseen powers arose--religion and myth-- along with the desire to understand forces we could not control, the concept and denial of death, and the need for order and meaning in the world.