Friday 15 December 2023

You are part Neanderthal if you wake up when your cat is active at dawn

The title seems bizarre but there is an element of truth about it. Even more than an element of truth because the title is based around a study about Neanderthal genes which can be found in modern day humans.

And, the study reports that Neanderthals were early risers in order to improve their hunting success rate. In other words, the Neanderthal genes in some us affects our circadian rhythms making us early risers.

We know that domestic cats are most active at dawn and dusk and sometimes at night and indeed sometimes during the day but they are known to be crepuscular which means active at dawn and dusk.

And if you have these precious Neanderthal genes you are likely to be active at dawn which means that you are likely to wake up at dawn and do something at 4 AM in the morning which, by the way, is what I tend to do now that I am an old man and I want a bit of peace and quiet to write articles for my website.

It helps if you have Neanderthal genes as you are more in sync with your cat. It helps cat caregiving therefore.

Neanderthals lived at higher latitudes than our ancestors who migrated from Africa. In other words they were further away from the equator which meant that the days were longer in summer and shorter in winter.

Neanderthals were able to make the most of the daylight hours to maximise their hunting successes. To achieve that they were early risers.

The study is new in that it is one of the first studies to look at the circadian rhythms of humans and to see whether there was a genetic reason for differences between modern humans and are forerunners. They found 16 variants linked with greater 'morningness' or the propensity to rise early in the morning.

The study scientists suggest that modern people might have inherited Neanderthal "circadian variants."

Most of the variants in circadian rhythms and sleep preferences concerns an increased propensity to being alert in the early hours of the morning. And it's consistent with research on other animals which are adapted to living at a high latitude just as Neanderthals did.

The study is published in Genome Biology and Evolution.

So in conclusion, I will say that I have Neanderthal genes inside me because I am active at 4 AM in the morning although this is dependent partly upon the fact that I'm old and therefore sleep badly. Don't think badly of Neanderthals. They were much smarter than they are generally given credit for today.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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