Our brothers and sisters – Sapiens study part 1

A poodle and a bulldog can fall in love and have kids. Their kids are known as Boodle. The Boodle is fertile and can fall in love with a Chihuahua and have a blissful married life with their kids. If you go by the looks, a poodle and a bulldog look like two extremes of a spectrum. Still, they can mate and have fertile offspring. How is it possible? It’s possible because they belong to the same species. Canis lupus

Until I recently read the book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, I had never thought about the above situation in humans. What if several human species were inhabiting the earth, just like the dogs? From the very limited anthropology I learned in school, I had believed that at any point of time in history, there were only one human species on earth. Yes, I remember the Homo neanderthalensis and Homo erectus from my high school textbooks. However, it took  Harari’s to make me think about the real implication of multiple human species. 

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All species belong to human genus Source : geneticliteracyproject.org

You and I, we belong to Homo sapiens (Did you know it meant the wise-man?). We belong to the genus Homo  and species Sapiens. Around 25 lakh years ago, we (I mean Homo Sapiens) weren’t here. The first human species to appear in East Africa was Homo neanderthalensis (Man from the Neander Valley). Slowly,  the Neandertals started spreading to Europe and Asia. Depending upon the weather conditions, they evolved into different species like Homo erectus, Homo soloensis, Homo densinova, Homo Floresiensis , Homo rudolfensis, , Homo ergaster , and finally US – the Homo sapiens.  When the new species of humans evolved around the world, the Homo neanderthalensis still lived and flourished in East Africa. How do you feel when you hear this? Until 10,000 years ago, the world was inhabited by no less than 6 human species. For me, it was a shock to think that we were not only the ‘humans’ that existed on the face of earth.

Harari further proposes a bizarre hypothetical situation. What if  we weren’t the only human species survived on earth? How would our sociopolitical and economic systems would have looked? Will we be friends with the other species of humans? (I have no hope here, as we sapiens cannot even maintain peace within the same species phew!)

You and I, we belong to Homo sapiens (Did you know it meant the wise-man?). We belong to the genus Homo and species Sapiens. Around 25 lakh years ago, we (I mean Homo Sapiens) weren’t here. The first human species to appear in East Africa was Homo neanderthalensis (Man from the Neander Valley). Slowly, the Neandertals started spreading to Europe and Asia. Depending upon the weather conditions, they evolved into different species like Homo erectus, Homo soloensis, Homo densinova, Homo Floresiensis , Homo rudolfensis, , Homo ergaster , and finally US – the Homo sapiens.  When the new species of humans evolved around the world, the Homo neanderthalensis still lived and flourished in East Africa. How do you feel when you hear this? Until 10,000 years ago, the world was inhabited by no less than 6 human species. For me, it was a shock to think that we were not only the ‘humans’ that existed on the face of the earth. 

Harari further proposes a bizarre hypothetical situation. What if we weren’t the only human species survived on earth? How would our sociopolitical and economic systems have looked? Will we be friends with the other species of humans? (I have no hope here, as we sapiens cannot even maintain peace within the same species phew!) 

I thought of a few fictional scenarios if all 6 human species were to inhabit the earth today. (that’s what I do as a fiction writer 😉 ) 

  1. Instead of countries, the earth will be divided into different territories. Each human species will reign a territory. 
  2. Even though there might be wars and disagreement, all the human species would have agreed to maintain a (virtual) peace through inter-species treaties. 
  3. Instead of bodies like the United Nations, there will be United Species to maintain the peace and order of the earth.
  4. Companies will promote species-diversity. You can expect a Homo soloensis to be your cubicle neighbor.
  5. Body shaming and bullying across various species will prevail. One of us, a  Homo sapien might call a Homo Floresiensis a dwarf, and it might spark off some fight in the bar.
  6. There will be Romeos and Juliets, who transgress the boundaries of species. You might attend a wedding between a Homo Floresiensis  and Homo densinova consecrated by a Homo Sapien. There might be honor killings (if they belong to India).
  7. Religions maybe absent or will have no effect. We humans always try to find reasons to divide ourselves. So we have discovered religions, casts, and countries to fight with each other. However, when we have 5 different species to fight with, why bother about dividing ourselves with religion? 
  8. As the globalization strike, we will have to teach our sapiens children not to stare at the Neandertal kid in the next seat. 
  9. Assuming that the rest of human species are like us sapiens,  the earth ecology would have already collapsed. All the other animals would have extinct as instead of one villain, six different species of villains are exploiting them. 
  10. Thanks to the multi-species humans doing funny things, there might be a new race of diseases, we have never heard about. 

When we think about it, the world is full of possibilities. It is just by an evolution hit/miss that we are the only humans on the earth. I am not sure if it was a boon or a curse. 

 

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