Study: Neanderthals Sexed Themselves to Death With Humans

A rare blood disorder common in human-Neanderthal offspring may have played a role in the species' extinction

Primeval Caveman in Animal Skin and Fur Holds Stone Tipped Spear Comes out of His Cave into Prehistoric Forest Ready to Hunt. Neanderthal Going Hunting into the Jungle. Shot with Warm Filter.
Sex with humans may have depleted the Neanderthal species.
Gorodenkoff Productions OU/Getty Images

Mythology is filled with notoriously sexy, not-quite-human figures who lure their victims to a gruesome if erotic death by sex. Sirens that drove sailors to shipwreck and succubus poltergeists that destroyed their sex partners mentally and physically are among various other (usually female) demons and temptresses whose creation is probably a reflection of centuries of misogyny and hatred for female sexuality, but oh well. Anyway, it turns out getting sexed to death by a species-adjacent creature isn’t just the stuff of folklore, but something that actually happened to the Neanderthals who walked the earth before humans lured them to their demise.

Per the Daily Mail, new research from Aix-Marseille University claims sex with humans may have played a key role in the extinction of Neanderthals. It wasn’t exactly a Black Widow spider situation, however; the sex itself wasn’t killing Neanderthals, nor were their human partners slaying unwitting sub-humanoids after sex. Rather, according to the study, sex with humans gradually decimated the Neanderthal species because relations between the two could lead to a rare and fatal blood disorder in their offspring.

The condition, called “haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn,” causes a fatal kind of anemia and is relatively rare today, affecting only three in 100,000 pregnancies, according to the Daily Mail. The condition “would have been quite common amongst Neanderthals,” Stephane Mazieres, one of the authors of the paper, told the outlet. The presence and prevalence of the disease in Neanderthal-human newborns would’ve made reproduction difficult, taking a toll on Neanderthal offspring and gradually depleting the species.

“These elements could have contributed to weakening the descendants to the point of leading to their demise, especially combined with the competition with Homo sapiens for the same ecological niche,” according to the researchers.

So, long before humans invented sexist tales of shipwrecking mermaids and horny, man-eating demons, it turns out we were the original succubi, slowly fucking the life out of another species, and probably giving them herpes in the process.

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