Thursday, December 17, 2015

Valley of the Neanderthal People?

The image is a digital illustration by David A. Claerr and copyrighted in his name.

*This is a guest posting by Bigfoot researcher/artist/author, David Claerr**

Lucien Camille Claerr, my grandfather, was born in the mid- 1800's, in Alsace Lorraine, located in the
portion of the Alps north of the region that borders France, Germany and Italy.  The Alps have many
moderate to large mountain peaks that surround secluded Alpine Valleys.

My grandfather lived in a small village in one such valley. The villagers were hardy mountain
pastoralists, farming the lower slopes and grazing livestock in the mountain pastures.

Lucien learned mountaineering arts at an early age, and when he was as a young adult, he explored the
Alps during the summer months. With a bedroll and a backpack, he traveled for many miles about,
climbing summits and visiting the remote villages. Often he would offer to work for food and shelter,
or sometimes, a small sum of money.

He related this story to me of an adventure he had near the border of France and Italy. Situated in the
heart of the Alps, the ranges on the borders of  those countries are some of the most inaccessible in
Europe. One day, deep in the interior, he happened across an isolated village that was peculiar in many respects.

The first thing he noticed was that the building construction was very different than most he had seen in Europe. They had thatched houses and barns with supports made of rough-hewn trunks with some of the big branches left on the trunk, to form arches that supported the ceiling beams. The men of the
village were all burly, barrel-chested, bushy-haired and coarse featured, with enormous beards. Many
of these men also had red hair and blue or greenish eyes. They wore leather breeches and homespun
shirts. The women seemed to be staying indoors, and he didn't see any for the first few days. The
children seemed very shy and either peeked around the corners of the houses or darted away swiftly.

The men spoke with an usual accent, and he could not understand some of them at all, though he spoke
both French and German fluently. But one man, speaking fragmented bits of both languages, smattered with Italian, and using many hand gestures, befriended him. He offered him food, and lodging in his barn, in return for helping to build an irrigation sluice. They fashioned the sluice from halves of hollowed-out logs, joined end-to-end. My grandfather was good with an ax, and, after a week of solid labor, the man complemented him on his skillful work and invited him to dinner at his house,
suggesting that he introduce him to his daughter.

On the appointed evening, he went to their house. When dinner was served, the daughter came out of
the kitchen carrying a tray of food. Lucien was shocked to see that her “bare” arms were totally
covered with the same thick, woolly hair that her father and the other village men had on theirs, and
that she seemed to have bushy sideburns under her long shaggy hair. When she leaned forward to set
the tray down, he perceived that she had more hair on her chest than he did! He was so disturbed that
he had to fight to swallow down the food.

After the meal the men retired to the porch to smoke pipes. Lucien's host invited him to sleep in their
house that night. Lucien accepted, but found himself lying awake half the night, tossing and turning. He
remembered hearing stories about rural customs that required a man to be married to a young woman,
after staying at her house for a single night. In a fit, he finally got up and, quietly as possible, left the
house. He went to the barn and hurriedly packed up his belongings. Fortunately, the night was brightly
lit by the full moon, so he hastily hiked out of the valley, traveling many miles before even stopping a moment to rest.

Recently, I was reading about the successful sequencing of the Neanderthal genome. Consequent to the gene mapping, DNA sequences specific to the Neanderthals were also found to be present in the DNA of modern Europeans, comprising about 3 percent of their genome  It was also determined that some Neanderthals had the genetic makeup for red hair and blue eyes.

I then remembered my grandfather's story, which I had always thought of as a quaint and amusing tale.
But, his description of the people of that remote village could easily fit a geographically isolated
population of Human-Neanderthal hybrids who had only infrequent contact with outsiders before the 20th Century. 

Since many genetic researchers are currently sampling gene pools from distinct geographic areas, I would suggest this region as a possible target for gathering comparative data on Human-Neanderthal.

(The narrative account was transcribed from a verbal account by Lucien Camille Claerr by the author, 
David A. Claerr. The image is a digital illustration by David A. Claerr and copyrighted in his name.)

Books by David Claerr

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