What’s really interesting is a comment made on Ace of Spades about the uneasiness most of us feel about ‘almost-human’ entities:
Food for thought: The existence of the uncanny valley means that sometime in the history of our species, there was an evolutionary or survival advantage to being uneasy about things that looked almost human, but weren’t.
In the past, there had to be ‘close enough’ species that interbred with ours. The offspring would be closer to our genome, but not quite. Acceptance of a stranger with a body composition near to ours would not necessarily be a good idea, particularly if that stranger held some attraction for the females in that group (not uncommon, women then, and today, are often attracted to men on the edge).
Which brings to mind:
Were most wars of the prehistoric era intra-species combat? Did the outcome decide the fate of the human race? And, does our almost instinctive suspicion towards those exhibiting ‘almost right’ traits reflect the past need to keep the barriers up, lest our genome be overrun?
We clearly interbred. Analysis of current DNA shows some variance in the incidence of Neandertal and Denisovan genetic markers, but it’s present in a significant portion of the White and Asian races. It’s nearly completely absent in those of African heritage (unless they have White/Asian ancestors).
The apparent correlation between those humanoid sub-types in the DNA, and superior abilities in math and other STEM subjects, speaks to the idea that interbreeding was a major advantage to humans. It may have made our modern society possible. I’d love to know whether the traits are tied to the X or Y chromosome. That would give us a clue as to whether humans were the aggressors, or those other types were. It may have been somewhat mutual.
I hope some of these questions are answered in my lifetime. It just fascinates me.