Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jul/28/neanderthals-demise-modern-human-invasion
I have heard this argument before. To be honest, in my own mind, the jury is still out on this one.
PS there was an article shown in a documentary a few years ago that small groups of Neanderthals existed until comparitively recent times in isolated pockets around Europe. I think the last ones were thought to be living in caves on the coast of Portugal (or somewhere similar)
I can't remember the program so I am afraid I can't even find a link to it.
Gibraltar and and southern Spain is their last known hangout. I'm with Rubecula on this one. Don't quite buy it. I'm sure population growth was a factor, or was a result of something else. It could simply be that you see less Neandertals because they were already dying out, not necessarily because Sapiens was pushing them out. IE after the KT boundary dinosaurs go extinct and then you have huge amounts of mammals. It doesn't mean the mammals outcompeted the dinos.
one researcher says ""Faced with this kind of competition, the Neanderthals seem to have retreated initially into more marginal and less attractive regions of the continent and eventually, within a space of at most a hundred thousand years, for their populations to have declined to extinction – perhaps accelerated further by sudden climatic deterioration across the continent around 40,000 years ago.". Couple of points there. Oh look climactic change around 40,000 years ago. Funny enough the same date for the earliest evidence of moderns showing up. Second point, he had a brain fart when he says "within a space of at most a hundred thousand years". We only shared the land in Europe for 10,000 years(on current evidence. We also shared the land in the middle east at an earlier date(60,000 BP) and yet no huge population diffs show up at that stage).
As for this"The arrival of modern humans coincided with the appearance of elaborate cave paintings, decorative stones and beads, and imported shells, suggesting H. sapiens had a more complex society than the Neanderthals.", recent discoveries in Spain seem to show Neandertals had shell pendants and the like before they met Sapiens. They also mined and concentrated pigments likely for body adornment. One of the researchers posits that maybe Sapiens may have been influenced by them intially. Beads and pigment use does show up in Sapiens in one site in southern Africa at 90,000, but then seems to stop, or at least doesn't spread to the point where it's all over the place. Sapiens hits Europe and Bang! cultural explosion in very short order. Now it could be just down to a larger population keeping and transmitting the novel ideas and that does make sense. That said handaxes as a cultural item evolves, transmits and lasts for over a million years in much earlier humans and across most of the world they lived in. Something else seems to happen in Europe. IMHO it's influence and competition from the Neandertals. Or at least that has been overlooked.
Their hunting toolkit was sophisticated enough to allow them to survive successive ice ages and interglacials for the guts of 200,000 years plus. Now climate change and their large prey species moving or dying out had an impact. One theory holds that they weren't as omnivorous as us. We'd eat any goddamn thing. They were picky eaters and needed more calories. So they starved. Problem with that is sites in Italy and Spain show that they ate all sorts of things, including seals and shellfish. Recent discoveries found between the teeth of Neandertals (from Iran IIRC) show they also cooked and ate grains, so this doesn' seem to fit as an explanation.
For me I reckon it's a combination of all three. This combination may not have been that big a pressure, it could be as simple as moderns had just one more kid per small family group. Over the course of 10,000 years that would make a huge diff.
ASIDE I see they changed the pic that dlofnep quoted in the article. For my money though it's an earlier hominid I reckon its a lot closer to how a Neandertal looked like compared to the cleanshaven hippie types that look back at us from recent reconstructions.
Thats one thing that gets me too. I don't know whether its the scientists or the artists that are the culprits, but us humans are so species-centrist.
Whats that? Neandertals were quite clever? Better make them look exactly like us so, there's no way a hairy ape-looking fella could also be smart.
How did we go from this:
Granted, the first one is probably a bit too primitive, but the second one is equally as silly in my opinion.
I'd say the neandertals were very hairy. Why would we have:
hairy....whatever you'd call these fellas
But for some reason now that we know that Neandertals are smart, all of a sudden they're the exception to the rule, and even though they evolved to be adapted to the cold, they somehow didn't have the most obvious adaption, and nice warm coat of hair.
Instead, they look exactly like us freaks that evolved down in the african savvanah.
I don't buy it.
Here's a good example to illustrate my point.
This is a recent 'reconstruction' of a neanderthal male:
and these are two famous sportspeople
The reconstruction looks more 'saipien' than actual humans!
Wasn't there some type of DNA analysis done that suggested they had hair of a reddish colour?
I'd imagine they were hairy as they lived in a colder Europe so they would have needed some type of winter coat to survive.
Below is an article from Sciencemag.org
"Neandertals, the closest evolutionary relatives of present-day humans, lived in large parts of Europe and western Asia before disappearing 25,000 years ago. We present a draft sequence of the Neandertal genome composed of more than 4 billion nucleotides from three individuals. Comparisons of the Neandertal genome to the genomes of five present-day humans from different parts of the world identify a number of genomic regions that may have been affected by positive selection in ancestral modern humans, including genes involved in metabolism and in cognitive and skeletal development. We show that Neandertals shared more genetic variants with present-day humans in Eurasia than with present-day humans in sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting that gene flow from Neandertals into the ancestors of non-Africans occurred before the divergence of Eurasian groups from each other."
Bingo! Exactly. There's some deep need for us not to be alone, but at the same time the idea of something very like us in culture, but looks very different doesn't sit at all well. On the cultural front, yes we had a massive explosion in culture around 40,000 years ago, but go back to say 100,000 years ago and try play spot the difference between what cultural remains we leave and what Neandertals left. It's not easy at all.
+1000. Exactly. Animals that in their African tropical and sub tropical versions are largely hairless, adapt to the colder climes of Europe by growing hair, yet another animal that in their African tropical and sub tropical versions are largely hairless stay that way when they migrate to the same environment? Makes no sense. Sure they had animal hides for protection and I suspect could tailor clothes better than we currently think, but IMHO they would be a lot hairier than modern humans. We see this today with modern populations. Europeans are the hairiest of all modern humans. Now it's possible that Neandertals adapted like Asians in a similar temperate climate and had more subcutaneous fat as a protection, but I'd be going with hairy myself
They might be brothers. Funny thing about brow ridges in moderns and you see this even more in native Australians. Our brow ridges if we have them are biggest nearer the nose, whereas previous hominids they're bigger closer to the edge of the face. I wonder do immature neandertal kids start brow ridge development like moderns only getting the full effect as they age and mature? It's long being a theory of mine that brow ridges in early humans was a male secondary sexual characteristic. We lost them as we became more neotonous. Even so in modern humans the males still have bigger ones.
Some it appears did have that alright, but it's a slightly different genetic mutation in modern humans IIRC.
My idea of how a Neanderthal would look like is this;
From an old drawing of one. I did a bit of photoshoppery on it to fit my idea. First I increased the eye size by a third. They had huge eye sockets. Much bigger than moderns. Another local adaptation you see today. Europeans have the biggest eye sockets in moderns. The further one goes away from the tropics the bigger the eyes get. Lower light in upper lattitudes the likely reason. Neandertals really ran with this. One of the reasons their heads and brains are so big(even bigger than ours) is to house a bigger area for processing vision at the back of the skull.
You can see it in this comparison
They were likely serious sight hunters. IMHO the current theory favours this ability was about general visual accuity, but what about f it was because maybe they were low light even nocturnal hunters? This would make more sense to me for a close in ambush attack hunting style which they defo favoured. Like the way lions may hunt more at night. If you can see better you have a serious advantage. You can get right up close. You don't need long range weapons the way moderns had them. It would explain why they never appeared to invent them. A throwing dart is kinda useless in the ranges encountered by a nocturnal predator.
They're also just bigger overall. Much bigger. And contrary to popular weren't that much shorter than moderns and about the same as moderns back then. 5 foot 5 kinda area. That said one Iranian lad was 5 11 - 6 ft.
I also decreased the size of the ears and lips. Two areas very prone to frostbite, so makes no sense to have big ones.
It's a Chalicothere... but not from Neanderthal times. It did coexist with australopithecines in Africa, though...
This is super interesting stuff. Nocturnal Neanderthal... that is something I never imagined, partly because I assumed the threat of cave lions, sabertooths and giant hyenas would be to great for any kind of hominid, no matter how strong, to wander at night... but then again, having night vision (if it indeed had it) would help the Neanderthal detect predators and deal with them better than we could ever do...
Plus, it was obviously much stronger and more resistant than humans (I think there was fossil evidence for Neanderthals surviving injury that would've killed any Homo sapiens)...
This gets me thinking once again of the so called Wild Men of European folklore. They are always described as being very hairy, except for their hands and feet, and also, in some accounts, as having very large, red eyes and large teeth. They were said to live in the deepest, wildest, most remote parts of the European forests. Maybe the very last surviving Neanderthals?
The most interesting part is that in some stories, the Wild Men (even though being "savage" according to most accounts) were smart enough to speak and use tools.
This might also partially explain their demise. The climate changed and forests gave way to more grassland. Their cover was blown, even in the dark. At first they were probably OK since the two peoples would have had different hunting strategies(in my take anyway). They probably crossed paths face to face rarely enough because of same. This may explain the genetic heritage. Neanderthal DNA seems to come from a few events* in the Levant area. A more open area and where we co existed for many thosands of years cheek by jowl. My mad notion would only apply to the "classic" European neandertals of the colder north regions. IMHO I'd expect the two populations probably differed in a few small but significant way.
It might certainly be a race memory alright. I'd say classic descriptions of trolls might fit too. Living in caves and deep forests, hugely strong, shaggy hair, big noses, not very clever etc. It would be my hunch they went extinct more recently than 25,000 years ago. In forest like you mention. We have the "last" ones from southern Spain in coastal caves, because that preserves evidence. I'd not be that shocked to discover they died out closer to say 10,000 years BP. Wooly mammoths made it to 11,000 years ago in an isolated dwarfed population on a Siberian island.
*though I suspect there were far more events, just that over the ages these events bred out/were diluted. Plus the full Neandertal nuclear DNA hasn't been fully extracted yet AFAIK. There may be more bits and pieces in Eurasians yet to be found.
I just found a super-interesting article on this alternate view of the Neanderthal and what it SHOULD look like...
The creature is so creepy, so not human and yet, it WAS a human species... this is awesome stuff. I think I'm replacing the classic Neanderthals in my mind with these scarier types.
The author goes as far as to saying that Neanderthals had vertical pupils, like cats, and that they probably hunted the first waves of Homo sapiens to reach Europe to extinction- he also quotes another guy who called Neanderthals "wolves with knives".
Interesting angle alright.. Might stump up the couple of quid for the ebook. That said, on first glance?
While I would be first to agree that the current fashion for a bloke who just needs a shave, I have a couple of problems with his reconstruction. Numero Uno; The "apelike" face. Flat nose, jutting lower face, black skinned. The nose the most obvious and provable one. For all his well thought out theory(and it is) he made one big mistake, or loves his theory so much sought to tweak the results. The skull he picked for the reconstruction is missing the nose bone. In reality they have the dubious distinction of having the biggest conks of any human species so far discovered. We're talking Cyrano de Bergerac here. You can see this in the pic I link above comparing our two species. They had huge projecting noses. Not even remotely like the great apes. Jutting lower face? It's how you angle the skull. Bit of sleight of hand here. Again to fit his theory IMHO. If you took a modern flat of face human and angled the head back the jaws would stick out. If you show them at the proper angle no such jutting is shown. The linked pic above shows this and here's another;
Yes they still have more of a muzzle than us and the receding chin which exaggerates this, but not nearly to the degree shown in his reconstruction.
His contention that the eye level is radically different? Same again. Squeezing the evidence to back up his theory.
Look what happens when you put them eye level to eye level;
Doesn't look so radically different now. Again the skull he picked(La Ferrassie 1 Here's his actual skull http://www.modernhumanorigins.net/laferrassie1.html) as well as missing the nose bone was a bit of a narrow lantern faced lad. The Sarah Jessica Parker of his gang. The rest so far found aren't. Plus even here he's hyped up a bit. His forehead wasn't that low. Here's an "average" Neandertal lad compared to a modern human;
Check out the hooter on the lad on the left(the lad on the right could sue me if I get too descriptive of his own roman nose )
Then we get to black skin. Nope again. The Ku Klux Klan would have welcomed them with open arms. As well as being red haired every so often, they were also white skinned. This is shown in the genes. They have the same adaptation as white Europeans. Indeed I'd have the notion that this is where those of us reading who are palefaces may have gotten this adaptation so rapidly. Why? The climate arguments don't quite work for me. Tasmanians who lived at similar (southern) latitudes and who were in those latitudes for nigh on 40,000 years never lost their African colouring under similar selection pressures. So white skin happening in Europe seems odd. Asian folks lost the dark skin but in a different way.
The rest of the body? Ok yes they were significantly more muscled and robust, but so were we at the time. Not up to their standards but higher than today. He exaggerates the lack of waist. I'm sure if Neandertal lad fell in with the wrong gym crowd and took up chugging anabolics he might look like that, but naturally? I seriously doubt it. The calf attachments alone show someone with little knowledge of human anatomy. Here's a comparison with a modern(though for me the height disparity is a little too much)
Yes they have a bigger rib cage, but don't walk like John Wayne, nor is their head tipped that far forward. It's more forward than ours, but not to that degree. The vertical pupils? No. No way IMH. No other great ape has this adaptation. I can't even think of a monkey that does. I seriously doubt it. Outside the film of the book anyway, for cinematic effect.
I would go along with the wolves with knives description though.
I'm learning tons here. Prehistoric humans were never my speciality, even tho they are a quite interesting subject...
You know, recently they published a study which said that all of us non-black humans are part Neanderthal. I didn´t read the full article and certainly didn´t read the paper but it got me thinking...
If we, pale-skinned humans, are part Neanderthal, is it possible then that we inherited said skin from Neanderthals themselves? I mean there's genetic evidence, as you point out, that Neanderthals were white, right? And the Homo sapiens who left Africa were, I would assume, black skinned. Today, the study says, black people are the only ones without Neanderthal genes... so, maybe we are white because we are part Neanderthal? Same with red hair...
Just a thought. Like I said I know jack about prehistoric humans and I know to you guys the question is probably stupid but hey, better ask and look stupid for a minute, than not asking and being stupid for life, right?
Kinda. White skin AFAIR is not just one gene, it's not like switch this on, black, switch this off white. There are a few involved. In the DNA they've so far extracted they've found a mutation in Neanderthals that gave them red hair, but it's a slightly different mutation to modern humans. It's in the same area that leads to white skin so they reckon they were also white.
All modern humans who left Africa were black alright. You can see evidence for that without going near the DNA. Along the south coast of Asia there are small populations of dark skinned folks, so called "Negritos" that appear to be African and theire genes back this up. They've a very old heritage. They're like fossil footprints of us leaving Africa and spreading out along the coasts. Andaman Islanders a good example living on islands off the east coast of India;
Black folks a loooong way from Africa.
Now the explanation that Europeans became white because of climate adaptation while seeming logical and self explanatory always seemed to me too neat. Plus like I mentioned the peoples of Tasmania in a similar climate to Europe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Tasmania kept their African skin and remained very dark. They were in Tasmania for about the same length of time as moderns were in Europe. Now the other explanation is a genetic bottleneck in Eurpe and a smaller gene pool caused local mutations to spread more rapidly. Again I find that somewhat dubious as again Tasmanians were even more isolated. Europe and the near east is like a feckin busy crossroads of people moving back and forth by comparison. Now it could simply be that a once off freak genetic event spread through the population because of a conferred advantage and the same freak event never happened anywhere else. That's possible, maybe that's what happened but just doesn't feel right to me anyway.
It would be my take that Europeans got this advantage from the local relict population. IE Neandertals. I'd suspect Asian folks may have gotten some of their characteristics from the local relicts they encountered. People like the Andamans and others didn't because maybe they hugged the coasts as the first people to leave Africa. They didn't bump into the relict populations that lived more in the interior. Or they moved fast, always moving ever onwards. Maybe avoiding the locals out of fear? We forget that we didn't move into unsettled areas. There were people there already. Populations would be low compared to today of course, but if you were to be one of those first moderns moving through the world it would be clear enough ye weren't alone. Maybe those first peoples only stopped when they found places like islands(or even continents like Australia) that were uninhabited by the older humans. The moderns who followed them moved further afield and inland to the interior. Maybe they stayed in places longer. Maybe they were more aggressive or had better long range weapons that gave them a tactical advantage over the locals? They might have been more willing to actively engaged with the existing peoples. Not always aggressively, but enough to stand their ground. Ditto in Africa. It seems that we evolved as fully modern in north east Africa, but we didn't just leave Africa, we would have moved through that continent too. I'm sure there would have been relict humans in other parts of Africa and we encountered them too. There are modern humans in the southern tip of that continent by 100,000 years ago.
All conjecture of course, but it would explain and tie up the loose ends between the out of Africa/multiregional debate. Genetics seemed to close the door on that, when they found all moderns were African in origin. That became the mantra. "We're all Africans you know". Very neat, but at the same time dig deeper and it asked as many questions as it answered. Now with confirmed DNA of relict humans in moderns, Neandertal in Europeans and west Asians and Denisovian genes(from one finger bone!) in south east Asians, that "pure" African model is a little less true. I'm quite sure there are far more of these stories of all our heritages to be found. If just one finger bone can do it, what lays out there ready to be found? I'd predict the next one they'll find is in Africans. Their African "neandertal"/Erectus 2.0.
A good while ago here I predicted we'd find Neandertal DNA in Europeans and they did. When they did I reckoned they'd find similar in Asians and they did. My reasoning being this: The story went Erectus evolves and spreads through the world. Then you get local evolution of Erectus. In Europe they became Neandertals. In Africa they became us. So far so god. That left a big gap for me. Asia. It didn't seem right to me that Erectus stayed the same in that huge area for over a million years in a very diverse environment with different selection pressures and didn't change locally they way they did in Europe and Africa? Didn't make sense. Still doesn't. So I thought of Erectus 1, then Erectus 2.0(Neandertals/us/Asian?). If you look at some of the fossils coming out of China they seem to show Erectus 2.0, or what you would expect them to look like. Bigger brained Erectus. Local Asian "neandertals" basically Around the 120,000 years mark. http://news.discovery.com/history/neanderthal-human-mating.html It's fascinating stuff.
*I found a great page on Asian hominids around the 150,000-200,000 year mark and while they have some erectus features they're more evolved ones. Sadly I can't find the link. I'll dig deeper.
Can't say I'm a fan of these unhairy restorations of neandertals either. Look how hairy 'normal' people get!
It only makes sense that people evolved specifically to live in lands of ice and snow would be even hairier!
But I agree with you
Now, on a slightly different topic, do you guys think Homo erectus/Homo georgicus/Homo floresiensis were (relatively) hairless like us, or very hairy like Neanderthals?