Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Neanderthals' demise caused by modern human invasion

Options
2»

Comments

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭Wibbs


    yekahS wrote: »
    I love reading about the stuff we can infer from fossil hominid finds, and the article Adam Khor posted which depicted neanderthals as upright and scary gorillas, shows how the same fossil can lead people to assume completely different things.
    Oh very true. And this is with humans which we're kinda familiar with. The chopping and changing in how dinos may have looked is even more driven by perceptions, evidence at the time and indeed fashion. That said while I reckon the link AK posted poses some very interesting questions I do think his reconstruction goes too far and in the case of the facial makeup completely wrong, or as wrong as you can be with the bones in front of you. The lack of nose the biggest and most provable error.
    I often wonder, if in 200,000 years if people dug up the remains of a hard living, strong robust, black South African miner, and the remains of a dainty, gracile, Hong Kong businessman, would they conclude they were different species? Would they point to the stronger bones of the african, the more pronouced brow-ridge? The flatter face of the Hong Kong fossil, the thinner and more fragile bones?
    I'm pretty sure they would. Depending on what theory they were trying to prove. At the very least without genetic evidence they'd suggest subspecies. I'd somewhat agree with that too, though would say sub sub species of each other within the range of Homo Sapiens Sapiens. You can infer geographical and population origins from the skeleton of modern humans. Certainly between the broad strokes of African, European and Asian. Folks like Native Australians are very distinctive.

    They'd still not conflate them with say Neandertals though. They're well outside the range of any moderns. They'd be more distant sub species. Kinda like the canids as a group. All moderns would be like all wolves, Vary slightly throughout the world but clearly the same species. Neandertals and Erectus would be like members of the coyote family. Quite different in size and other unique features(and about the same genetic/time distance apart) yet capable of mating and producing viable young. Then again definition of species has flummoxed some of the greatest minds in biology. It's a very grey area. Look again at dogs, domestic ones. A great dane and a pekinese are the same species. Or an Irish wolfhound and a terrier(apparently quite close in breed), yet mating in the wild is gonna be impossible and even if you artificially implant you could only go one way.
    I often wonder if the various 'species' that we have classified aren't all just different individuals on a species spectrum? I'm talking about Homo cepranensis, Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo rhodesiensis etc.
    So do I. More than wonder indeed. There can be an element of bias going on. Because of the dearth of archaic human fossils out there, individuals in a species may gain more attention than the species as a whole and lead people astray. This gets even moreso the further back you get and the less material you have to work with. Add in different scientists and groups looking for recognition and desperate to find a new species with their name/theory attached and it's almost guaranteed. Neandertals themselves are a very good example. The image most have of a shambling bent legged caveman is because the first skeleton that was even vaguely complete was of an old man, with severe arthritis and other pathology. He became the species type and eminent brains were pretty sure of this, yet a clued in medical student of the time would likely have spotted the problem with that reconstruction. The scientists were expecting a primitive so they made him a primitive. Today we know more and are discovering they were much more like us and lo and behold the reconstruction pendulum swings the other way, because that's what they're expecting.

    Go back further? Some species are down to a bit of a jawbone and a few teeth with maybe a few skull bones with large chunks of imaginative filler making up the gaps. Some researchers have fired out papers based on just a tooth. Take Erectus. Before Turkana boy we had feck all below the neck and even with Turkana boy there may be some pathology masquerading as species character(eg his narrow spinal cavity). Look at some of the Erectus fossils coming out of Georgia. Some are very robust. One jawbone is massive, yet some are much more gracile. All from the same layers and time and apparently population. If you just found the robust guy you'd figure "all Georgian Erectus were robust". Cue theories of why "as they moved out of Africa they got robust because of environment" etc. Some are reckoning the differences are gender based and Erectus may have had a high sexual dimorphism. More like some apes, where the males are much bigger. That brings another question. Gender. You pick up a skull, even a fairly complete one, but without the pelvis all bets are off as to gender. Even in moderns women are much less robust on average than men, so that could give you a species title with nothing else to go on. It's possible some species tags out there are either outliers in the group or examples of male/female.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭slowburner


    What's the current state of thought on interbreeding between modern man and Neanderthal? I am certain that I have way more than your 3% Wibbs :D


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭Wibbs


    Up to 4% I gather so far found. Maybe there's more left in the DNA yet to be discovered though. IIRC(and I could be way off here) previous attempts to find links were aimed at the X and/or Y chromosome and they found none. It was only when they sequenced enough of the nuclear DNA that they found the links.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Hey guys, just finished reading Danny Vendramini's book, Them and Us- that's where the pictures I posted earlier came from (it was no article XD). All I can say it's, if you haven´t read it, you totally should. Regardless of what you think or what your conclusions are, it is a fascinating read- I think it's the most interesting thing I've read since Parasite Rex. Much of what he says makes perfect sense, too, at least from my point of view- which of course, won´t convince those who have read about prehistoric hominids and human evolution more than I have (my field so to speak is with dinosaurs and other non-human critters XD).

    There are a couple mistakes I could find (for example the footnote to a photograph of a Papio baboon labels it incorrectly as a gelada, and Vendramini lists rhesus monkeys among nocturnal primates- I assume by mistake or perhaps mixing it up with some other creature). There's also a still from Van Helsing labeled as I am Legend, but this of course is irrelevant XD
    Surely prehistoric hominid experts will find other mistakes... but even so, I highly recommend the book, it's a great read. In any case, the image he paints of Neanderthals is way cooler (and much scarier) than the increasingly sapiens-like picture of the media and Nat Geo magazine.;) My fiction writer head wheels are spinning like crazy right now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭Galvasean


    I dunno, if he overlooked something as glaringly obvious as neandertals having noses I would be highly skeptical of what else was amiss. To me that's a bit like viewing an Allosaurus skeleton and concluding that it was not a meat eater.


  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭Wibbs


    I downloaded it too and while he makes interesting points he really tries to fit the evidence to his theory. His notion that modern humans in the levant looked more apelike is daft beyond belief. They looked like we do. No ifs buts or maybes.

    On Neandertals, like G says the nose alone debunks the entire reconstruction enterprise and makes his theory look much more like a work of fiction and indeed I'd not be surprised to find he's well ahead of you AK in writing such a work.

    Like you say Rhesus monkeys are not nocturnal and its not a mistake on his part IMHO. just another dropped in "fact" to confuse the uninformed and to add to his theory. The only nocturnal primates I can think of are bush babies and night monkeys and their rellies. None of which have cat like eyes. Neandertal may well have been a dusk/low light hunter and I would very much buy into that, but eyes like cats? I'll have whatever he's smoking Ted. :D

    Uninformed readers will think this very plausible a reconstruction, but the evidence simply does not fit. At all. His wider notions on how the two species interacted are interesting and I'm sure there may well be something to it, but in a much smaller way than he suggests IMHO.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Wibbs wrote: »
    Like you say Rhesus monkeys are not nocturnal and its not a mistake on his part IMHO. just another dropped in "fact" to confuse the uninformed and to add to his theory. The only nocturnal primates I can think of are bush babies and night monkeys and their rellies. None of which have cat like eyes.

    Don´t forget tarsiers!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,520 ✭✭✭allibastor


    Hi Guys,

    Just reading through this thread, very interesting. a few good points in here which would make you really think.

    i was reading up on Neanderthals recently. the most obvious reason for them dying out that i could find was that due to thier being more robust on average, coupled with shorter legs and wider splayed hips bones, it would have taken more energy for them to track and chase prey.
    the main advantage that sapiens had here was that they could chase prey for longer periods, couple this with the shoulder sockets advantage being able to throw better, made for easier hunting. neandethal would simply have not been able to compete for food when modern man could have out paced them when the food ran!

    i agree with wibbs that neandethal man would have been a better night hunter, the shape of the skull coupled with the jaw bone angles would suggets that they had a chin which stuck out a bit more than ours, leaving to a slumping kind of look. more bent over if you will, just like a lion who is about to pounce. this would give creedance to the thought that they would have ambushed prey over short periods, maybe better surprise hunters. i doubt you see a lion chase prey over miles!!!

    also it has been shown that we have about 4% of shared DNA, a fact which is not present in African sapiens, so this would lend itself to our white skin more than we adapted our skin through evolution, the white skin was better for reflecting the sun, but overall temps would still have been low, so the need for hair would have been a given.

    others have pointed to the fact that neanderthal man may have had a longer parenting period with children and that children were born a lot less, thus limiting the population versus sapiens. again as wibbs has said if sapiens would even produce 1 more child every 5 years lets say, that would have a dramaitic effect on the natural balance.

    all in all i would say it was not a competition over neanderthals that led to them dying out, but interbreeding with a species that was genetically better, leading to the best traits of both being kept to some degree. less hair due to clothes, taller legs to run after prey, smaller, but more compact brains.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    allibastor wrote: »
    Hi Guys,

    i was reading up on Neanderthals recently. the most obvious reason for them dying out that i could find was that due to thier being more robust on average, coupled with shorter legs and wider splayed hips bones, it would have taken more energy for them to track and chase prey.
    the main advantage that sapiens had here was that they could chase prey for longer periods, couple this with the shoulder sockets advantage being able to throw better, made for easier hunting. neandethal would simply have not been able to compete for food when modern man could have out paced them when the food ran!


    all in all i would say it was not a competition over neanderthals that led to them dying out, but interbreeding with a species that was genetically better, leading to the best traits of both being kept to some degree. less hair due to clothes, taller legs to run after prey, smaller, but more compact brains.

    I don´t think this is the case. No species is "better" than the other, there's simply many degrees of specialization. Neanderthals seem to have been very well adapted, both to their hunting lifestyle and the cold climate they lived in. They were very specialized. And when you are specialized and your environment suddenly starts to change, you have to adapt again, or go extinct. To animals that go very specialized, complete with physical adaptations and all, this is very difficult.

    I suspect this is what happened to Neanderthals- they couldn´t adapt quickly enough. Its not that we humans were "better", we were simply less specialized and when the world started to change around us, Neanderthals, who had evolved for a cold, forested world as ambush hunters that wrestled large prey, had less young and were never too abundant to begin with, went extinct.
    It is possible that we humans were also an endangered species at the time- but we didn´t need to stay in prey-depleted forests, we didn´t need thick vegetation or rocky places to ambush prey- we had better stamina and could follow the last migrating herds of giant beasts. We had clothes so we could follow said herds to very cold places where Neanderthals couldn´t follow. We had dogs to keep larger, fiercer predators- like lions, hyenas and wolves- away from us, or at least to warn us about their presence, whereas Neanderthals to my knowledge never domesticated any animals. This means that even small surviving populations of Homo sapiens could travel further, and had better chances of survival than the more sedentary, supossedly forest-dwelling Neanderthals.
    Like I said it's not that we were "genetically better". It's just that we were moldable, and Neanderthals, so perfectly adapted to their own particular lifestyle, weren´t anymore.

    Of course, Danny Vendramini would say that we actively exterminated Neanderthals :D


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭slowburner


    I just happened to be talking with someone, this evening about this subject.
    I have to try put it carefully because it could easily be misinterpreted.

    If there is a difference in the amount of Neandertal DNA between African moderns and Eurasian moderns, then might this manifest itself in differences in physical skills?

    If you think of Olympic disciplines for example, there are those which are well dominated by people of African descent - (e.g. running, boxing). But then there are disciplines which are dominated by Eurasians - (e.g. cycling, weight lifting). I have no evidence to support this - it is just an impression. I have heard mention of a difference in the type of musculature between the two groups.
    If it is a true impression, I wonder could it indicate the survival or absence of traits passed down from Neandertals*.








    *Is it Neanderthal or Neandertal?


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    slowburner wrote: »
    I just happened to be talking with someone, this evening about this subject.
    I have to try put it carefully because it could easily be misinterpreted.

    If there is a difference in the amount of Neandertal DNA between African moderns and Eurasian moderns, then might this manifest itself in differences in physical skills?

    If you think of Olympic disciplines for example, there are those which are well dominated by people of African descent - (e.g. running, boxing). But then there are disciplines which are dominated by Eurasians - (e.g. cycling, weight lifting). I have no evidence to support this - it is just an impression. I have heard mention of a difference in the type of musculature between the two groups.
    If it is a true impression, I wonder could it indicate the survival or absence of traits passed down from Neandertals*.








    *Is it Neanderthal or Neandertal?

    Yes, I have noticed this... black people seem to be better runners, with better stamina.
    I wonder if this may be because they (out of all humans) are the only ones without any Neanderthal DNA and thus, (plz don´t take offense XD) the only "pure" Homo sapiens, whereas the rest of us are "contaminated" with another species' DNA XD
    It may be a simplistic way to see it but, maybe we are fair-skinned, hairier than black people, AND not so good at running and etc because of our Neanderthal heritage? Or is the Neanderthal DNA we have too insignificant to be "blamed" for all this? XD

    Im not an expert so, I'm as eager to know as the next man.

    PS- Any spelling, Neanderthal or Neandertal, is correct. In America most ppl uses Neanderthal whereas Neandertal is more common in Europe. The word comes from German Neanderthal (Neander's Valley, with "Thal" meaning valley) after the place where the fossils were first found I think.
    Later, the spelling of the word Thal was changed to Tal, hence the confusion.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,520 ✭✭✭allibastor


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    I don´t think this is the case. No species is "better" than the other, there's simply many degrees of specialization. Neanderthals seem to have been very well adapted, both to their hunting lifestyle and the cold climate they lived in. They were very specialized. And when you are specialized and your environment suddenly starts to change, you have to adapt again, or go extinct. To animals that go very specialized, complete with physical adaptations and all, this is very difficult.

    I suspect this is what happened to Neanderthals- they couldn´t adapt quickly enough. Its not that we humans were "better", we were simply less specialized and when the world started to change around us, Neanderthals, who had evolved for a cold, forested world as ambush hunters that wrestled large prey, had less young and were never too abundant to begin with, went extinct.
    It is possible that we humans were also an endangered species at the time- but we didn´t need to stay in prey-depleted forests, we didn´t need thick vegetation or rocky places to ambush prey- we had better stamina and could follow the last migrating herds of giant beasts. We had clothes so we could follow said herds to very cold places where Neanderthals couldn´t follow. We had dogs to keep larger, fiercer predators- like lions, hyenas and wolves- away from us, or at least to warn us about their presence, whereas Neanderthals to my knowledge never domesticated any animals. This means that even small surviving populations of Homo sapiens could travel further, and had better chances of survival than the more sedentary, supossedly forest-dwelling Neanderthals.
    Like I said it's not that we were "genetically better". It's just that we were moldable, and Neanderthals, so perfectly adapted to their own particular lifestyle, weren´t anymore.

    Of course, Danny Vendramini would say that we actively exterminated Neanderthals :D


    Hi Adam.

    No i wasnt talking Genetically better in the Nazi sense of the word, but as you have pointed out, better at adapting. in Genetics the better genes will always win out, well in most cases. our better genes for our adaptablility to the changing environment.

    this would mean that as the climate changed or the food supply changed we would have had a genetic advantage over neandethal man in terms of our running ability , some researchers also beleive we were able to live in bigger social groups which could have contributed to better survivial. its not a degrogatory term, just means we were eqipped with better genes to survive in changing envrionment. looking at the skeletal profile of Neandethal man he would have been better at hunting on hilly or rocky areas, where speed was not the main advantage, but ability to keep low to the ground and strenght to drag prey to the ground.

    Sapians were better suited to long range plain hunting where prey could have moved and we could have followed. as can be seen from the weapons of the time, we were always longer range hunters, our shoulder sockets were even better suited to throwing!!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,520 ✭✭✭allibastor


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    Yes, I have noticed this... black people seem to be better runners, with better stamina.
    I wonder if this may be because they (out of all humans) are the only ones without any Neanderthal DNA and thus, (plz don´t take offense XD) the only "pure" Homo sapiens, whereas the rest of us are "contaminated" with another species' DNA XD
    It may be a simplistic way to see it but, maybe we are fair-skinned, hairier than black people, AND not so good at running and etc because of our Neanderthal heritage? Or is the Neanderthal DNA we have too insignificant to be "blamed" for all this? XD

    Im not an expert so, I'm as eager to know as the next man.

    PS- Any spelling, Neanderthal or Neandertal, is correct. In America most ppl uses Neanderthal whereas Neandertal is more common in Europe. The word comes from German Neanderthal (Neander's Valley, with "Thal" meaning valley) after the place where the fossils were first found I think.
    Later, the spelling of the word Thal was changed to Tal, hence the confusion.


    Ha, i have noticed this also. pardon the use of terms here, but black people tend to always excel at sports of speed and stamina, white people tend to do well in strenght related events, also swimming for some reason. black people who get muscular tend to be leaner, with more power going to the legs, that is people who get muscles naturally, not like ronnie colman. whereas white people who get muscles tend to be a bit more top heavy, with arms and shoulders being a bit more developed.

    IMO i do beleive this is down to our genome, a small DNA difference can be seen very clearly if we are all from the same base genome. look at the chip. he has 98.4% of our DNA, 1 extra Chromasone and look how different he looks from us. if the europeans have 3-4% neanderthal DNA, surely that would make us a bit different from our Un-diluted sapien relative, and again look at the asian populous. they are smaller frame again, but better at agility related tasks. again looking at some pre-historic finds in asia, people were smaller but more wirey than other sapiens. maybe the spaiens that moved there mated and adpated with the local, smaller more agile peoples there and the result can be seen now.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭Wibbs


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    Yes, I have noticed this... black people seem to be better runners, with better stamina.
    I wonder if this may be because they (out of all humans) are the only ones without any Neanderthal DNA and thus, (plz don´t take offense XD) the only "pure" Homo sapiens, whereas the rest of us are "contaminated" with another species' DNA XD
    I doubt they're any purer than we are. I'd put money they have archaic DNA from other African hominids(erectus). If we evolved in east Africa and moved out from there we would have bumped into previous hominids in Africa too. There would have been various strands of Erectus in sub Saharan Africa for a start. Modern Africans have the biggest genetic diversity of people on the planet so they've been getting jiggy with each other for a long time. Another reason to be careful applying traits to "black" people. At the extremes Pygmies, Masaai, Ethiopians are all quite different. Even the slowest heaviest built European would outrun a pygmy. These better "black" runners tend to be either Kenyans with a very local high altitude adaptation or part of the west African diaspora in the US and elsewhere(the latter would have had serious selection pressures during slavery).

    this would mean that as the climate changed or the food supply changed we would have had a genetic advantage over neandethal man in terms of our running ability
    True though the problem with that is Neadertals lived for over 200,000 years in a Europe with constantly changing climates and environments and survived and thrived. They were capable of living in a range of environments from a warm mediterranean type climate all the way to tundra at the other end. If you consder Homo heidelbergensis the protoNeandertal they were doing this for even longer.
    some researchers also beleive we were able to live in bigger social groups which could have contributed to better survivial.
    This I think is a very big part of it.
    we were always longer range hunters, our shoulder sockets were even better suited to throwing!!
    IMHO the shoulder joint thing is overcooked. Who made the first long range throwing spears? Sapiens? Nope. Heidelbergensis, maybe even late Erectus. http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_arc97/3_1_97/fob2.htm (ignore the guy who posits early sapiens. Never gonna happen at 350-400,000 years ago. I supect he's doing the usual "but they couldn't have made them" or smoking some moroccan woodbines.). They had the same sockets supposedly unadapted for throwing. The problem is wood very very rarely survives from that great age, so how do know that as well as stabbing spears they didn't have long range throwing spears. The tech was clearly well established 400,000 years ago in Europe.
    Ha, i have noticed this also. pardon the use of terms here, but black people tend to always excel at sports of speed and stamina, white people tend to do well in strenght related events, also swimming for some reason.
    Much can be cultural too. More whites have access to swimming pools and swimming training. More whites cycle etc. Funny enough on the stamina front, the really long range endurance stuff whites excel. Overall lower muscle mass may explain that.
    IMO i do beleive this is down to our genome, a small DNA difference can be seen very clearly if we are all from the same base genome. look at the chip. he has 98.4% of our DNA, 1 extra Chromasone and look how different he looks from us. if the europeans have 3-4% neanderthal DNA, surely that would make us a bit different from our Un-diluted sapien relative, and again look at the asian populous. they are smaller frame again, but better at agility related tasks.
    It depends if the gene's are coding for anything. This info I can't find anywhere. IE what are these genes. Are they non active "junk" DNA or DNA actually doing something, or DNA doing the same as other populations but in a different way? EH Neandertals had red hair, but their gene for red hair is a slightly different mutation to moderns. Different gene, both gingers. So the 4% might be the same. I'd be interested to know if in that 4% are they genes doing different things on the macro level?
    again looking at some pre-historic finds in asia, people were smaller but more wirey than other sapiens. maybe the spaiens that moved there mated and adpated with the local, smaller more agile peoples there and the result can be seen now.
    Oh I'm sure they did. The Denisovians are added to the mix in Asian populations and I'd put money so are Asian Erectus.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,520 ✭✭✭allibastor


    hi Wibbs,

    Jesus long post, good points though.

    i am sure african sapiens would have mixed with other homids also, its just the being devoid of neanderthal DNA would seem to make a difference. i agree with you in the cultural statement, but i doubt we can ever fully know if it fully true. its just as a general observation that african sapiens, and as you said, those from higher elevations, tend to be better at speed and stamina events. i think the long distance thing is very much a trained aspect, but again IMO i feel that that is being pushed to the un-natural element, nothing is meant to run for 26.2 miles.


    i agree that neanderthal lived for 200000 plus years and that heidelbergensis was there before, but the point i was trying to make is that they didnt really have competiton before. modern sapiens were just better equiped for the long tracking of food, we also had a social set up where men would hunt and women would stay at the camp. this would allow for gathering of more diverse foods and better protection for children.

    and about the shoulder joint thing. while it may not be a huge item, it just goes to prove that sapiens had adapted a bit more towards long range hunting. the whole skeletal profile of neanderthal/ heidelbergensis was geared towards hunting prey in ambush method. they had lower ground clearance with more bent frames, more robust, maybe 30-40% stronger than we are. it just highlights that they were adapted for short range hunting with ambush tatics. sapiens had the advanatge here as they were able to move further away from a base camp to track food.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭Wibbs


    allibastor wrote: »
    i am sure african sapiens would have mixed with other homids also, its just the being devoid of neanderthal DNA would seem to make a difference.
    What difference though? Even if you can show that the Neandertal DNA is active the differences if any are very slight.
    i agree with you in the cultural statement, but i doubt we can ever fully know if it fully true.
    Well you can have a fair idea in a lot of areas. Self perception and culture have a pretty big part to play. Look at athletics where these diffs are apparently so strong. Now in many areas people of African origin seem to dominate, but it wasn't always the case. Middle distance running being a good example. The majority of mile records were held by Europeans, even when Africans started to dominate in other events. The "mile" was thought of more as a European event culturally. Guys Like Coe and Ovett and Cram in the 80's were utterly destroying African/African ancestry runners on a weekly basis.
    its just as a general observation that african sapiens, and as you said, those from higher elevations, tend to be better at speed and stamina events.
    I'd disagree, or at least look wider. The Africans who dominate these events are more outside Africa Africans. Selective pressures in those populations may have mad the difference compared to their African ancestors.
    i think the long distance thing is very much a trained aspect, but again IMO i feel that that is being pushed to the un-natural element, nothing is meant to run for 26.2 miles.
    Funny enough not so much. San Bushmen regularly run those kind of distances in their hunting strategy. Native Americans would run down wild horses to catch them. hour after hour wearing them down. Like my posts :o:D

    i agree that neanderthal lived for 200000 plus years and that heidelbergensis was there before, but the point i was trying to make is that they didnt really have competiton before.
    Well maybe, maybe not. They would have had Erectus in the early days and they had enough competition from each other and the environment to change over that time.
    modern sapiens were just better equiped for the long tracking of food, we also had a social set up where men would hunt and women would stay at the camp. this would allow for gathering of more diverse foods and better protection for children.
    Again they don't know that for sure. It's conjecture this gender split in food gathering. The more and more evidence comes to light the more and more they start to act more like us in so many ways. Only in the last few months it's been found that neandertals processed grains and apparently did so before we did and they had to gather them. It was thought that cultural notions like body adornment and jewelry was a sapiens thing and Neandertals if and when they had these things copied it from us. Discoveries in Spain are putting paid to that notion. They had many different pigments and had pierced shells and the like 20,000 years before we even show up. While there is a brief and small burst of this(that dies out almost as quickly as it starts) in African sapiens, it's possible that the cultural explosion in us may have kicked off or was selected for because of us meeting them.
    and about the shoulder joint thing. while it may not be a huge item, it just goes to prove that sapiens had adapted a bit more towards long range hunting.
    Thats my point it kinda doesn't or its not nearly that simple. The earliest evidence for long range hunting isn't in sapiens but in heidelbergensis. Nearly 200,000 years before we evolved and 300,000 years before we left Africa.
    the whole skeletal profile of neanderthal/ heidelbergensis was geared towards hunting prey in ambush method. they had lower ground clearance with more bent frames, more robust, maybe 30-40% stronger than we are. it just highlights that they were adapted for short range hunting with ambush tatics
    Maybe. Though a couple of things. Compared to a Sapiens of today Neandertals look different, but compared to a us back then, a little less so. Heightwise they were around the same. Indeed one of the Shanidar Neandertal lads is a 6 footer. They were more robust, but so were we at the time. A cro magnon is a lot more solidly built than a modern human. Bigger and thicker skulls teeth and bones. Neandertals were certainly bruisers and maybe even stronger than 40% compared to us now, but again Cro Magnons were solidly built muscle wise too. A neandertal would seriously fcuk up a modern cage fighter but if he tag teamed off to one of his Cro magnon buddies the cage fighter would not be getting off easy. Neandertals frames weren't particularly bent either.

    Their adaptations to close in ambush predation were certainly there, but to what degree did this affect them? Cold adaptation would show many of the same adaptations. It's not so clear cut basically. I certainly don't believe a Neandertal couldn't run and run well enough. I suspect he'd be a very good explosive sprinter. Look at the average lineup in a 100metres race. those lads are built like brick shíthouses. The diffs are slight enough, though even the slighest diffs can make huge diffs down the line.

    My personal opinion on why they lost out? Its a simple one. Body size. They simply needed more food to survive as individuals. This meant they overwhelmingly tended to predate big animals and had to do so more often(though contrary to popular they also ate a wider range of food). This in turn made them more robust which in turn meant they required more food again. An internal evolutionary arms race. This would mean that they would have smaller families. An extra kid would be a bigger mouth to feed compared to a sapiens. If a Neadertal joined a band of Sapiens* he'd be a great asset in one way but his calorie requirements would be a draw on the group in lean times. This kept them local and small in number. Not by much. It didn't have to be by much. Remember we cohabited Europe with them for the guts of 10,000 years. We were nothing like the overnight success some imagine. If our hunting strategies were so much better you'd expect a much faster replacement which simply didn't happen.






    *I'd put money this happened more than once and vice versa

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Wibbs wrote: »

    IMHO the shoulder joint thing is overcooked. Who made the first long range throwing spears? Sapiens? Nope. Heidelbergensis, maybe even late Erectus. http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_arc97/3_1_97/fob2.htm (ignore the guy who posits early sapiens. Never gonna happen at 350-400,000 years ago. I supect he's doing the usual "but they couldn't have made them" or smoking some moroccan woodbines.). They had the same sockets supposedly unadapted for throwing. The problem is wood very very rarely survives from that great age, so how do know that as well as stabbing spears they didn't have long range throwing spears. The tech was clearly well established 400,000 years ago in Europe.

    I agree with you; I'm pretty sure Neanderthals did throw spears/weapons. I mean, chimpanzees and baboons (which are nowhere near as "well designed" to throw stuff as we are) have been known to attack enemies by throwing rocks, with surprisingly good aim. I'm sure Neanderthals were intelligent enough to invent throwing spears and I would be surprised if they hadn´t done so during their long history. Whether they used them often, though, is another story. If they were indeed forest-dwellers, throwing spears wouldn´t be as useful or practical as if they were open field hunters. But this doesn´t mean they were unable to do so.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭slowburner


    Wibbs wrote: »


    Neandertals were certainly bruisers and maybe even stronger than 40% compared to us now, but again Cro Magnons were solidly built muscle wise too. A neandertal would seriously fcuk up a modern cage fighter but if he tag teamed off to one of his Cro magnon buddies the cage fighter would not be getting off easy. Neandertals frames weren't particularly bent either.

    .......seconds away, round 1:D:D:D

    This strength thing is bugging me - are Africans well represented in weight lifting? I always seem to remember that the eastern Europeans had a monopoly in this particular event, followed by Asians and then Westerners.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,520 ✭✭✭allibastor


    Hi Lads,

    no, there has been good evidence that neanderthal man did use spears and the like. they have found small evidence of spears with stone heads on them also, so i would strongly say that they used spears and other throwing devices. i am just saying that sapiens were better equiped for it is all. we were more long range hunters suited for flatter areas, like grass land or the like. as i said above just My opinion, but from the look of the skeletal frame of neandethal man v sapiens of that time, it looks like the frame would have been more suited to areas like hills, or forests, where strenght would have been more advantageous than speed or stamina.

    on the strenght item, yes i agree that older sapiens were more robust than us now, we are weak by comparison, but i am just looking at previous evidence of the frame of both, neanderthal man would have been a bit stronger, and if combined with an ambush approach to hunting would have made them very effective at this. that would be funny however, neanderthal versus cage figher like brock lesnar!!!! though it would be hard to spot the dsifference.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,564 ✭✭✭✭steddyeddy


    In my opinion you cant classify some of the higher order primates as strictly nocturnal or diurnal. Neandethal and many other hominids may have reduced competition with other higher order primates by hunting at night. This doesnt require biology adaptations for a clever animal. Just look at humans and look up the term hunters moon, native americans like many other tribes hunted by moonlight. This is not out of the question for a hominid. The other options are matuinal (hunting pre dawn) or vespertine (hunting at dusk).

    Regarding the look of the neanderthals I really dont think they looked like a particularly well built rugby player. I think they would have looked like a far more athletic powerlifter with a huge chest, arms and a tapered waist built on short but stocky legs their size would have been close to ape like in my opinion. Another thing to look at is the chance that neanderthals had an epicanthic fold as seen in many asian and inuit populations. The reason I say this is the epicanthic cold according to some the epicanthic fold developed in response to tribes traveling through snowing areas and the extra skin fold was thought to reflect some of the light. Neanderthals themselves were a cold adapted species so maybe this is possible?


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    steddyeddy wrote: »
    I think they would have looked like a far more athletic powerlifter with a huge chest, arms and a tapered waist built on short but stocky legs their size would have been close to ape like in my opinion.

    I think I've read somewhere that they actually had very wide waists compared to us humans...


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,564 ✭✭✭✭steddyeddy


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    I think I've read somewhere that they actually had very wide waists compared to us humans...

    Sorry to right I should have said that. Even looking at the size of the head the females hips must have been huge :O


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭Wibbs


    steddyeddy wrote: »
    In my opinion you cant classify some of the higher order primates as strictly nocturnal or diurnal. Neandethal and many other hominids may have reduced competition with other higher order primates by hunting at night. This doesnt require biology adaptations for a clever animal. Just look at humans and look up the term hunters moon, native americans like many other tribes hunted by moonlight. This is not out of the question for a hominid. The other options are matuinal (hunting pre dawn) or vespertine (hunting at dusk).
    Oh I agree, but when you have a hominid with the largest eyes known and a very large area in the skull related to the visual cortex it does suggest maybe some local adaptation to low light levels. Modern Europeans have the biggest eyes in moderns a possible adaptation to lower light levels at higher latitudes or maybe some holdover from Neandertals? Our eyes certainly got larger the longer we were in Europe. Yea I certainly wouldn't suggest nocturnal as a primary strategy. As you say humans are very adaptable and I've no doubt those lads were too. Dusk/dawn is an adaptive possibility though.

    Regarding the look of the neanderthals I really dont think they looked like a particularly well built rugby player. I think they would have looked like a far more athletic powerlifter with a huge chest, arms and a tapered waist built on short but stocky legs their size would have been close to ape like in my opinion.
    I'd feel the same with less of the apelike part.
    Another thing to look at is the chance that neanderthals had an epicanthic fold as seen in many asian and inuit populations. The reason I say this is the epicanthic cold according to some the epicanthic fold developed in response to tribes traveling through snowing areas and the extra skin fold was thought to reflect some of the light. Neanderthals themselves were a cold adapted species so maybe this is possible?
    Possible indeed. Epicanthic folds are a very old feature in moderns. Not just in cold regions. San Bushmen have them and many of the "Negritos" of the Andaman islands also possess them. Both relict African populations. Rather than cold, it may be a high intensity light adaptation. Like you say light levels in snowy regions are even higher than desert/tropical regions because of all the reflected light. IE Snow blindness. It may also be an even earlier relic/quirk and not an adaptation. IIRC foetuses of all populations have them in the womb? Asians living in quite different environments for at least 100,000 years still have them. You would think if it was a cold adaptation they would have lost them? Maybe these features were in all early hominds at some point, with the Europeans and Africans losing the feature? As for Neandertals having them? Possibly, but my bet would be if they ever find one frozen in ancient permafrost he or she won't have them. Why? Because of my take on their low light adaptations and the consideration that unlike many of the reconstructions you see they weren't particularly tundra peoples. They're not ancient Eskimos in habit or environment.
    Adam Khor wrote: »
    I think I've read somewhere that they actually had very wide waists compared to us humans...
    Yea defo more square rather than inverted triangle alright.
    allibastor wrote: »
    no, there has been good evidence that neanderthal man did use spears and the like. they have found small evidence of spears with stone heads on them also, so i would strongly say that they used spears and other throwing devices. i am just saying that sapiens were better equiped for it is all. we were more long range hunters suited for flatter areas, like grass land or the like. as i said above just My opinion, but from the look of the skeletal frame of neandethal man v sapiens of that time, it looks like the frame would have been more suited to areas like hills, or forests, where strenght would have been more advantageous than speed or stamina.
    There is maybe a third option. Especially when dealing with some of the huge animals they took down. Rather than an instant explosive kill, maybe the ambush was a severe wounding exercise? Leap at animal, stab it deeply, retreat and then track it until it dies from it's wounds. Maybe the injuries some of these guys sustained were when the retreat wasn't fast enough? The notion that most kills were on the spot stabbing and wrestling of very powerful animals seems terribly dramatic and costly to me. Even folks as powerful as them wouldn't last that long considering the size and power of some of their prey if this was the consistent hunting theme. Given they likely needed 4000 calories a day(and up) to survive, that's an awful lot of exposure to danger. I personally suspect they had their own version of stamina. Stab, wound, retreat, follow, finish the kill. I reckon they were pretty good walkers and maybe low level joggers.

    Another possible reason for one bit of odd behaviour seen in them. They were cannibals. Most Neandertal skeletons show defleshing. Now to our psyches this is taboo and indicates a vicious unfeeling barbaric mind, but maybe not if we step back. For a start they needed food and lots of it. Meat is meat and eating members of the group or starving, members of the group it is. Like men adrift in lifeboats without food will eat others if pushed. Triple your hunger and calorie needs and cannibalism seems a good adaptation. It may well have been reverential(like some tribes today) to wrap up the need. But and it's a big but set against that deep need they appear to have been very caring with injured members of their groups. More than us at the time. These were sometimes "useless" members and another voracious mouth to feed. The Old man of Chapelle a good example. Riddled with arthritis and pain, a shambling man of little use in a close in hunt and like that for a long time. One arm had been lost and what was left atrophied(his other arm compensated though). Barely a tooth in his head so someone would have had to chew his food for him. Yet he lived 20 years without his arm and at least five without teeth. The two things kinda jar. So for me the cannibalism wasn't our idea of it. It was a practical thing and maybe loving thing. It also suggests that either this "old man" and others were still useful in a wounding exercise and/or they transmitted information and wisdom that made them very valuable, which suggests a bigger language ability. Which almost by definition would have to include past tense as well as judging the future tense.
    on the strenght item, yes i agree that older sapiens were more robust than us now, we are weak by comparison, but i am just looking at previous evidence of the frame of both, neanderthal man would have been a bit stronger, and if combined with an ambush approach to hunting would have made them very effective at this. that would be funny however, neanderthal versus cage figher like brock lesnar!!!! though it would be hard to spot the dsifference.
    Well to be fair to earlier points they would have been significantly stronger. Experiments by a sports scientist with an interest in this appears to show that compared to the world champion arm wrestling champion, a young Neandertal woman would be 10-15% stronger than him. She'd beat him pretty easily and she was unlikely to have been the strongest lassie in the group. A Neandertal man in his prime? He estimated at least 50% stronger, maybe more. Poor old Brock would be... well in trouble by a Neandertal woman and would have to hope technique won out and she didn't get a hold of him. A Neandertal man in his prime? I think the technical term among cage fighters would be seriously fcuked up very quickly. :D Punching him in the head would barely make a dent. Chest shots? Nope. If they locked hands? Game over. Neandertals forearm muscles were so strong that their arm bones bent with the pressure as they matured. Word to the wise to any time travelers out there, shaking hands may be friendly, but I'd wave myself. Oh and bring cake. Lots of cake. A cured ham or two would go over nicely. Slimfast shakes not so much. :D

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Wibbs wrote: »
    Well to be fair to earlier points they would have been significantly stronger. Experiments by a sports scientist with an interest in this appears to show that compared to the world champion arm wrestling champion, a young Neandertal woman would be 10-15% stronger than him. She'd beat him pretty easily and she was unlikely to have been the strongest lassie in the group. A Neandertal man in his prime? He estimated at least 50% stronger, maybe more. Poor old Brock would be... well in trouble by a Neandertal woman and would have to hope technique won out and she didn't get a hold of him. :D

    Oh my God, imagine a Neanderthal woman during her PMS!! :eek: I bet even sabertooths ran away XD


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 ✭✭✭Rubecula


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    Oh my God, imagine a Neanderthal woman during her PMS!! :eek: I bet even sabertooths ran away XD

    :D:D

    Sounds very much like my ex.:p


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1 Porkupine73


    [Wrote this yesterday--I see it duplicates a lot of what you guys/gals are talking about, more the better. Wouldn't post yesterday, hope it does today.]

    Here's an interesting set of ideas about Neanderthal clothing, or lack thereof.

    http://web.me.com/duncancaldwell/Site/Neanderthals.html

    I'm very interested in this idea that Sapiens-sapiens only mixed genes with the Near-Eastern Neanderthal population. I had not heard that level of detail considered before; although I did note that people spoke of the Near-East (in the first few tens of thousands of years of behaviorally modern humans' dispersal from Africa) as being when and where moderns and Eurasian Archaics first met and interbred, I hadn't read anywhere that the genetic information that's been analyzed had shown that gene-mixing with more northern populations was ruled out. Does someone have a link to that info?

    Also, I wonder if there was interbreeding with African species of Archaics before Moderns' dispersal (because I've been wondering if modern African people, like the rest of the world, has in their genetics some links to admixture with African Archaics that hasn't been teased out yet). All this depends upon African Archaics at the appropriate time depths, of course. And, at least as importantly, how the date went. To me, it's clear that there's been at least a modest amount of interesting interactions between different Homo lineages for a long, long time. I even wonder if, given the new discoveries of the Denisovan people and Homo Florensis, there was meeting and mixing with people that we might think of as closer to Homo erectus than to Neanderthal/Heidelbergensis., perhaps in East Asia, but who knows?

    Recently, I've been thinking that some of our Moderns' genetic diversity may have occurred outside of our direct lineage, and that these extra-sapiens contributions will be able to be identified (possibly), much like how our Neanderthal heritage has been. Of course, if DNA cannot be extracted from non-sapiens bones, any comparison and identification would have to (?) be done by internal comparison (comparison of extant Modern genomes). I think that this process may actually be analogous to internal comparison used in Historical Linguistics; historical linguistics also required, as its first step, the comparison of "foreign" ancient texts to European ancient texts; but once the methods were established, it became possible to compare related languages for which no ancient texts existed. And I think that the some of the same limitations of this kind of internal comparison of languages will also limit our ability to tease apart the genome; but there will be a lot that can be seen, and in many ways the genome will be easier to decipher than languages. In this context, I hope that anyone doing this analysis will be sure to emphasize how incomplete and uncertain this picture will be for years to come, especially to the general public.



    The opinion in that first link above draws an analogy between brown bears and polar bears, a rhetorical practice that interests me because I sometimes think of human evolution in terms of canid evolution and diversification, to which it bears some similarity, in my mind. For instance, the population of coyotes in North America is currently expanding eastward and northward, into the current and former range of the grey wolf and 'red wolf.' (I put red wolf in quotations because there is some controversy about the species-status of the red wolf--whether or not it was ever really a species; whether it might always have been a coyote-wolf (latrans-lupus) hybrid population; whether, if it at one time was a distinct species, it still is distinct.) As we all know, coyotes are a less-robust, differently-intelligent species of canine which were/are at least as maligned than the grey wolf, but who haven't suffered as much from man's eradication efforts, and which are now, for several reasons, expanding their range into the former habitat of the grey wolf.

    One thing I've learned in the last couple of years: Grey wolves do not tolerate coyotes in their territory (although hybrids do occur in nature). Shades of Neanderthal/Modern Human? ;-)

    http://www.pinedaleonline.com/news/2009/06/Coyoteandwolfinterac.htm

    That link right there is a little taste of an interesting topic in interactions between social omnivore+carnivore cousin-species.

    There are interesting similarities between our four species--Canis latrans, Canis lupus, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo sapiens sapiens--and the interaction between the canine species and the human species.

    On this note, does anyone have any guesses about the likely average group-size of Neanderthals? I've often read the number 50 used as an average for early humans, which is pretty large. Wolf packs are typically larger than coyote packs, who function more like a nuclear family.

    OK, just some thoughts! Never been to this board before--very interesting. Does anyone have any thoughts about this kind of thing? I don't often post to these kinds of things, so I'm curious what other people think.

    Cheers!


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭Wibbs


    I'm very interested in this idea that Sapiens-sapiens only mixed genes with the Near-Eastern Neanderthal population. I had not heard that level of detail considered before; although I did note that people spoke of the Near-East (in the first few tens of thousands of years of behaviorally modern humans' dispersal from Africa) as being when and where moderns and Eurasian Archaics first met and interbred, I hadn't read anywhere that the genetic information that's been analyzed had shown that gene-mixing with more northern populations was ruled out. Does someone have a link to that info?
    I'm sure I have somewhere. :) I'll try and dig some up. Yea it seems on the evidence so far that we only mixed in that window. The Neandertal genes we retain are from a middle eastern Levant population, not the European population. One report I read also suggested that the mixing was coming from male Neandertal to female Sapiens, not the other way around. God knows what that means? Maybe the genes going the other way have just faded out, maybe Neandertal females weren't as "attractive" to Sapien males, maybe it speaks of a cultural thing where younger women are traded out to other tribes, maybe this admixture wasn't consensual and Neandertals raped Sapien women? Interesting though.
    Also, I wonder if there was interbreeding with African species of Archaics before Moderns' dispersal (because I've been wondering if modern African people, like the rest of the world, has in their genetics some links to admixture with African Archaics that hasn't been teased out yet).
    I'd personally put money on it. African folks have the deepest genetic heritage of any humans alive today and I'm 100% sure (as a hunch:)) that a good chunk of that came from previous folks in the same continent. Moderns are supposed to have sprung into existence some 200 odd 1000 years ago in north east Africa. I'm quite sure at the time that there were relict populations in the rest of Africa. It's a huge continent with all sorts of natural barriers then and now. As we spread out from that start point the popular notion follows us "out of Africa" along the coasts into Asia, but seems to completely ignore what we were doing in Africa itself. We were just as likely to be running down the African coasts too, meeting people along the way and getting jiggy with them.
    Recently, I've been thinking that some of our Moderns' genetic diversity may have occurred outside of our direct lineage, and that these extra-sapiens contributions will be able to be identified (possibly), much like how our Neanderthal heritage has been. Of course, if DNA cannot be extracted from non-sapiens bones, any comparison and identification would have to (?) be done by internal comparison (comparison of extant Modern genomes).
    I think some are actually doing that at the moment with African genetics and IIRc have some tantalising clues of much earlier DNA popping up.
    One thing I've learned in the last couple of years: Grey wolves do not tolerate coyotes in their territory (although hybrids do occur in nature). Shades of Neanderthal/Modern Human? ;-)
    Funny enough... What has interested me is our respective living arrangements. In the middle east where we were making whoopy:) we lived together for around 10,000 years. In that time we lived in the same habitats and in the same caves/dwelling areas, often swapping back and forth. We were neighbours so to speak. However when we move into Europe things are different. Neandertals tend to favour the valley floors, we tend to favour higher ground. We're not nearly as similar in living arrangements. Our arrangements do look a bit defensive or offensive to me. TBH I really noticed this when I compared Ireland to other European countries, especially in southern Europe. Many towns in the latter are situated on the tops of hills as a defensive thing against the many invasions that have taken place over 1000's of years. In Ireland by contrast you don't see that to nearly the same degree. MOst towns are in the valleys, not perched on hilltops. Why? Because we've been invaded/fought over significantly fewer times than say Italy. It just made me think about living arrangements waaaay back in the day. If you're all living together on the same "level", you don't see threat, if you're living at different levels you do, or at least you see difference. Which may explain why no DNA from that European period is showing up.
    On this note, does anyone have any guesses about the likely average group-size of Neanderthals? I've often read the number 50 used as an average for early humans, which is pretty large. Wolf packs are typically larger than coyote packs, who function more like a nuclear family.
    IIRC Sapiens had bigger. The evidence from Neandertals is that they were smaller closely related bands.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    Wibbs wrote: »
    African folks have the deepest genetic heritage of any humans alive today and I'm 100% sure (as a hunch:)) that a good chunk of that came from previous folks in the same continent.

    What can you tell us about the differences (like, anatomical-physiological or whatever) between African folks and the rest of us? Some say there are actually several important differences although it seems that today, talking about such things is "racist"...
    And if it is true that there are differences, are these purely the result of adaptation to a particular lifestyle/habitat, or could some of them be inherited from non-sapiens ancestors?
    Wibbs wrote: »
    The evidence from Neandertals is that they were smaller closely related bands.

    Makes sense if they were more adapted as predators...


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭Wibbs


    Adam Khor wrote: »
    What can you tell us about the differences (like, anatomical-physiological or whatever) between African folks and the rest of us? Some say there are actually several important differences although it seems that today, talking about such things is "racist"...
    And if it is true that there are differences, are these purely the result of adaptation to a particular lifestyle/habitat, or could some of them be inherited from non-sapiens ancestors?
    IMHO any differences are local adaptation, just like all humans. The more subtle differences in things like immuno response or "junk dna" markers may be from relicts. Maybe more obvious ones like the single eyelid thing that San Bushmen have are relict? They're usually more associated with Asians. Physiological changes can be very recent. Look at Inuit folks. They have significantly more capillaries in the face and hands as a cold adaptation compared to Africans. Europeans would be in the middle. Horse for courses. Then again our external evolution through technology renders these things mostly moot. A skinny heat adapted lad from Kenya dolled up in the best of Goretex and the like is sitting pretty. :) Though likely not too happy about it. I once saw a TV program from the UK where they got British people from different "race" backgrounds and exposed them to different environments. They brough IIRC a West Indian, a Scot and an Oriental lad out on a trawler in the North Sea. They all stood on the deck until it got too cold for each person. The black lad was indoors pretty damn quick, rapidly turning blue, the Asian guy was better, but it was the pasty Scot who was swanning about barely chilled. Then again we're all so variable. If you had added me to that boat Id' have been inside near death long before the West Indian bloke. I can't take the cold at all. Never could. Just like my dad before me. I'll happily hang out in 110degrees but slightly chilly and I'm crying like a baby. And I have 4% Neandertal DNA. Yea thanks a bunch lads, clearly I got the "junk". I'm such a throwback I've even got an extra lower vertebra :D

    Then you look at the diversity within Africa itself. As well as the deepest genetics they also have the most diverse. About the only thing in common they have is dark skin and brown eyes. European by comparison are much more related to each other at the genetic level. Where Europeans do differ is in the diversity of their phenotype. European external appearance is about the most varied of modern humans. The old racist line of "oh the Chinese, they all look alike to me", while daft, because Asian folks vary a lot, that variability is more subtle in the obvious ways. Take hair colour. East Asians are nearly always black straight haired and brown eyed. Europeans can be blonde, red, all the way to jet black, never mind going from extremely curly to laser straight. Eye colour can range from near silver, through brown, green, blue, even violet. Skin colour can go from Dracula pale with freckles to very dark. And you can even get that variability within a family. Clearly there was a strong selection pressure in Europeans in the last 40,000 years to give rise to these outward differences.

    Makes sense if they were more adapted as predators...
    Funny enough evidence from things like their stone tools that in some cases show heavy soil wear suggest they were big gatherers of carb rich roots as much as the usual picture of them as tundra hunters. Recently some researchers have retrieved grain residue from between their teeth showing that they were collecting and processing grains at times too. Primitive biscuits. Neandertals eating Jacobs digestives. :D Makes sense given their purported heavy calorie requirements(though personally I reckon that's exaggerated). Yes they were tundra hunters at times, but they lived so long in so many different and variable environments that was only a small part of their box of tricks. For me that's what makes our cousins decline and extinction even more puzzling. They survived and thrived for more than 200,000 years in hugely variable climates. Indeed if you add pre Neandertals like Homo Heidelbergensis to the mix(which I personally would), they were doing so for even longer.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.



  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,279 ✭✭✭Adam Khor


    I wonder how much Neanderthal I have in my DNA... me being a real mashup when it comes to heritage and all that:pac:


Advertisement