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The Neanderthal Thread

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  • That is now added to my desktop background pics. Thanks head, I've been trawling the web to find that in a high res version and as per usual AK to the rescue. :D

    Because for a nice change I got in ahead of AK, I posted the findings on *ahem* another forum hereabouts(they use trowels and watch TimeTeam tutting throughout :D), but for your delectation, or need for a soporific, :o:D here are my usual longwinded witterings from there...

    And it predates modern humans... A study published in Science has determined through dating of the carbonate overlay that cave art found in three separate Spanish sites is at least 64,000 years old. One handprint comes in at 66,000 years old. This predates the known appearance of modern humans in Europe* by about 20,000 years, so it follows it would have to have been produced by Neandertals.

    F1.medium.gif
    An example of one artwork.

    They suggest that other sites in Europe where similar art is found and has always been thought to be the oldest of modern human work might also be of Neandertal origin.

    Another study published yesterday looked at pierced and "painted" shells and pigments in another Spanish cave and concluded that at 115-120,000 years old they predate any modern human symbolic material so far found by 20,000 years(Blombos Cave South Africa).

    Added to the stone "circles" discovered in France dating to 175,000 years old it seems symbolism and abstract thought wasn't just our preserve.

    01-cave-rings-bruniquel-france.adapt.1190.1.jpg

    Maybe our great modern human explosion of art around 40-50,000 years ago mostly centred within Europe was because of contact with Neandertals and an "arms race" of symbolism kicked off, a race we won. And we may have won it because of one serious advantage over them; we were less tribal, less xenophobic. One group of Neandertals might have made "art" but it was a symboliser of that particular group, so it would make no sense for another group to copy that. EG we have evidence of eagle talon and feather jewellery in one group in Italy, but nothing like that anywhere else. In the Channel Islands there were two groups of Neandertals living beside each other and no evidence of any trade at all.

    One incredible feature of our symbolism and a feature rarely pointed out is that in the earliest days of it and across a huge swathe of land from the Mediterranean through France and Germany to the alps it's the same. The same cave art, the same portable art(Venus' and the like). It's one set of cultural reference points. An Austrian could well have understood the symbolism, maybe even the language of a Spaniard. They also traded within this corridor across the same distances.

    As modern history has shown when one such cohesive homogenised culture comes up against localised and isolated cultures the latter get swamped. Maybe they went extinct not because of war, or disease or better tools, but because we out arted them? It's certainly another selective pressure worth considering.





    *Known appearance is the thing here. I personally suspect modern humans could have made earlier forays into Europe. It seems they got as far as Australia around 65,000 years ago. The first cave art site might well have been one such very early European foray. I'd be more sure of Neandertal authorship if similar older dates came back from more northerly sites that didn't show associated modern human material until much later. The French stone structures can't be doubted however. At 170,000 years old they couldn't be modern human in origin.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • I feel a bit out of my depth with the subject but very interesting.




  • I am particularly intrigued by the 66.000 year old hand print. Are there any significant differences between it and a modern human hand? Or any good pictures of it?


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  • Adam Khor wrote: »
    I am particularly intrigued by the 66.000 year old hand print. Are there any significant differences between it and a modern human hand? Or any good pictures of it?
    Sadly AK the one so far tested of that great age was heavily overlain with concretions. Though the same concretions suggested the great antiquity and gave us results of that so...

    With image enhancement on the right we get some idea of the handprint.
    F2.medium.gif

    Physical differences between us and them were quite large in a few areas, but our hands would have looked, at least on the surface quite similar, though their hands were more powerful than contemporaneous modern humans and certainly more powerful than ours. We see that in some examples of stone tools, where they fashioned very small tools because of a lack of good local material or maybe a cultural thing. To make these tools would have required both precision and a vice like grip and same would go for using them.

    Another aspect that might skew results and perceptions might be a gender bias in handprint art. Certainly many of our own later modern human cave handprints have been analysed and that showed that in a lot of cases they look to have been made by women and in a few incidents children. So given Neandertals were more robust in general, but like us their women were less robust(though still crazy strong) one of their handprints could look more like a modern human man's prints. They were also generally a smaller stature people compared to modern humans. Though not all as a few found have been tall enough. A couple of lads in present day Iran were around 5'10" in old money, which would be taller than many medieval averages. Imagine that and consider they would have been significantly stronger than modern humans*.

    Handprints can sometimes reveal a local, more personal and connective story. In the Chauvet caves in France where about the oldest modern human cave art has been found(circa 30,000 years old) there are a set of handprints throughout and the chap - for it was likely a chap as he would have needed to be about 6 feet in height to make the marks - had a broken and wonky little finger. His broken and wonky little finger traces his way from near the entrance to deep within on a few panels. Maybe, as more and more archaic sites are examined we may well find another personality coming alive again across those to us vast distances of time.

    Though I will say and personally... I have some issue with the "pierced" seashells as jewellery angle. And not just re Neandertals, but also with the South African Blombos Cave modern humans too. Neither show any polish wear within the presumed suspension holes and in both cases they were the rarest finds within quite a large collection of shells on the sites. For fun, next time you're traipsing on a beach, have a gander at the washed up seashells and you will find quite the number that have naturally been holed by wave action or post mortem parasitism(Hell I have found Lower Carboniferous shells with similar "holes"). So yeah, I reserve judgement on that TBH.






    *If I ever figure out how to do a "Jurassic Park", first I'll be bringing a couple of those lads and lasses back and making a killing in the MMA arena. :D

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • As always, interesting stuff. 
    And now that we're talking about hands, I'm wondering about feet. As I understand it Neanderthal footprints do show major differences with ours? 
    * how will you convince them to do what you want, tho?




  • Of the art itself... here's an artists rendition of the original.

    la-1519321443-6h7883jbct-snap-image

    Some have suggested the backend of the animal in the top most square was later and modern human. Which in of itself is interesting. If you look at the pic AK posted in his first post there is the outline of a horse on the right had side. Which again is reckoned to be more recent. Until dates are teased out for all the art it's up in the air, but at the moment it looks like the Neandertal folks were more into the abstract and patterned art than the representative. Lord knows what the doodled figure is on the right of the above panel.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Adam Khor wrote: »
    As always, interesting stuff. 
    And now that we're talking about hands, I'm wondering about feet. As I understand it Neanderthal footprints do show major differences with ours? 
    * how will you convince them to do what you want, tho?
    I dunno AK. I'm not aware of any foot tracks of Neandertals so far found. On the physical front their feet were pretty much within the ranges of our own. Broader and stouter than average today, with a larger heel, but there would be a few people in modern populations that would have similar feet.

    Their most divergent differences were mostly concentrated above the neck, where they showed major differences. Their skull was more rugby ball shaped, whereas ours is more football shaped. They had bigger teeth, no chin to speak off, swept back cheekbones and a much more pronounced forwardly biased mid face. And bigger noses. Below the neck, we see differences in that their rib cage didn't pinch in to a waist, but rather flared out and their bones were far more robust and stocky. Hands and feet at least on the surface looked very similar to ours.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • I'm still convinced we have things in reverse and it was actually Homo sapiens that went extinct and we're the Neanderthals...
    Nonetheless hugely interesting development.


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  • Regarding Neanderthal feet, I found the pictures I had seen originally labelled as such. Not sure of their reliability, tho. 
    article_template7_clip_image002_0000.jpg
    Neanderthal_Foot_Print.jpg
    I did some Googling and it seems that the Toirano footprints are no longer considered as belonging to Neanderthals due to being too recent. If the drawing above is true to the originals tho, it looks quite different from a modern human footprint...
    I also found references to "the first clear Neanderthal footprint" having been found in Romania in a paper from 2005, which I guess would cast doubt over the authenticity of the above... any thoughts/insights?




  • TBH I'd not heard of an clearly identified Neandertal footprints, so I'd always thought that going by their bones that they were pretty modern human like though more robust. Like the rest of their physiology really. Going further back even the very earliest footprints from millions of years back look uncannily like our own.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Evidence of a Neanderthal child eaten by a large bird.

    Whether the bird killed the hominin or just scavenged its remains is unknown, as is the identity of the bird.

    https://www.newsweek.com/neanderthal-child-eaten-giant-bird-poland-human-evolution-1157327

    gettyimages-522036909.jpg




  • gruesome and scary




  • Even if they can't identify the specific bird species, there couldn't be too many candidates in Europe at that time?

    In Africa you would suspect something like a Harpy Eagle.








  • odyssey06 wrote: »
    Even if they can't identify the specific bird species, there couldn't be too many candidates in Europe at that time?

    In Africa you would suspect something like a Harpy Eagle.

    Crowned eagle. Harpy eagles are neotropical.

    I would imagine something like a sea eagle or a golden eagle, but probably most likely a vulture or a lammergeier scavenging the remains.




  • was thinking of something like a Haarst eagle although that was in the southern hemisphere.




  • Adam Khor wrote: »
    probably most likely a vulture or a lammergeier scavenging the remains.
    That would be my thinking too.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Rubecula wrote: »

    This is fake but the way.


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  • The video is fake but attacks on small children by large birds of prey of several species are not undocumented.

    There's one well known account of a three year old girl snatched by a sea eagle in Norway, in 1932. The girl survived (the eagle apparently dropped her on a ledge just below her nest, almost 2 km away from her home), although she was found covered in blood and in a state of shock. Even as an adult she had memories of the incident and even kept the dress she was wearing that day with the eagle's talon marks. Considering that sea eagles are big enough to kill young seals and even sheep, it shouldn´t be surprising that sea eagles would see small children as perfectly acceptable prey.

    Note that the discovery of the bird-eaten Neanderthal remains was made in Poland, where sea eagles are still found (the bird being featured in the Polish coat of arms). It wouldn´t even be the first evidence of Neanderthals and sea eagles somehow interacting (at Krapina IIRC there was a discovery of sea eagle talons made into ornaments by Neanderthals; who knows? Maybe the talons had a powerful symbolism, coming from a large, powerful bird that occassionally snatched children? Although being such a large, formidable bird, it wouldn´t even have to do that to make an impression...)

    EjcUCeF.jpg

    EagleWhiteTailed_large.jpg?width=648&s=ie-463485

    Other than the sea eagle, the golden eagle would be another possibility, as it has also been known to hunt large prey, and has attacked people before (although rarely in natural circumstances).

    golden-eagle-attacks-cameraman-2.jpg

    golden-eagle-attacks-cameraman-1.jpg

    But really, if eagle attacks on Neanderthal children were as rare as they are today on sapiens children, chances are much higher that this was just a corpse scavenged by a large vulture such as the black vulture:

    allyson-600x450.jpg
    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTYVNNuUSwQlFeAjN6kRva24n2SpIE9Z4laSw2LTfSsuJxNLt17


    or the gryffon vulture:

    The-griffon-vulture-Gyps-fulvus-is-a-large-Old-World-vulture-in-the-bird-of-prey-family-Accipitridae-915x515.jpg

    image.jpg

    or the bone-eating lammergeier aka bearded vulture which is known to swallow bones whole. Incidentally, the lammergeier has also been said to actively push live prey off cliffs when pressed by hunger.

    satellitetel.jpg

    image.jpg

    bwi-bs304093.jpg

    Also keep in mind that all of the aforementioned birds were somewhat larger during the Pleistocene.




  • ...anything big enough to snatch children should be dead.




  • There goes the entire human race then.




  • doolox wrote: »
    ...anything big enough to snatch children should be dead.
    Which would explain most of the megafauna extinctions.




  • A new study on the Neandertal ribcage has discovered subtle differences in how they compared to us.

    From the time of their discovery they were seen as a hunched over "brute", mostly down to the first skeleton found who was very old and riddled with arthritis, with a side order of a superiority complex on our parts. Since then we've realised(though quite recently) that they were just as upright and normal looking as us. Likely because when we found out we were related... ;)

    Anyway, even though we have found more of them than any other hominid besides ourselves, all Neandertal finds are fragmentary to one degree or other. Ribs in particular tend not to preserve so easily. Luckily one lad in Israel, from Mt Carmel to be precise did leave us with a near complete ribcage(and hyoid bone). Known today by the title of Kebara 2.

    kebara2,200.jpg

    Our Keb, was a lad of about 30 when he died. His legs are missing, as is his skull*, but he left us with a great torso. Great arms too.

    The heel of the hunt seems to be that rather than being hunched and with bent backs, they were actually more straight backed than us, with less of a curve in the lower back going on, so likely would have suffered less with back trouble for a start. Their ribcage also supported larger lungs and larger diaphragm so would have been likely more efficient in breathing compared to us too. This impacts on the idea that they weren't as good walkers as us. They certainly don't look great for running, unlike our longer legged narrower hipped tropical body shape, but they might have been pretty good distance walkers, and maybe short burst sprinters.

    As far as body shape goes, this idea of them being muscle bound bruisers, people who were much "stockier" than us(the article notes this) IMHO is wrong, or at least debatable. Yes their bones show much more torsional stress from their powerful muscles(along with extremely fine motor skills, so powerful and precise), but that doesn't mean they had to look like this:

    Dexter_Jackson_IFBB_2008_Australia_4.jpg

    The thing is that extreme of modern human musculature wouldn't have the strength of an 18 year old Neandertal woman and no way would she look close to that. Look at our closest loving relative, the chimpanzee. Chimps are extremely strong, much stronger than us, yet they don't look like a bodybuilder. They're more "wiry" and I reckon Neandertals were similar. Slightly broader chests and muscles, but not so different to us, at least the us that were around and met them at the time.






    *just had a thought... He's not the only one found that was relatively intact, including the lower jaw, but minus the skull. And a couple where only the skull has been found.. Hmmm. Could it be that the skull was sometimes purposely removed for veneration or some other cultural purpose?

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Interesting, but wait... wasn´t it already known that their ribcage was shaped differently? I remember seeing a reconstructed skeleton of a Neanderthal side by side with a H. sapiens, and the different ribcage shape was among the first things that struck the eye. :confused: Unless of course that was just infered from other parts of the body or something and this just confirms it?

    Re: chimps, these guys don´t look so wiry to me :eek:

    0c36a7be7099286d35cc3fdc6215ee97.jpg

    Break-Video-Even-Chimps-Suffer-Male-Pattern-Baldness.png?w=980&q=75

    _90559276_mongo2jakebeaton-rekkers.jpg


    Hairless_Chimps_6.jpg

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    s1200

    4046529aec5ccd734261c850c8573475--monkeys-animals-wild-animals.jpg

    8187918803_b7eecb5fed_b.jpg

    ape%20died%201000.jpg




  • 5bd99de102455.jpg
    This study is the first to report lead exposure in Neanderthal and is the first to use teeth to reconstruct climate during and timing of key developmental events including weaning and nursing duration— key determinants of population growth.

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-10-earliest-exposure-year-old-neanderthal-teeth.html#jCp




  • Do you think we should create a single Neanderthal thread?




  • Adam Khor wrote: »
    Interesting, but wait... wasn´t it already known that their ribcage was shaped differently? I remember seeing a reconstructed skeleton of a Neanderthal side by side with a H. sapiens, and the different ribcage shape was among the first things that struck the eye. :confused: Unless of course that was just infered from other parts of the body or something and this just confirms it?
    Oh we knew their ribcage flared more at the bottom compared to ours, but this study found it was more than a slight flare and had functional differences too. IE they relied more on using their diaphragm for breathing, rather than expansion of the ribcage. Larger lung capacity too. It also found that their spine was a different shape, more upright, with less of a curve to it than ours. The researchers say this was more stable a setup, though I had always heard we have a curve to the lower spine because that acts more like a spring and makes the spine less prone to damage?

    My personal take from this would be that diaphragm breathing required a larger lung capacity and along with the straighter spine made them less efficient for long distance running. Maybe they made for good short distance sprinters and lungers? Whereas our smaller, lighter ribcage and lungs, using both diaphragm and chest expansion, along with our S shaped spines made us built for middle and long distance running.

    If you look at modern track athletes, the 100 metre sprinters are generally far more muscular in build than middle and long distance runners. The latter's torsos and arms drive them forward.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



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  • So if a Neanderthal came charging intent on eating some fresh protein rich brain, do you imagine a 20-something guy in relatively good shape would be able to escape running, or would he need much or a head start to do so? We hear lots about their strength but what about speed?


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