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The Neanderthal Thread

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  • I know what you mean about the stalactite. That seems odd to me that one could remain so static after all this time.




  • Stalactites are produced when mineral rich water drips off leaving a microscopic amount of calcium behind.

    It takes a very long time for something like this to be produced, so it is entirely possible that the slow rate of growth here has not had time to take effect. Or very possibly, the stalactite my have dried up due to a variety of factors.

    I would presume it may have been wet when the paintings were done simply because such paintings are thought to be to aid in a successful hunt, and seals being water creatures might in the minds of the painter be more attracted to a painting done in moisture???

    Anyway I am surmising.

    By the way, how do they know it was Neanderthal work?




  • According to Wiki, average growth rate is 0.13 mm a year for them. That's just over 5 metres over a 40,000 year period.




  • Rubecula wrote: »
    By the way, how do they know it was Neanderthal work?
    Neanderthals are in the frame for the paintings since they are thought to have remained in the south and west of the Iberian peninsula until approximately 37,000 years ago – 5000 years after they had been replaced or assimilated by modern humans elsewhere in their European heartland.

    Above quote from this New Scientist article




  • *faints* :D If this does turn out to be Neandertal in origin, yet another major difference between us goes for a fall.

    There was the Neandertal "house" found a few months ago where they described painted tusks of which we've heard nothing more about sadly.

    Then there is the discovery in Italy IIRC where they've found large deposits of bird bones and feathers. Birds that were hunted it seems not for their meat, but for their flight feathers. They seemed to have a liking for shiny black and pure white feathers and were very specific about those species with said colours and ignored ones that didn't, so it sounds like decoration or some other cultural reason.

    Then the Spanish pigments and pendants long before we show up on the scene.

    I suspect more of this stuff will show up. I further suspect they used more fugitive materials that simply haven't survived. Wood, leather etc. When you look at a Neandertal tool assemblage there's an awful lot of scrapers and the like. Woodworking type stuff. Sapiens stuff has survived better because we used more stone, bone and painted in stable environments like caves and we did it more recently. On very very rare occasions we may catch a glimpse of what has been lost. EG the 400,000 year old beautifully fashioned and weighted wooden spears from Germany.

    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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  • I'd add a caveat though. They look very fresh, particularly as has been well pointed out above on structures that are dynamic in nature. Well dynamic over 40 odd 1000 years anyway. Plus water flows over the surface of such structures. I'd believe them more is they were on a dry wall of a cave, unless they can prove that that part of the cave system has been dry for that period of time. Plus how did they miss them before now? I've been in those caves as a kid, they were a big organised tour type of thing.:confused:

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





  • They probably done it with a permanent marker....




  • They probably done it with a permanent marker....

    Oh noes! :O Neanderthals invented permanent markers before we did!




  • Well they did invent sophisticated glue making techniques before us so you never know. :D

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





  • looks like ochre
    had they used carbon then it would be easier to date

    we've had a lot of climate changes in europe over the last 40,000 years so could very easily have dried up or at least diverted course


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  • If its legit, then its very interesting that it depicts seals- you know as there was talk some time ago about how Neanderthals seemingly hunted seals. Maybe they were as obsessed about them as Homo sapiens was with bison and horse XD




  • Interesting to note that seals make up a large part of the diet of northern people too even to this day. Seals may be one of the few foods available really now for these folks, so it may have been the same back then. And I assume that because of the blubber and richness of the meat, there is a lot of 'goodness' in a seal meal. (Sorry that that sounds a bit silly, but I am not sure how else to phrase it.)




  • Good point Rubecula, the blubber contained in seals would be just the food ticket needed for neandertals to make it through the cold of a harsh winter. For the most part when sharks and killer whales attack seals and whales in winter months they tend to focus on eating the blubber almost exclusively for this very reason.




  • And seal liver is a good source of vitamin C, only 10% less than in muktuk (freeze dried whale epidermis).




  • Didn't know that. Meant to say welcome to the forum Rich. Hope you're enjoying it!




  • Thanks Sean (I'm assuming that's your name). Yeah, I have had an amateur interest in genetics for some time and palaeaontology links into this interest. I have less fascination with the fossils themselves than what they help to tell us about the history of life.

    It's thanks to Rubecula that I came here after following one of his posts.




  • Thanks Sean (I'm assuming that's your name). Yeah, I have had an amateur interest in genetics for some time and palaeaontology links into this interest. I have less fascination with the fossils themselves than what they help to tell us about the history of life.

    It's thanks to Rubecula that I came here after following one of his posts.


    Geez I am always getting the blame. :pac:

    But good to have you here Rich. :)




  • And seal liver is a good source of vitamin C, only 10% less than in muktuk (freeze dried whale epidermis).
    True, however they'd have to be very careful in how much they ate, because of the high dose of vitamin A, which can cause serious illness and often death. Most hunter gatherer cultures have taboos surrounding eating carnivore livers for this reason(they concentrate it more). Polar bears liver would be the most deadly, but seal liver particularly though not exclusively in more polar type regions is nearly as bad. If Neandertals were eating seal, I suspect they left the liver well alone, or maybe found a way to process it? Or less likely they had adapted to the high doses, like polar bears have.

    As an aside one of the earliest pathologies we've observed in the Homo species was a case of hypervitaminosis in an Erectus female in Africa. She must have chowed down on a carnivores liver. The evidence of her suffering was in her bones(abnormal growth in the cells). What's more interesting is that she would have taken weeks to die. During which time she would have been almost immobile and in terrible pain poor thing. She would have been in no condition to forage/hunt. Someone was feeding her and looking after her, even though she would have been a big liability. A snapshot, a brief glimpse of attention and caring in the earliest of peoples we'd recognise as human.

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





  • Wibbs wrote: »
    True, however they'd have to be very careful in how much they ate, because of the high dose of vitamin A, which can cause serious illness and often death. Most hunter gatherer cultures have taboos surrounding eating carnivore livers for this reason(they concentrate it more). Polar bears liver would be the most deadly, but seal liver particularly though not exclusively in more polar type regions is nearly as bad. If Neandertals were eating seal, I suspect they left the liver well alone, or maybe found a way to process it? Or less likely they had adapted to the high doses, like polar bears have.

    As an aside one of the earliest pathologies we've observed in the Homo species was a case of hypervitaminosis in an Erectus female in Africa. She must have chowed down on a carnivores liver. The evidence of her suffering was in her bones(abnormal growth in the cells). What's more interesting is that she would have taken weeks to die. During which time she would have been almost immobile and in terrible pain poor thing. She would have been in no condition to forage/hunt. Someone was feeding her and looking after her, even though she would have been a big liability. A snapshot, a brief glimpse of attention and caring in the earliest of peoples we'd recognise as human.

    But not really too surprising if we consider that there's evidence of non-human carnivores doing the same thing :D

    I thought neanderthals were supossed to be much more carnivorous than H. sapiens. I suposse that if they were, they would have been much more resistant to hypervitaminosis? Just a thought...




  • Adam Khor wrote: »
    But not really too surprising if we consider that there's evidence of non-human carnivores doing the same thing :D
    Oh true AK though like all diffs with humans compared to animals I suppose it's matter of degree. She would have taken over a month to die from this(judging by the bone growth) and would have been near immobile. Other mobile social carnivores like wolves, lions etc would stick around for a few days, but a month would be a stretch.
    I thought neanderthals were supossed to be much more carnivorous than H. sapiens. I suposse that if they were, they would have been much more resistant to hypervitaminosis? Just a thought...
    Possible alright. Inuit peoples have bigger livers than other populations as an adaptation to their almost exclusively carnivorous diet and it seems that adaptation didn't take that long. 15,000 years tops. They're shorter and stockier and also have a higher density of capillaries in the face and hands compared to other populations as an adaptation against the cold. That kind of environment would have stroooong selection pressures.

    Set against that Neandertals may have been less carnivorous than was thought. Certainly compared to Inuit folks. They seem to have collected, cooked and eaten wild grains. Probably in the form of simple "biscuits" or even a porridge type meal, though lack of obvious bowls for the latter is a sticking point(then again crude wooden bowls would be v v rare survival wise). Recent discoveries of the remains of said cooked grains have been found between the teeth of a couple of specimens. I suppose it would also depend on where they lived too. More northern Neandertal folks may have been more like Inuit, where the middle eastern and southern guys would have had a different diet environment.

    Either way, with every little glimpse into their lives we find, the more complex and adaptable and fascinating a people they become and a lot further away from the short* brutish cultural eskimo of previous images of them. Now if someone called me a neandertal I'd take it as more of a compliment :D Pity we'll never know what they called themselves, but in the DNA of a large chunk of non African people they left their legacy, so that's cool. :)




    *they averaged shorter than modern humans today, but were closer in size to moderns living at the same time(and not far off your average medieval person). However a couple of these guys were close to 5'10-11" which is not that short at all.

    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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  • Wibbs wrote: »
    True, however they'd have to be very careful in how much they ate, because of the high dose of vitamin A, which can cause serious illness and often death. Most hunter gatherer cultures have taboos surrounding eating carnivore livers for this reason(they concentrate it more). Polar bears liver would be the most deadly, but seal liver particularly though not exclusively in more polar type regions is nearly as bad. If Neandertals were eating seal, I suspect they left the liver well alone, or maybe found a way to process it? Or less likely they had adapted to the high doses, like polar bears have.

    As an aside one of the earliest pathologies we've observed in the Homo species was a case of hypervitaminosis in an Erectus female in Africa. She must have chowed down on a carnivores liver. The evidence of her suffering was in her bones(abnormal growth in the cells). What's more interesting is that she would have taken weeks to die. During which time she would have been almost immobile and in terrible pain poor thing. She would have been in no condition to forage/hunt. Someone was feeding her and looking after her, even though she would have been a big liability. A snapshot, a brief glimpse of attention and caring in the earliest of peoples we'd recognise as human.

    Good points Wibbs did you know though some hunters after making a kill cook and eat the liver before returning to the rest of the tribe. It gives them the energy to return home they claim.




  • Wibbs wrote: »
    Oh true AK though like all diffs with humans compared to animals I suppose it's matter of degree. She would have taken over a month to die from this(judging by the bone growth) and would have been near immobile. Other mobile social carnivores like wolves, lions etc would stick around for a few days, but a month would be a stretch.

    Possible alright. Inuit peoples have bigger livers than other populations as an adaptation to their almost exclusively carnivorous diet and it seems that adaptation didn't take that long. 15,000 years tops. They're shorter and stockier and also have a higher density of capillaries in the face and hands compared to other populations as an adaptation against the cold. That kind of environment would have stroooong selection pressures.

    Set against that Neandertals may have been less carnivorous than was thought. Certainly compared to Inuit folks. They seem to have collected, cooked and eaten wild grains. Probably in the form of simple "biscuits" or even a porridge type meal, though lack of obvious bowls for the latter is a sticking point(then again crude wooden bowls would be v v rare survival wise). Recent discoveries of the remains of said cooked grains have been found between the teeth of a couple of specimens. I suppose it would also depend on where they lived too. More northern Neandertal folks may have been more like Inuit, where the middle eastern and southern guys would have had a different diet environment.

    Either way, with every little glimpse into their lives we find, the more complex and adaptable and fascinating a people they become and a lot further away from the short* brutish cultural eskimo of previous images of them. Now if someone called me a neandertal I'd take it as more of a compliment :D Pity we'll never know what they called themselves, but in the DNA of a large chunk of non African people they left their legacy, so that's cool. :)




    *they averaged shorter than modern humans today, but were closer in size to moderns living at the same time(and not far off your average medieval person). However a couple of these guys were close to 5'10-11" which is not that short at all.

    On the point of neanderthals Wibbs I have noticed several other hominids are given the nomen neanderthal. Is the term neanderthal in reference to a species much more diverse than homo sapians or around the same?




  • Other hominids? Really? Huh, I always thought of them as one sub species (spread over time of course). Personally I'd even put heidlebergensis under the same name, just call them early Neandertals. From the gene studies I've read on them they seem less diverse than us.
    Good points Wibbs did you know though some hunters after making a kill cook and eat the liver before returning to the rest of the tribe. It gives them the energy to return home they claim.
    Yea I've read about that, though it's prey/ruminant animal livers. The taboos concern carnivore livers. They concentrate the Vit A to a toxic level.

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





  • Miguelón being the best preserved Homo heidelbergensis specimen known, nicknamed after a Spanish cyclist who was seemingly da bomb at the time of the fossil's discovery.
    The Museum of Evolution in Burgos will be dedicating the summer to this specimen and its discoverer, Juan Luis Arsguaga, has opened a Twitter account to answer the public's questions about Homo heidelbergensis and related matters. https://twitter.com/JuanLuisArsuaga

    1314805702902.jpg

    http://www.rtve.es/noticias/20120709/veinte-anos-del-descubrimiento-miguelon-craneo-fosil-mejor-conservado-del-mundo/544342




  • Doesn´t surprise me- chimpanzees know about this too- but still interesting:

    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-neanderthals-knowledge-qualities.html

    neanderthals.jpg




  • Adam Khor wrote: »
    Doesn´t surprise me- chimpanzees know about this too- but still interesting:

    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-neanderthals-knowledge-qualities.html

    neanderthals.jpg

    Indeed Ill bet most if not all hominids know about medicinal plants. Parrots, chimps as you say, elephants and a range of other animals exhibit zoopharmacognosy (knowledge of pharmaceutical plants).

    Within biology theres a tendency for people to underestimate nature yet biology by its nature is not conservative.




  • Especially corvids and raptors, which they seemingly did not eat:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/first-evidence-that-neanderthals-actively-captured-birds
    88e20da6e0e8f7d667e43178ddf633c1.png




  • And I thought feathered Dinosaurs were cool. The paper is open access in PLoS One too :Dhttp://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0045927




  • I read about this a while ago, didn't realise it's only gone "official". Cool stuff. I'm still wondering and waiting for more info to come out about the "neandertal dwelling" apparently discovered in the Ukraine that was "decorated elaborately with carvings and pigments". Just a couple of reports from some researchers and then nada. The feathers thing is way cool, but carvings and pigments would blow the whole neandertal/sapiens culture difference into orbit.

    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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  • Wibbs wrote: »
    The feathers thing is way cool, but carvings and pigments would blow the whole neandertal/sapiens culture difference into orbit.

    Fascinating stuff. Reminds me of a short story published in Nature a few months back about a resurected Neanderthal girl. You can listen to the podcast here.


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