Neanderthals: New Findings & Theories

EnolaGaia

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... This got me thinking that, after some 150,000 years were Neanderthals developing more gracile features and were the last of the Neanderthals physically almost indistinguishable from contemporaneous European Homo Sapiens the Cro-Magnon?
First, a cautionary note ...

I'm not sure what the known range of Neanderthal cranial thicknesses is believed to have been. I'm also uncertain whether we have enough Neanderthal skulls from a wide enough swath of their era to reasonably determine such a range, much less any trend in thickness during the time they existed.

Now, having said that ...

It's widely presumed that Neanderthals and homo sapiens sapiens interbred, if only in particular places and times. If there were a trend toward thinner and / or more gracile Neanderthal skulls over the millennia, it may well have resulted from genetic input from the more modern form. I tend to think this would be the more likely explanation for any thinning / gracile trend.

However ... In principle there's no reason why Neanderthals couldn't have been evolving less robust skull structures on their own.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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First, a cautionary note ...

I'm not sure what the known range of Neanderthal cranial thicknesses is believed to have been. I'm also uncertain whether we have enough Neanderthal skulls from a wide enough swath of their era to reasonably determine such a range, much less any trend in thickness during the time they existed.

Now, having said that ...

It's widely presumed that Neanderthals and homo sapiens sapiens interbred, if only in particular places and times. If there were a trend toward thinner and / or more gracile Neanderthal skulls over the millennia, it may well have resulted from genetic input from the more modern form. I tend to think this would be the more likely explanation for any thinning / gracile trend.

However ... In principle there's no reason why Neanderthals couldn't have been evolving less robust skull structures on their own.
Absolutely agree.
The Gibraltar 1 skull though has been classed as Neanderthal rather than Neanderthal/Sapiens hybrid.
I reckon she would have been quite a looker in her day and I can see why a red-blooded Cro-Magnon could conceivably have taken a fancy to her.

Neanderthal.jpg
 

Jim

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First, a cautionary note ...

I'm not sure what the known range of Neanderthal cranial thicknesses is believed to have been. I'm also uncertain whether we have enough Neanderthal skulls from a wide enough swath of their era to reasonably determine such a range, much less any trend in thickness during the time they existed.

Now, having said that ...

It's widely presumed that Neanderthals and homo sapiens sapiens interbred, if only in particular places and times. If there were a trend toward thinner and / or more gracile Neanderthal skulls over the millennia, it may well have resulted from genetic input from the more modern form. I tend to think this would be the more likely explanation for any thinning / gracile trend.

However ... In principle there's no reason why Neanderthals couldn't have been evolving less robust skull structures on their own.
A study on the thickness range of modern adult human (both male and female) found neither cranial diploeic thickness nor cranial total thickness is statistically significantly associated with the sex, weight or stature of an individuals. Makes me wonder why the neanderthals skull thickness would vary unless it was evolutionary. They did exist for some ~ 400 thousand years.

Below a published medical paper on measured human skull thickness
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1351187/
 

Mythopoeika

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Absolutely agree.
The Gibraltar 1 skull though has been classed as Neanderthal rather than Neanderthal/Sapiens hybrid.
I reckon she would have been quite a looker in her day and I can see why a red-blooded Cro-Magnon could conceivably have taken a fancy to her.

View attachment 19638
She's really rocking that monobrow!
 
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Maybe not smarter than the average hominin.

Neanderthals and other early humans produced a tarry glue from birch bark; this was long considered proof of a high level of cognitive and cultural development.

Researchers had long believed that birch tar—used by the Neanderthals to make tools—could only be created through a complex process in which the bark had to be heated in the absence of air. However, an international team led by researchers at the University of Tübingen and including faculty from New York University's Department of Anthropology and the NYU Tandon School of Engineering found that there is a very simple way to make this useful glue.

"Our paper challenges common beliefs that the presence of birchtar in Neanderthal archaeological assemblages means they had sophisticated cognitive abilities," said co-author Radu Iovita, a paleoanthropologist and Paleolithic archaeologist in the Department of Anthropology at NYU and a member of the faculty of the Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology at the University of Tübingen.

https://phys.org/news/2019-08-neanderthal-tool-making-simpler-previously-thought.html
 

hunck

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80,000 year old Neanderthal footprints found in Normandy

Scientists have found hundreds of perfectly preserved footprints, suggesting a group of 10-13 individuals, mostly children and adolescents, were on the shoreline 80,000 years ago.

The 257 footprints discovered at Le Rozel in western France give a snapshot of how Neanderthals lived and suggest they may have been taller than previously thought.

“It was incredible to observe these tracks, which represent moments in the lives of individuals, sometimes very young, who lived 80,000 years ago,” said Duveau, of the French National Museum of Natural History.

The site was discovered by Yves Roupin, an amateur archaeologist, in the 1960s, but it was not until 2012, when it was threatened by wind and tidal erosion, that government-funded excavations started.

Mechanical diggers were used to extract sand tens of metres down to reach lower layers where the footprints were delicately uncovered with brushes.

The footprints were found among what the team called “abundant archaeological material” revealing evidence of animal butchery and tool-making. They date back to a time when only Neanderthals lived in western Europe.

Neanderthals’ feet were broader than those of modern humans. From the size of the footprints at Le Rozel, the researchers estimated the size of the individuals who made them and then inferred their age.

Some of the prints appear to have been made by a taller individual. Remains of skeletons previously suggested Neanderthals were around 150–160cm tall, but this individual may have measured 175cm (5ft 9in).
 
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