The Well-Tailored Neanderthal; Or, They Walk Among Us!

CygnusRex

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*Bump*

It would appear that they walked a tad earlier then first suspected

Hominids walked upright early in evolution

Friday, September 3, 2004 Posted: 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)

Human's gait may date back another 3 million years before "Lucy," the earliest known pre-human to walk on two legs.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A chimp-sized human ancestor walked upright 6 million years ago, far earlier than anyone had been able to show before, researchers reported on Thursday.

Specialized X-rays called CAT scans of the top of a fossil thighbone show clear evidence that the creature walked upright, like pre-humans, and not like apes, the researchers said.

Their findings, published in Friday's issue of the journal Science, take the dawn of human gait back another 3 million years from "Lucy," the earliest known pre-human to have walked on two legs.

"We have solid evidence of the earliest upright posture and bipedalism securely dated to six million years," said Dr. Robert Eckhardt, a professor in the Laboratory of Comparative Morphology and Mechanics at Pennsylvania State University.

This older species, known scientifically as Orrorin tugenensis, lived in what is now the Kenyan Lukeino Formation.

The international team of researchers studied bones dug up nearly four years ago. One thighbone includes the intact head of the left thighbone -- the ball that is inserted into the hip socket joint.

The bones are about the same size as a modern chimpanzee's. But they look quite different.

The researchers ran computed tomography or CAT scans on the bones. These computer-enhanced X-rays create a three-dimensional image.

They found the neck connecting the ball to the shaft is thinner on top than it is on the bottom, a sign that the creature walked on two legs.

"In present day chimps and gorillas, the thicknesses in the upper and lower parts of that bone are approximately equal," Eckhardt said in a statement.

"In modern humans, the bone on top is thinner than on the bottom by a ratio of one to four or more. The ratio in this fossil is one to three."

Genetic evidence suggests that chimps and human diverged from a common ancestor 7 million years ago.
Source
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When humans faced extinction

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

Humans may have come close to extinction about 70,000 years ago, according to the latest genetic research.

The study suggests that at one point there may have been only 2,000 individuals alive as our species teetered on the brink.




Sorry to go slightly off topic, but I wonder if this has anything to do with the Adam & Eve and/or Noah & the Ark stories.
It has been suggested that cirtain bible stories may well be stories that have been handed down over tens of thousands of years and may be linked to actual events.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Quazi: Got a link? Sound slike an interesting study. The botleneck is usually put earlier before the Last Interglacial (120-80,000 years ago) but this sneaks it forward to just after that the end of that and the start of the last glaciation.

Interestingly this coincides with the enormous eruption of Toba in Indonesia (around 75,000 years ago) - it was an order of magnitude greater than Krakatoa and is probabl the largest eruption since modern humans first appeared and it produced the largest caldera from any eruption in the last 2 million years (since the appearance of our genus Homo). We see the effects in the ice cores and across large parts of the globe so it should be no suprise that it also had some impact on humans.

See e.g. this page:

http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/southeast_asia/indonesia/toba.html

How it fits in with Noah is up to your interpretation - the bottleneck happens when population numbers crash and groups become isolated increasing. There was no ark or animals going two by two ;) and I suspect you'd be better looking elsewhere - into global flood myths, etc.

Oh and I moved the story here as it is where we are talking about neanderthals, modern human oriigns, reevant genetics, etc.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Neandertals Beaten by Rivals' Word Skills, Study Says

James Owen
for National Geographic News
November 24, 2004

Ever since evidence of Neandertals was discovered in Germany in 1856, the question of what happened to them has captured the popular imagination.

This hairy, thickset species of human vanished some 35,000 years ago. Neandertals' disappearance coincided with an influx of modern humans (Homo sapiens) to Europe and western Asia, leading scientists to speculate that the two events are closely linked.

Now a new study, published tomorrow in the journal Nature, suggests that the modern humans' more sophisticated communication skills may have helped to finish off the Neandertals (Homo neanderthalensis).

The study's author, Paul Mellars, professor of prehistory and human evolution at Cambridge University in England, bases his theory on existing evidence.

Many scientists call the first modern humans to reach Europe from Africa the Aurignacians. Using archaeological clues such as bone tools and ivory ornaments, researchers have traced the Aurignacians' advance through the Middle East and Europe.

Radiocarbon dating of these finds suggests the Aurignacians' advance took place between 40,000 and 35,000 years ago.

Mellars says this is supported by radiocarbon dating of the earliest known remains of anatomically modern humans. Likewise, he said, recent DNA studies of present-day humans suggest that the modern humans spread across Europe during the same period.

And it was during this period that the Neandertals suddenly disappeared, despite 200,000 years of successful adaptation to the glacial conditions that would grip Europe for another 30,000 years.

So why were the Neandertals replaced so abruptly by Homo sapiens?

The answer, Mellars says, may lie in language.

He says the Aurignacian period "shows an apparently sudden flowering of all the most distinctive features of fully 'modern' cultural behavior."

The study cites archaeological remains that reflect a relatively sophisticated system of communication. Examples include the first carefully shaped bone tools, stone beads and other personal ornaments, and sophisticated forms of both abstract and figurative art. Aurignacians are thought to have created ivory statuettes of humans and animals found in southern Germany and elaborate cave paintings in southeastern France.

Complex Language

Mellars writes, "Expression at this level of complexity would be almost inconceivable in the absence of complex language systems and in the absence of brains structured very similarly, if not identically, to our own."

He adds that most experts agree that modern humans such as the Aurignacians had fully complex language, because the experts believe all modern humans today have complex language skills. Even today's most isolated populations, whether they be Australian Aborigines or Eskimos, possess the same levels of complexity of grammar.

Mellars said complex language would have given modern humans a crucial, competitive edge over Neandertals.

"The power to communicate with people makes almost all activities more efficient, from coordinating hunting activities to passing on information about the location of food resources," he said.

He suggests information on the location of wood for fuel would have been particularly important for surviving winter.

"We're right in the middle of the last major glacial period and the landscape in Europe was almost treeless," he added.

The study suggests the timing of the Aurignacians' arrival in Europe may have pressed home their language advantage.

Climatic records indicate temperature oscillations of up to 8 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) around the time the Neandertals (also spelled "Neanderthals") disappeared.

"Perhaps because they had better technology, were more innovative, and because of the language, modern humans may have been able to adapt to these rapid climatic changes quicker than the Neanderthals," Mellars said.

He adds that Neandertals had survived similar climatic oscillations in the past, when they wouldn't have faced modern human competition.

In contrast with Homo sapiens, there is no direct archaeological evidence for complex language among Neandertals, though most experts agree they probably did possess some form of basic language.

"It may well be that Neanderthals didn't have tenses and subjunctive clauses, and probably didn't have complicated sentences," Mellars added.

Skillful Toolmakers

And while archaeological finds show that Neandertals were skillful toolmakers and hunters, they don't appear to have produced any art or personal ornaments.

Mellars believes this lack of "symbolic activity" is characteristic of a people who lacked skilled communication and creative imagination and who had difficulty in being innovative. To us, he says, Neandertals may have appeared autistic.

"There may have been some kind of mutation in the brain after modern humans split off from Neanderthals," he added.

Previous studies indicate that no traces of Neandertal mitochondrial DNA (a type of DNA generally passed down by females) are present in human populations today. Mellars believes the DNA findings bolster the argument that Neandertals and modern humans were separate species.

"That's the strongest evidence that Neanderthals were incapable of interbreeding with modern humans," Mellars added. "Ninety percent of DNA specialists think that Neanderthals were a different species."

Chris Stringer is head of human origins at the Natural History Museum in London. Stringer, who was not involved with the study, said he agrees with most of Mellars's arguments.

"I agree that the evidence still largely supports an influx of modern humans into Europe, followed by the replacement of the Neanderthals with, at most, a trivial amount of gene flow [interbreeding] between the populations," he said.

"The modern-human adaptive pattern allowed Homo sapiens to cope better with rapid climate changes than the archaic 'natives' of Eurasia, such as the Neanderthals," Stringer added.

Stringer, however, takes a different view from Mellars as to when competition between Neandertals and modern humans first began. Stringer says Homo sapiens probably started to penetrate Neandertal territories in Europe and western Asia from at least a hundred thousand years ago.

For Mellars, it was the advanced language and behavior of the modern humans that "provided the foundations of all the later developments in culture and advanced civilizations in Europe and elsewhere."
Source

I'm not sure what the study they are refering to is but Paul Mellars (more than anyone) should know that if you pin modern language on the early modern humans because of their artefacts then you have to extend it to neaderthals because they also made similar Upper Palaeolithic technologies. I kind of thought this arguement had been around the block so many times it wasn't worth doing again.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Interesting overview:

November-December 2004

Volume: 92 Number: 6 Page: 506

Growing up Neandertal

Pat Shipman

They were not us. That is, Neandertals were probably not members of our own species, judging from recent analyses of mitochondrial DNA (described in the November-December 2003 issue). Nonetheless, Neandertals were clearly built on a human-like plan (or vice versa) with some crucial modifications.

A glance at the fossil remains of these hominids shows that Neandertal bones are much more robust than those of modern Homo sapiens. The skulls of the two species also show several striking differences. One of the most noticeable Neandertal features is the unmistakably large, bony browridges that stick out over the eyes. Below the orbits, the face is more prognathic—the nose and jaw protrude farther in front of the braincase—than a human face. The prominent nasal bones in Neandertal skulls top wide nasal openings, suggesting that they sported large, aquiline noses. Unlike the smoother, rounded contour of the human skull, the back of the Neandertal skull has a distinctive bulge, often referred to as a chignon or bun. Overall, the Neandertal skull resembles what you might expect if someone took a human skull made of rubber, grabbed it by the face and back of the head, and pulled.

These comparisons attracted the attention of scientists who study the interactions between evolution and development from birth to adulthood—so-called "evo-devo." Put simply, they wanted to know: How do you grow up Neandertal?


-----------------
Tale of the Teeth

In the spring of 2004, several studies offered fascinating answers to this question. Fernando Ramírez Rozzi of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Paris and José Maria Bermúdez de Castro of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid compared the rates of dental growth in several species within the genus Homo, including Neandertals. They examined the perikymata—small enamel ridges on the tooth surface—of incisor and canine teeth from 55 Neandertals, 25 Homo antecessor and Homo heidelbergensis individuals (two species that some anthropologists group together) and 39 ancient but anatomically modern humans.

Perikymata are created as a tooth grows. In humans and their close kin (such as Homo erectus), one ridge is created approximately every nine days during tooth development. The ridges of more distant relatives, including chimpanzees and gorillas, are formed at shorter intervals. By counting the number of perikymata, investigators can calculate how long the tooth took to form.

Surprisingly—and this is also the first word in the title of their paper— Ramírez Rozzi and Bermúdez de Castro found that Neandertals formed their teeth in fewer days than did H. antecessor and H. heidelbergensis. If Neandertals had been the most ancient of the lot, one might expect them to be the most ape-like. But although the other fossil species are older still, they already show the human pattern. The finding is also a surprise because some scientists still feel that Neandertals are, basically, just funny-looking humans—a judgment challenged by this fundamental difference.

Dental maturity is a common proxy for overall maturity because neurological, skeletal and sexual milestones are correlated with the pace of tooth mineralization. The authors concluded that faster dental development meant that Neandertals reached adulthood 15 percent sooner than humans, on average. To state this finding in practical terms, if humans attain physical maturity at 18 years, Neandertals were similarly grown at 15 years.

Their paper also examined the spacing of perikymata across the front surfaces of incisors and canines. Dental enamel forms first at the tip of the crown—the first point to emerge from the gum—and then proceeds toward the roots. In modern humans, the perikymata are widely spaced in the half of the tooth that formed first, indicating that lots of enamel was deposited during each nine-day increment. On the second half of each human tooth, the ridges are more closely spaced, showing a slower daily rate of enamel formation.

Like human teeth, Neandertal teeth look as if they grew rapidly at first and then slowed down. However, on the part of each Neandertal tooth that grew later, the perikymata are more spread out than in their human counterparts. In other words, although the rate of enamel formation also decreased with age in Neandertals, the slowdown was less pronounced. This pattern of dental growth resembles that of apes. We know that the apes of today reach physical maturity much faster than humans. So, presumably, did Neandertals.

Ramírez Rozzi and Bermúdez de Castro speculated that Neandertals evolved a more rapid rate of physical maturation in response to high mortality rates. Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis documented this subject in 1995 using the remains of 206 Neandertals whose age at death could be estimated from dental or skeletal indicators.

Astonishingly, Trinkaus found that the great majority (80 percent) of these individuals died before reaching middle age (defined as the equivalent of 40 human years). The largest fraction (40 percent) died during early adulthood—equivalent to a human age between 20 and 40 years. Even the famous "Old Man of La Chapelle-aux-Saints"—whose remains indicate that he suffered from degenerative joint disease and tooth loss during life—died around age 30. If, as these data suggest, Neandertals usually died young, then natural selection would favor individuals who grew up fast and bore their babies early. Also, earlier maturity among their offspring would shorten the period of vulnerable childhood—another selective advantage.

Growing up Neandertal was apparently a sprint compared with the endurance contest of human growth, and the fossil record shows that the finish lines, and perhaps the racecourses, were different for the two species. But how exactly did these paths diverge? Just what had to be accomplished during Neandertals' childhood years?


---------------
Parsing the Evolution of Homo sapiens

Certainly, the crania of both species had to grow during the course of development, although the adult skulls of Neandertals and modern humans are quite different. Perhaps Neandertals were born with skulls much like those of modern humans, but these skulls grew differently—earlier, faster or longer—to produce the distinctive shape of an adult Neandertal skull. Were this hypothesis true, it might suggest that modern humans descended from Neandertal ancestors by mutations that altered the timing or duration of cranial growth. For example, hulking Neandertal browridges might have evolved into the more modest browridges of modern, adult humans through slower growth of that region. In that case, an adult human would resemble an immature Neandertal, a condition called neoteny.

Frank L'Engle Williams of Georgia State University and Laurie Godfrey and Mike Sutherland of the University of Massachusetts described a test of the hypothesis that humans resembled neotenous Neandertals in a chapter of the recent book Patterns of Growth and Development in the Genus Homo (Cambridge University Press, 2003). The team measured 24 linear features on skulls from 41 Neandertals and 294 modern humans that represented every stage of the life cycle. They programmed these data into a computer model that tried to simulate the "evolution" of modern humans from adult or juvenile Neandertals by varying the rate of change for shape, size or a combination of both.

The attempt failed. Although Neandertal skulls are larger in all dimensions than human ones, simply making a Neandertal skull smaller does not produce something that looks like an adult human skull. The differences lie deeper than mere size. Using juvenile or immature Neandertals as a starting point worked no better: Adult human skulls were as different from those of immature Neandertals as the human specimens were from mature fossils. The authors' conclusion was that "humans make poor neotenous Neandertals," according to Williams.

If neoteny cannot explain the differences between human and Neandertal skulls, two possibilities remain: Either Neandertal newborns started with a different template and then grew like humans, or they started differently and grew differently as well.

Gail Krovitz of the University of Colorado at Denver addressed these competing hypotheses in a contribution to the same book (which she also helped edit). Unable to follow living Neandertals as they grew, she instead used a cross-sectional sample of Neandertal and human remains divided into five age classes on the basis of dental maturity, using human standards: 0-3 years; 3-6 years; 6-9 years; 9-13.5 years and greater than 13.5 years.

In this study, Krovitz recorded the three-dimensional coordinates of 39 anatomical landmarks on the crania of 5 immature and 18 adult Neandertals. The small sample size reflects the scarcity of the accessible, virtually complete specimens that are needed for this kind of study. Krovitz also took similar measurements on 230 immature and 142 adult human crania. After calculating averages for the landmark positions within each age class, she analyzed the distance increase between all possible pairs of landmarks in successive age classes. This procedure revealed the developmental stage and extent of cranial growth, by region, for each species.

In fact, there was scant variation over time in the well-known differences between Neandertal and human crania—the same distinctions held true across the board. In every age group, Neandertal fossils were longer in the lower face, wider across the orbits, longer front to back, and lower from the top of the braincase to the cranial base than human specimens, implying that some or all of the distinguishing features of Neandertal crania formed prior to birth. Yet in the midst of this uniformity, the patterns of growth were different. In general, between birth and age 9, Neandertal faces grew longer below the browridges and became more prognathic, while human faces widened across the orbits. From 9 to 13.5 years, Neandertal faces broadened across the orbits and elongated below the nasal aperture. In humans, the entire face lengthened. After 13.5 years of age, Neandertal crania continued to elongate and widen more than human crania, further increasing their prognathism.

These dissimilarities in growth are statistically significant and Krovitz believes they reflect a fundamentally different developmental pattern acting upon a different cranial shape found at or perhaps before birth. "Neandertals were born as baby Neandertals," she explains, "and throughout their life, the shape differences in their heads were accentuated by different patterns of growth."

Analyzing growth and development in fossil species is fraught with subtle pitfalls and plagued by small sample sizes. Yet independent analyses of dental and skeletal markers tell the same story, one of rapid growth and a nonhuman pattern of shape change throughout Neandertal childhood. If Neandertals were not "us" genetically, as most paleoanthropologists now believe, neither were they "us" in terms of development. Perhaps a suitable epitaph for Neandertals is this:

Thickened, heavy skulls long gone,
They grew up strange, lived fast, died young.


---------------
Bibliography

* Krovitz, G. 2003. Shape and growth differences between Neandertals and modern humans: Grounds for species-level distinction? In Patterns of Growth and Development in the Genus Homo, ed. J. L. Thompson, G. E. Krovitz and A. J. Nelson. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

* Ramírez Rozzi, F., and J. M. Bermúdez de Castro. 2004. Surprisingly rapid growth in Neanderthals. Nature 428:936–939.

* Trinkaus, E. 1995. Neandertal mortality patterns. Journal of Archaeological Science 22:121-142.

* Williams, F. L., L. R. Godfrey and M. R. Sutherland. 2003. Diagnosing heterochronic perturbations in the craniofacial evolution of Homo (Neandertals and modern humans) and Pan (P. troglodytes and P. paniscus). In Patterns of Growth and Development in the Genus Homo, ed. J. L. Thompson, G. E. Krovitz and A. J. Nelson. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
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Mighty_Emperor

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A study supporting the Continuity theory:

Believe it or not, they're all the same species

By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent
(Filed: 26/12/2004)

It is one of the best-known stories in science: the evolution of mankind from ape-like creatures to modern humans via knuckle-grazing cave-dwellers. Now it has been blown apart by the first comprehensive study of all the fossils, which has revealed that they are probably all variants of Homo sapiens.

The discovery comes as fossil-hunters in Indonesia continue to defend claims to have found yet another new species of human, dubbed "Hobbit Man". If true, the diminutive creature would join such famous specimens as Lucy, Java Man and the Neanderthals in the complex family tree of mankind.

The findings have significant implications for the often bitter debates between fossil-hunters about the significance of their finds. While they no longer bicker over the so-called "Missing Link" - the now-derided idea of a creature linking humans to chimpanzees - experts continue to argue over the relationship between Australopithecines and early humans, and between Neanderthals and modern humans.

The number of human species claimed by fossil-hunters now stands at around 10, while the total number of human-like species exceeds 50. Such claims have long been based on supposedly significant differences in sizes and shapes of fossil bones. Now they have all been thrown into doubt by research showing that the differences lie within the range expected for just a single species.

Professor Maciej Henneberg, of the University of Adelaide, a world authority on fossil human anatomy, made the discovery after analysing the skull sizes and estimated body weights for all of the 200 identified specimens of human-like fossils known as hominims. These span the entire history of humans, from the emergence of so-called Australopithecines with an upright stance more than four million years ago to neolithic modern humans from around 10,000 years ago.

Prof Henneberg found that the fossils show clear evidence of evolution, with substantial increases in both skull sizes and body-weight. However, he also found that the fossils show no evidence of being anything other than a single species which had grown bigger and smarter over time. According to Prof Henneberg, the much-vaunted differences in fossil size used to identify "new" species all lie within the normal range expected for one species.

Plotted out as a graph, they form the classic bell-shaped curve found using data from modern humans.

Reporting his findings in the current issue of the Journal of Comparative Human Biology, Prof Henneberg concludes: "All hominims appear to be a single gradually evolving lineage containing only one species at each point in time."

The findings have big implications for the often bitter debates between fossil-hunters about the significance of their finds. Experts have long bickered over the relationship between Australopithecines and early humans, and between Neanderthals and modern humans.

Prof Henneberg has said that the new results suggest such disputes are meaningless, as they ignore the possibility of huge differences within the same species.

He said they also raise doubts about the reliability of bones in identifying new human species: "There is no precise way in which we can test whether Julius Caesar and Princess Diana were members of the same species of Homo sapiens".

According to Prof Henneberg, the study highlights the scant evidence for so many of the claimed new species of human. "Considering that there are only about 200 specimens in total, if these really do represent ten different species, that makes an average of just 20 specimens per species". He added that only a single skull had been found for the "Hobbit Man" of Indonesia.

Other authorities hailed Prof Henneberg's findings as a much-needed reality check. "Clearly there is a need to be more aware of the possibility of variation - but that is not the inclination today," said Geoffrey Harrison, emeritus professor of biological anthropology at the University of Oxford. "It has been a problem because the discoverers have usually put so much effort into finding the evidence, so they want it to be important".

Professor Chris Stringer, a leading expert on human fossils at the Natural History Museum, London, said even Neanderthals were not significantly different in skull or body size from modern humans. However, he added that they do differ in other details, such as inner ear bones.

He said: "The argument they are a different species is, of course, only a hypothesis, but comparisons of skull shape published recently certainly show they are as different from us as monkeys and apes are different from each other".

According to Prof Henneberg, there are fewer than 30 examples of Neanderthals on which to base any conclusions. What evidence there is, however, is consistent with Neanderthals being from the same species as modern humans.

He added that the never-ending announcements of new species said more about those making the claims than about human evolution. "The problem is there are far more palaeontologists than fossil specimens".
Source

I'll have to wait to see the study but just going on very braod measures of size and shape seems a tad crude (it also means your sample size is much reduced) and I think most people would probably agree that such things would tend to show a grouping (we are all in the genus Homo for such reasons). It is when you look at the more detailled anatomy that you get a clear picture.
 

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But the division into species isn't based on size measurements at all! Put an australopithecus africanus next to a robustus on one side and a Neanderthal on the other, and the morphological differences are apparent to the untrained corrected-for-astigmatism eye (i.e., mine). Add in a modern human skull, of the most beetle-browed, chinless, deepskulled type you like, and you can find the differences again, without any training. I mean, chins, brow ridges, occipital buns - these have been compared many times across the board.

My assumption here, until I read the report for myself, is that the journalist has gotten hold of entirely the wrong end of the stick and is misquoting to an embarrassing extent.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Peni said:
But the division into species isn't based on size measurements at all! Put an australopithecus africanus next to a robustus on one side and a Neanderthal on the other, and the morphological differences are apparent to the untrained corrected-for-astigmatism eye (i.e., mine). Add in a modern human skull, of the most beetle-browed, chinless, deepskulled type you like, and you can find the differences again, without any training. I mean, chins, brow ridges, occipital buns - these have been compared many times across the board.
Exactly!!

The paper is:

Henneberg, M. & de Miguel, C. (2004) Hominins are a single lineage: brain and body size variability does not reflect postulated taxonomic diversity of hominins. HOMO (Journal of Comparative Human Biology). 55 (1-2) . 21 - 37.

Abstract

Fossil hominin taxonomy is still debated, chiefly due to the fragmentary nature of fossils and the use of qualitative (subjective) morphological traits. A quantitative analysis of a complete database of hominin cranial capacities (CC, n=207) and body weight estimates (Wt, n=285), covering a period from 5.1 ma (millions of years) to 10 ka (thousands of years) shows no discontinuities through time or geographic latitude. Distributions of residuals of CC and Wt around regressions on date and latitude are continuous and do not differ significantly from normal. Thus, with respect to these characteristics, all hominins appear to be a single gradually evolving lineage.
It appears to be freely availble via

http://tinyurl.com/y8unjv


(more direct link) http://tinyurl.com/yxa7hd
 

Mighty_Emperor

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This is definitely odd - Steven Mithen is more of a stone tools guy but we'll see (I haven't agreed with much of his work to date so......):

January 30, 2005

High notes of the singing Neanderthals

NEANDERTHALS have been misunderstood. The early humanoids traditionally characterised as ape-like brutes were deeply emotional beings with high-pitched voices. They may even have sung to each other, writes Jonathan Leake.

The new image has emerged from two studies of the vocal apparatus and anatomy of the creatures that occupied Europe between 200,000 and 35,000 years ago.

Neanderthal voices were loud, womanly and probably highly melodic — not the roars and grunts previously assumed by most researchers. Stephen Mithen, professor of archeology at Reading University and author of one of the studies, said: “What is emerging is a picture of an intelligent and emotionally complex creature whose most likely form of communication would have been part language and part song.”

Mithen is giving a seminar on his findings at University College London next week and will publish a book, The Singing Neanderthal: The Origin of Language, Music, Body and Mind, in June.

He studied the Neanderthal voice box and compared it with those of modern humans, monkeys and apes to work out what noises they might have made. “They must have been able to communicate complex ideas and even spirituality. Their anatomy suggests that pitch and melody would have played a key role,” he said.

Mithen’s work coincides with the first detailed study of a reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton. Anthropologists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York brought together bones and casts from several sites to re-create the creature.

Gary Sawyer, the researcher who oversaw the project, will describe the results in Horizon on BBC2 on February 10. The creature that emerges bears marked differences to humans. Neanderthals seem to have had an extremely powerful build and no discernible waist.

Professor Trenton Holliday of Tulane University in New Orleans believes they evolved their stocky body shapes to conserve heat when ice covered the world.

“A short compact body with a voluminous chest would retain heat better in a cold environment,” he said.
Source
 

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They Walk Like Men (sort of)

How about Charles Clark, the British Home Secretary? He doesnt look fully evolved. He also holds views which some would refer to as Neanderthal.
 

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Re: They Walk Like Men (sort of)

Ramon Mercado said:
How about Charles Clark, the British Home Secretary? He doesnt look fully evolved. He also holds views which some would refer to as Neanderthal.
The NADL (Neanderthal Anti-Defamation League) might wish to have words with you on this topic.
 

Kondoru

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You dont want to mess with them, -they have very big clubs...
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Interesting Horizon that was just on:

www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/hor ... mary.shtml

While I could quibble about some parts and the bit with the voice choach was laughable thy really did bring together a dream team (all the top people in their fields) to look at the various aspects.

Interesting stuff - possibly a touch too much Propellerheads though. ;)
 

Jerry_B

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I must admit I didn't but the theory about their heavy spears (i.e. that they used them to ambush prey by stabbing, rather than throwing them). Seems to me that if you're going to get close enough for such an attack, you might as well throw the spear anyway. I can't quite see how they managed to sneak up successfully on any animals to make a lunge with their spears, altho' it makes more sense to me that they may have got as close as possible and then thrown the spears. Bunging something that substantial from close range would no doubt have floored the target.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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JerryB: I think it has come up before but studies of their bones find the closest modern comparison with rodeo riders i.e. they got up close and personal with large animals.

We are probably missing parts of thir hunting behaviour and there is evidence (La Cotte de St. Brelade, Jersey and Zwolen, Poland) that they were driving large mammals over cliffs and using the local topography. It would seem possible that they aren't stalking the large game but possibly using some members of the tribe to drive animals into confined spaces where the thrusting spears would work well (still dangerous work). Then again a single pygmy can hunt down and kill an elephant - the trick is between the ears (and elephant shit) and wouldn't transfer well to the archaeological record ;)
 

Jerry_B

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Sure, but then again we have to take into account the way archaeologists sometimes like to go for the most florid idea ;)
 

Mighty_Emperor

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JerryB said:
Sure, but then again we have to take into account the way archaeologists sometimes like to go for the most florid idea ;)
Well it was more my attempt to propose an alternative scenario as opposed to simply sneaking through the woods and jamming a spear in a deer (which as you say doesn't seem very practical). That said they rather setched over the arguements for why they thought Neanderrthals (why the kept saying "Neanderthal" I don't know) were largely forest dwellers - environmental reconstructions suggest they existed in a range of environments including open ones.

I think my bugbear was when they kept asking if the superior modern humans made them extinct but (even as an arguement) there is no such thing as superior or inferior - its all about how fit you are for a niche.
 

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I know it doesn't translate into the archeological record, but isn't it more likely that the first modern humans would have been dark-skinned rather than the somewhat pallid specimen in the reconstructions.

Yes, I know I'm probably walkiing into a minefield but I was thinking that given Homo sapiens went through an evoluntionary bottle-neck and there's not that much genetic diversity, when did our current set of racial characteristics emerge?
 

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Brrrrrr ... it's bl00dy cold up here!

Most of the neanderthals lived a fair way north, i.e. mostly above the 40 degrees N parallel. If, in addition, they were wearing clothes to combat the cold so close to the ice cap (a fair assumption), then a pale skin would be a real survival advantage. In those circumstances a dark skin could result in rickets and lower likelihood of survival. Any population living close to the edge in survival terms is likely to experience significant evolutionary pressure and so undergo rapid change.
 

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The skin colour is an interesting one as Neanderthals are nearly always shown with dark hair and even dark skin (and modern humans on the Horizon show were certainly lighter of hair and skin) and this seems to come down to the way we deal with the Other. The showed us on eof Boule's reconstructions which is one of the most bestail:

http://museums.ncl.ac.uk/flint/images/boule.jpg

See also the "Fear of the Dark" thread:

www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20452

As has been said melanin is under strong selection pressures - high levels are selected for in the south were skin cancer is a big risk and selected against where vitamin C deficieny/rickets is more likely (given the lower levels of light). Given the Neanderthal's suite of cold climate adaptations (distal limb proportions, width, large nose, etc.) it seems pretty likely (sexual selection or genetic flukes aside) that they'd be very pale indeed and probably blonde (or even ginger). Modern humans might possibly have been swarthy.
 

Jerry_B

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One wonders if the choice of skin colour for the Neanderthals isn't partially due to the certain amount of 'stigma' attached to the species in the past? After all, it seems pretty obvious that they would indeed have a lighter skin pigmentation. Despite all of the new research, it still seems that the Neanderthals are painted in a certain light.
 

boynamedsue

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Re swarthiness...


Modern reconstructions always portray neanderthals as dark haired but pale skinned.

We tend to associate blond hair with femininity, that's why super bulky men with blond hair just look a bit silly.
 

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not to a Neandertal....

Having said that, there must have been a lot of diversity; they didnt all live in the arctic, and their bone structure was varied.
 

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For Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens, Was It De-Lovely?

By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD

Published: February 15, 2005

The scientists did not get around to the nitty-gritty question until the fourth hour of a two-and-a-half-day symposium on Neanderthals, held recently at New York University.

A strong consensus was emerging, they agreed, that the now-extinct Neanderthals were a distinct evolutionary entity from modern humans, presumably a different species. They were archaic members of the human family, robust with heavy brow ridges and forward-projecting faces, who lived in Europe and western Asia from at least 250,000 years ago until they vanished from the fossil record about 28,000 years ago.

Neanderthals may have seen their first modern Homo sapiens some 100,000 years ago in what is now Israel. The two people almost certainly came in contact in Europe in the last centuries before the dwindling Neanderthal population was replaced forever by the intruding modern humans.

Taking his turn at the symposium lectern, Dr. James C. M. Ahern, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wyoming, acknowledged: "Neanderthals are different. The degree of difference is relatively vast, but that is not the most interesting question out there."

The question was, he continued, "Did Neanderthals and modern humans do it?"

There it was, out in the open again, the question that has persisted since the first fossils of these people were discovered in the Neander Valley of Germany in 1856. Could the two people with a shared distant ancestry and family resemblance have interbred? Is there any evidence that Europeans today carry some Neanderthal genes?

For the international gathering of scientists, the issue exposed the uncertainty over the definition of species. Its conventional meaning is a group of interbreeding creatures that are reproductively isolated from others. Hybridization of species is rare in mammals. One common example is the mating of an ass and a mare, producing the sterile mule.

The conferees debated, but never resolved, the possibility that Neanderthals could have been an evolutionary and anatomical species, distinct from Homo sapiens, but not strictly an isolated biological species. That is, the two species may have been enough alike to mate and produce fertile offspring.

Again, Dr. Ahern encapsulated the issue, "How much difference is too much" for viable interbreeding to occur?

Dr. Chris Stringer, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London, noted that some species apparently less close than Neanderthals and modern humans can interbreed and produce hybrids. Dr. Stringer is a leading proponent of the theory that modern Homo sapiens emerged in Africa as early as 150,000 years ago and then spread to Asia and Europe, replacing the remnants of archaic humans they encountered there.

Dr. Erik Trinkaus, a Neanderthal expert at Washington University in St. Louis, who was not at the meeting, contends that the 24,500-year-old skeleton of a young boy found in Portugal appeared to be a Neanderthal-Homo sapiens hybrid. The interpretation has so far been viewed with skepticism.

Dr. Mark Stoneking of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, said that he and colleagues had looked for answers in the patterns of genetic variation in contemporary human populations and the analysis of ancient DNA from fossils of Neanderthals and early modern humans. Neither approach, he said, provided any indication of interbreeding between the two species.

"That does not rule out some genetic contribution" from Neanderthals to Europeans' ancestry, Dr. Stoneking said.

Dr. David Serre of McGill University in Montreal described the analysis of the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA found in 24 Neanderthals and 40 early modern human remains. The results seemed to exclude any significant contribution of Neanderthal genes to Homo sapiens, perhaps less than 1 percent. Therefore, he concluded, they were "two distinct biological species."

Dr. Katerina Harvati, also of the Planck Institute in Leipzig, recently conducted research applying a "quantitative method" to determine the degree of anatomical difference that justifies classifying specimens as different species. She and colleagues examined the variation of specific parts of the craniums and faces of modern humans and Neanderthals as well as 12 existing species of nonhuman primates. The two living species of chimpanzees, for example, appeared to be more closely related to each other than Neanderthals are to humans.

Dr. Harvati and Dr. Terry Harrison, a paleontologist at N.Y.U., organized the symposium, "Neanderthals Revisited: New Approaches and Perspectives."

More than species differences may have kept Neanderthals and humans sexually apart, if indeed that was the case. Their opportunities may have been limited.

Dr. Ahern said in an interview that it was "surprising how little overlap there was" between the two species in Europe." It had been thought that modern humans from Africa began arriving in Europe about 40,000 years ago and so could have competed with and mingled with the local population for at least 12,000 years. But the dating of fossil and archaeological evidence is now being revised, leaving much less time when the two species could have had close contact.

"It's a real scientific problem," said Dr. Randall White, an archaeologist specializing in European ice age culture at N.Y.U. "How to interpret the overlap of Neanderthals and modern humans, their interactions and cultural exchanges, the causes of Neanderthal extinction, all depends on what are the real dates of their possible contact."

Some of the most solid evidence for overlap, the researchers said, does not appear until toward the end of the Neanderthals' known existence, when their populations were probably sparse.

Dr. Stringer said some explanations for Neanderthal extinction were being re-examined. Perhaps the technological superiority of modern humans was "not as clear-cut as some of us thought," he said. Perhaps Neanderthals, though adapted to a cold climate, could not survive the rapid and repeated changes of cold and warm periods of that time.

"It was not bad genes but bad luck for the Neanderthals," Dr. Stringer said. "Modern humans may have had no direct effect on Neanderthal extinction. They actually walked into empty spaces where Neanderthals had already disappeared."

Dr. Ian Tattersall of the American Museum of Natural History was not entirely joking when he suggested that few genes were exchanged because "no self-respecting Neanderthal female would fancy a Homo sapiens male."

In making a case for the distinct differences between the two species, Dr. Tattersall showed slides of upright skeletons of the two. But skeletons are unrevealing of Paleolithic desire.
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A

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History of modern man unravels as German scholar is exposed as fraud

Flamboyant anthropologist falsified dating of key discoveries

Luke Harding in Berlin
Saturday February 19, 2005
The Guardian

It appeared to be one of archaeology's most sensational finds. The skull fragment discovered in a peat bog near Hamburg was more than 36,000 years old - and was the vital missing link between modern humans and Neanderthals.

This, at least, is what Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten - a distinguished, cigar-smoking German anthropologist - told his scientific colleagues, to global acclaim, after being invited to date the extremely rare skull.

However, the professor's 30-year-old academic career has now ended in disgrace after the revelation that he systematically falsified the dates on this and numerous other "stone age" relics.
Source: The Guardian

This is a pretty weird story, even by the standards of fossil fraud.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Its a fascinating article - although it has some factual errors - Hahnofersand, for example, was never considered to be a Neadnerthal but I wasn't aware of the breadth of his deceit - he did his radiocarbon work in its early days so they are usually always up for discussion and the redating had just seemed to be part of the process.

The really bad thing is that the early dates have meant the remains have received intensive study for what they are and they have been included in wider discussions of modern humans in Europe.

----------------------
An earlier report:

Neanderthal Man 'never walked in northern Europe'

By Tony Paterson in Berlin
(Filed: 22/08/2004)

Historians of the Stone Age fear that they will have to rip up their theories about Neanderthal Man after doubt has been cast on the carbon dating of skeletons by a leading German anthropologist.

Dating

Work by the flamboyant Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten showed that Neanderthal Man existed in northern Europe. Calculations on skeletal remains found at Hahnofersand, near Hamburg, stated they were 36,000 years old.

Yet recent research at Oxford University's carbon-dating laboratory has suggested that they date back a mere 7,500 years. By that time, Homo sapiens was already well-established and the Neanderthals were extinct.

Chris Stringer, a Stone Age specialist and head of human origins at London's Natural History Museum, said: "What was considered a major piece of evidence showing that the Neanderthals once lived in northern Europe has fallen by the wayside. We are having to rewrite prehistory."

But Prof von Zieten, 65, the descendant of a famous 18th-century Prussian general, rejected the evidence from Oxford University last week.

"The new data from Oxford is all wrong," he told Germany's Der Spiegel. He said that the university's scientists had failed to remove shellac preservative from the specimens. As a result, the remains appeared to be much younger.

"Unfortunately, archaeologists and most anthropologists do not study physics or chemistry and therefore they cannot make judgments on carbon dating," he said. "Wrong measurements are made in all laboratories."

Prof von Zieten, who has a penchant for large Havana cigars and Porsche cars, has been considered an expert in carbon-dating techniques since the 1970s. He has tested hundreds of prehistoric bone finds from Europe and Africa over the past 30 years.

Now, however, important remains that Oxford scientists no longer believe are prehistoric include the female "Bischof-Speyer" skeleton, found near the south-west German town of Speyer with unusually good teeth. Their evidence suggests that she is 3,300 years old, not 21,300.

Another apparent misdating involved an allegedly prehistoric skull discovered near Paderborn in 1976 and considered the oldest human remain ever found in the region. Prof von Zieten dated the skull at 27,400 years old. The latest research, however, indicates that it belonged to an elderly man who died around 1750.

Germany's Herne anthropological museum, which owns the Paderborn skull, was so disturbed by the findings that it did its own tests. "We had the skull cut open and it still smelt," the museum's director, Barbara Ruschoff-Thale, said last week. "We are naturally very disappointed."

Concern about Prof von Zieten's carbon-dating estimates arose last year following a routine investigation of German prehistoric remains by the German and British anthropologists Thomas Terberger and Martin Street.

"We had decided to subject many of these finds to modern techniques to check their authenticity so we sent them to Oxford for testing," Mr Street told The Sunday Telegraph. "It was a routine examination and in no way an attempt to discredit Prof von Zieten."

In their report, though, both anthropologists described this as a "dating disaster".

The scandal engulfing Prof von Zieten goes further. Police are investigating allegations that he tried to sell 280 chimpanzee skulls from his university to buyers in America for $70,000 (£38,000).

Prof von Zieten denies the claims, saying that he legitimately obtained the skulls from a Heidelberg ethnologist in 1975. Frankfurt university last month suspended the professor from his post in the anthropology department while it runs its own inquiry.
Source

----------------------
References:

Berger, R. & Protsch, R. (1989) UCLA radiocarbon dates XI. Radiocarbon. 31 (1). 55 - 67.

Bräuer, G. (1980a) Die morphologischen Affinitäten des jungpleitozänen Stirnbeines aus dem Elbmündungsgebiet bei Hahnöfersand. Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Anthropologie. 71. 1 - 42.

Bräuer, G. (1980b) Nouvelles analyses comparatives du frontal pleistocène supérier de Hahnöfersand, Allemagne du Nord. L’Anthropologie. 84. 71 - 80.

Bräuer, G. (1981) New evidence on the transitional period between Neanderthal and modern man. Journal of Human Evolution. 10. 467 - 74.

Bischoff, J.L., Merriam, R., Childers, W.M. & Protsch, R. (1976) Antiquity of man in America indicated by radiometric dates on the Yuha burial site. Nature. 261. 128 - 9.

Henke, W. & Protsch, R. (1978) Die Paderborner Calvaria: Ein diluvialer Homo sapiens. Anthropologischer Anzeiger. 36. 85 - 108.

Protsch, R.R. (1975) The absolute dating of Upper Pleistocene Sub-Saharan fossil hominids and their place in human evolution. Journal of Human Evolution. 4 (4). 297 - 322.

Protsch, R.R. (1983) New finds of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens sapiens at Velica Pecina in Yugoslavia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology (abstract). 60 (2). 241.

Protsch, R.R. (1984) The relationship of earliest Homo sapiens sapiens and late Homo sapiens neanderthalensis in central Europe: New early Upper Pleistocene fossil hominid finds from Bruhl, FRG and their morphological and chronological position. American Journal of Physical Anthropology (abstract). 63 (2). 205 - 6.

Protsch, R.R. & Glowatzki, G. (1974) Das absolute Alter des paläolithischen Skeletts aus der Mittleren Klause bei Neuessing, Kreis Kelheim in Bayern. Anthropological Anzeiger. 34. 140 - 4.

Protsch, R.R. & Semmel, A. (1978) Zur chronologie des Kelsterbach-Hominiden. Eiszeitalter und Gegenwart. 28. 200 - 10.

Saban, R. (1982) Les emprientes du réscau vasculaire duremérien du frontal de l’homme d’Hahnöfersand, d’après le moulage endocrânien. Bulletin et Mémoires de la Societe d’Anthropologie de Paris. 13 (9). 309 - 20.

Smith, F.H. (1982) Upper Pleistocene hominid evolution in south-central Europe: A review of the evidence and analysis of trends. Current Anthropology. 23 (6). 667 - 703.

Smith, F.H. (1984) Fossil hominids from the Upper Pleistocene of central Europe and the origin of modern humans. In Smith, F.H. & Spencer, F. (eds) The Origins of Modern Humans: A World Survey of the Fossil Evidence. Alan R. Liss, New York. 137 - 209.

Terberger, T. & Street, M. (2001) Neue Forschungen zum "jungpaläolithischen" Menschenschädel von Binshof bei Speyer, Rheinland-Pfalz. Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt. 31 (1). 33 - 7.

Terberger, T., Street, M. & Bräuer, G. (2001) Der menschliche Schädelrest aus der Elbe bei Hahnöfersand und seine Bedeutung für die Steinzeit Norddeutschlands. Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 31. 521 - 6.

Street, M. & Terberger, T. (2002) Absolute chronology of the German Upper Palaeolithic series. Archaeometry Datelist 31. Archaeometry. 44 (1). Supplement 1. 28 - 30.

Street, M. & Terberger, T. (2002) German Pleistocene human remains series. Archaeometry Datelist 31. Archaeometry. 44 (1). Supplement 1. 11 - 6.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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This could prove interesting stuff although it is probably early days though.

Fossil bones may give up secrets of cavemen

Mark Branagan

THE mysteries of whether birds are descended from dinosaurs and if cavemen were cannibals could be solved by techniques developed at York University to unlock the secrets of fossils.

. Scientists believe a whole range of questions about the human and dinosaur family trees could be answered by examining proteins remaining in preserved bones.

DNA is the best tool for examining our past – but DNA only survives in fossils less than around 100,000 years old.

But protein can be found in much earlier archaeology, and can help scientists build up a picture of what the DNA sequence might have been.

Researchers at York University have made it possible for an international team to extract and sequence protein from a 75,000-year-old Neanderthal fossil discovered in Shanidar Cave in Iraq.

They used the University's £500,000 protein mass spectrometer to investigate the remains: the oldest fossil protein ever sequenced.

It came from the "old man of Shanidar" – found at a human burial site excavated in the early 1960s by archaeologist Ralph Soleki. The bones were from a Neanderthal man, aged 45 to 50.

Biomolecular archaeologist Dr Matthew Collins played a leading role in the York research, which is now being continued in Germany.

Dr Collins said: "In trying to find out information about the human family tree, DNA is the most powerful tool we can use – but the problem with DNA is it is quite fragile and degrades."

Analysing the protein could reveal the DNA sequence because they both followed a similar pattern, he explained.

Dr Collins has been trying to perfect the technique since 1989, but research into human genes had now provided new technology, such as the scanner at York.

"We will be getting a lump of rock to give up its secrets. It is already known that caveman DNA is closer to ours than apes," he said.

"But we want to go back further. This protein might survive in dinosaur bones. It could establish if dinosaurs are related to birds or reptiles, and other big questions.

"We could find out what people ate, did they use diary cattle and milk cows, and what diseases were prevalent."

It could also help solve questions raised by blood stains on tools whether early men were hunter gatherers, or killed each other for food.

------------------
08 March 2005
Source
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Scientists Build 'Frankenstein' Neanderthal Skeleton

By Bjorn Carey
LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 10 March 2005
04:51 pm ET


Anthropologists have built a "Frankenstein" Neanderthal skeleton, the first and only full-body reconstruction of the species. The result, announced today, is a shape no one expected.

"It’s almost like making my own fossil discovery," said Gary Sawyer, one of the skeleton’s architects.


Tale of the Tape

How an average Neanderthal male (left) compare to a human male. Brain size is in cubic centimeters.


Code:
           Neanderthal                Human

Height        5-6                       5-9

Weight       142                      172

Brain          1,200-1,700         1,300-1,500

Sawyer, an anthropologist at the American Natural History Museum in New York, and his colleague Blaine Maley of Washington University, pieced together the skeleton using bones mostly from an individual known as La Ferrassie 1.

La Ferrassie 1 was missing its rib cage, pelvis, and a few other parts, so Sawyer and Maley had to scrounge around to find some parts.

"The missing parts had to come from another classic Neanderthal that was similar, if not identical, in size to the La Ferrassie man," Sawyer told LiveScience in a phone interview.

The spare parts came from Kebara 2, a 60,000-year-old skeleton discovered in Israel in 1983. Kebara 2 was previously known as the specimen with the best rib cage, pelvis, and vertebral preservation.

The La Ferrassie man was discovered in France in 1909 and is about 70,000 years old.

'Dwarfy-like beings'

Sawyer said the replacement bones are remarkably similar in size to La Ferrassie man – most were off by only a few millimeters.

Still, as the scientists pieced together the bones, something didn’t look quite right. A rotund, bell-shaped torso, produced by a flared lower ribcage, and a pelvic region that looked slightly wide and feminine, began to form in front of their eyes.

"The biggest surprise by all means is that they have a rib cage radically different than a modern human’s rib cage," said Sawyer. "As we stood back, we noticed one interesting thing was that these are kind of a short, squat people. These guys had no waist at all – they were compact, dwarfy-like beings."

Other bits and replacement pieces, mostly the ends of bones, were collected from half a dozen other Neanderthals. The remaining gaps were filled in with reconstructed human bones.

The finished product is "like Frankenstein," Sawyer said.

Even though the reconstructed fossil is made up of both Neanderthal and human bones, Sawyer doesn’t believe that modern humans could have evolved from Neanderthals based on the pelvic and torso discrepancies between the two species.

Evolutionary side road

"There is no way that modern humans, I believe, could have evolved from a species like Neanderthal," Sawyer said. "They’re certainly a cousin – they’re human – but they’re one of those strange little offshoots."

The reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton is currently on display at the Dolan DNA Learning Center in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. It will eventually go on permanent display at the American Museum of Natural History.

This research will be published in the March 11 issue of the Anatomical Record Part B: The New Anatomist.

Neanderthals were a relative of homo sapiens that co-inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia with hum from about 120,000 to 29,000 years ago. They were well adapted to the cold and were very muscular -- good traits for hunting large animals.

"They had very strong hands," Sawyer said. "If you shook hands with one, he would turn your hand to pulp."
Source
 
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