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

rossba1

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its great stuff. This is the same technique that was used recently to sequence the mammoth mitochondrion by the same group. Ive been lucky enough to meet (briefly) Svaante Paabo, and he is a very, very smart guy. He practically invented the study of ancient DNA and has been at the forefront of every major step in the field. Cant wait till its published.
 
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The Singing Neanderthal

I've really no idea what Forum to post this in. Culture? News? Earth Mysteries? Where? (Well, I'm pretty sure it doesn't belong the UFO forum...).

Cave raves may link music and speech

READING, England (Reuters) -- It was a dark and stormy night, and in a cave in what is now southern France, Neanderthals were singing, dancing and tapping on stalagmites with their fingernails to pass the time.

Did this Ice-Age rave-up happen, perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, on a cold night in the Pleistocene Epoch? Or is it purely a figment of the imagination of Steven Mithen, professor of early prehistory at the University of Reading in England?

Impossible to know, Mithen, 45, readily admits, but in his book, "The Singing Neanderthals", he has built a strong case that our hominid ancestors had a musical culture, and a rudimentary form of communication that went with it, that has left traces deeply embedded in modern mankind.

Why else, for example, would music have universal appeal and such a strong pull on the human psyche? Why, when we hear music, do we feel the need to tap our feet, or dance?

Why do we think some passages of music paint pictures, or instruments have "conversations" with each other? Why indeed.

In the book, published last year in Britain and this year in the United States, Mithen attempts to re-create -- against all odds -- a "soundscape" of pre-history and plug what he thinks is a huge gap in human knowledge -- the link between language and music.

"Obviously, I'm trying to address a sort of impossible topic. I mean, how stupid for an archaeologist to write about music because you can't hear anything in the past," Mithen, who is also involved in more conventional projects like digs in Scotland, said in an interview at his university office.

"So I'm trying to draw on as many sources of evidence as possible and some are more tenuous and more controversial than others, but you put them together and you make an argument about how music and language evolved."

He rose to the challenge, he writes in his preface, because "the propensity to make music is the most mysterious, wonderful and neglected feature of mankind".

Mithen is not the first to tackle the musical nature of prehistoric man, and music's links to language, but he's one of the most industrious. He spent two years thinking about the book, nine months writing it and his end notes run to 80-plus pages.

To make his case, he draws on everything from scans of the human brain, studies of music and language ability in people who have suffered brain damage, skeletal remains of prehistoric hominids -- and his own imagination.

He argues that Neanderthals, as well as some other, early hominids, developed a form of communication he refers to by the acronym "HMMMMM" -- standing for "holistic, manipulative, multi-modal, musical and mimetic".

In brief, it means prehistoric man or woman used phrases, a modern example of which is the almost universal expression of distaste "yuck", to communicate simple suggestions or commands, such as "let's go hunt" or "food to share". The "multi-modal" part refers to the use of body language, which Mithen says hominids were much more attuned to than we are today.

This wasn't language as we know it, in which words are assembled to convey meaning, but was more like a phrase of music. The individual notes mean nothing, but the sound as a whole can touch us to the quick. Or, in the case of Neanderthals, sing everyone to come to supper.

It's a bit of a leap to ask modern readers to accept that our ancestors uttered "holistic" phrases, all traces of which have long since vanished into the ether.

However, Mithen says we still resort to something like this, most notably when mothers talk to babies. It is the cooing and reassuring sounds she makes that count, not the language, since infants at first don't know Chinese from Hungarian from English.

He also remarks on the prosody, rhythm and pitch of modern language, and points out that hominids have shared ancestors millions of years ago, with each other and with apes and other primates, whose grunts and pants also have musical qualities.

A little wistfully, he notes that Neanderthals, despite having a brain even larger than homo sapiens -- the rumbler from the jungles of Africa who would eventually supplant them -- and vocal tracts and larynxes suited to singing or talking, did not make the leap to modern language and became extinct.

Perhaps Neanderthals were content to sing and dance in their caves, ignoring innovation and turning out the same hand axe for 200,000 years. They may never have known what hit them.

Mithen believes it is important that we, modern-day homo sapiens who have perfected the use of word-based language to communicate, do not ignore our music-loving "inner Neanderthal".

"In the vast majority of cultures, kids are growing up just doing music as a musical thing, yet in our culture we're excluding the majority of children from participating because music's become an elitist activity," said the author, who was assigned to woodworking after he auditioned for the choir.

"I don't think we're enabling kids to fulfil their potential...because they've evolved, and we were born, to be musical."

source
..Which raises rather a lot of questions. Were music and language originally one and the same thing? If so, why did they become separated? And just why does music have such an emotional impact on us?
 
A

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Well, some classical theories of music demonstrate how change in rhythm and tempo can affect/mimic emotions (or vice versa, one can 'increase notes per bar' but reduce temp...all v.interesting). While the article is interesting, and I have no doubt (no evidence either) that Neands had language and music, I don't see how 'their' lang and music affect homo sapien lang and music (as the two species aren't related) - although some cross cultural contamination may have occured.

As to Gray's question. I will ask around. I suspect that cultural transmission of communication techniques preceded 'music' although one wonders if 'drum' sounds (warnings) may count. Drum (and, ho ho, bass) sounds are simplistic. I suppose we end up with a similar problem as with art, to whit: what is art? Thus, what is music? Not sure that rhythm is...however, rhythm and chants? Ahhhhhh....
 

kiev85

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GadaffiDuck said:
While the article is interesting, and I have no doubt (no evidence either) that Neands had language and music
what about the presence of the hyoid bone (think thats how its spelt) allowing speech

and also the enlargement of the brocca's region of the brain...

these two pieces of evidence more than suggest some form of speech, although i did read that contrary to popular belief, due to the size of Neander's throat/positioning of these in the squat neck, he/she would have had a high pitched voice note...

and i always thought it was low pitched grunting, ah well
 
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I said that I had no doubt. While I think by looking at Neand culture and paintings etc (plus evidence of tools and fire) that to propose they had no language is simply a vile prejudice. My knowledge of pysch tells me that one can't be definite about Broca's or (perhaps more importantly) wernicke's area of the brain via skulls. While 'analogies' of these areas exist in most 'complex' creatures, the presupposition of speech etc can be shown 'not to exist;. However, Let us look at neads once more 1) larger brains 2) similar culture and tool tech 3) ART.

As I said, I do not doubt, but have no proof, that neands spoke/communicated and sang. to my mind,it seems unreasonable and an application of prejudiced logic to propose that they did not. Opinions are never balanced nor equal; however, to propose that only 'sapiens' have the qualities mentioned is clearly prejudice and not good reasoning. Eyethangewe...................
 

kiev85

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sorry bout that...

emphasis was ment to be on the lack of evidence...

these two things together i believe are excellent fodder for the argument "for" neander speech...

apologies..
 
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I remember reading an article that demonstrated the reason why apes/chimps were pound for pound stronger than humans, and why down to muscle density and ligament positioning that neands would be upto 3 times stronger than us.

Actually, having just re-read the above, I have a strange feeling that this wasn't a 'proper' science article, but something from Nexus (apologies - it must 've been a from quite a few moons gone past).
 

WhistlingJack

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Study Says Some Neanderthals May Have Been Redheads

Stan Gooch has been saying this for years, hasn't he?

Study says some Neanderthals may have been redheads

Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:27pm BST

By Michael Kahn


LONDON (Reuters) - Some Neanderthals may have had fair skin and red hair, giving them an appearance resembling modern Europeans, an international team of researchers said on Thursday.

The researchers homed in on the MC1R gene linked to hair and skin colour and used DNA analysis to find a variation that produced the same kind of pigmentation changes as in humans with red hair and pale skin.

The study, published in the journal Science, comes a week after another set of researchers looking at a different gene said Neanderthals may have been capable of sophisticated speech.

"The papers make Neanderthals more like modern Europeans, with light skin and hair colour and language abilities, and yet there are no signs of interbreeding with modern humans," Carles Lalueza-Fox, a molecular biologist at the University of Barcelona, said in a commentary in Science.

Taken together, the two studies are the first to extract nuclear DNA from Neanderthal remains and represent a new way to learn more about the extinct early humans, the researchers said. Nuclear DNA is the DNA in the nucleus of the cell that makes up nearly all the genetic information people carry.

Neanderthals were a dead-end offshoot of the human line who inhabited Europe and parts of west and central Asia. Research indicates they were expert tool-makers, used animal skins to keep warm and cared for each other.

Most researchers believe Neanderthals survived in Europe until the arrival of fully modern humans about 30,000 years ago although controversial findings last year suggested they might have survived until as recently as 24,000 years ago.

The team produced a DNA sequence from the fragmented Neanderthal MC1R gene to make a modified copy they could study in a test tube, the researchers said.

This allowed the team to determine that the gene produced the same level of the chemical melanin as in people with red hair and light skin. The variation itself was different than in modern humans but the result was the same.

Light skin would have been an evolutionary advantage for Neanderthals by allowing them to soak up more vitamin D from the sun in cloudy Europe, the researchers said.

The findings also provide important clues about Neanderthal and human evolution, and represent the first of many such experiments likely to use the same DNA technique to learn far more than could be gleaned from fossils alone, researchers said.

"We have always had a bottleneck on the number of fossils we can work on," Michael Hofreiter, an evolutionary biologist at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, said in a telephone interview. "There will be more studies looking at specific genes that are interesting."

© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved.
Scradje
 

Kondoru

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I dont think this is very remarkable

We have known they were people adapted to the cold; so fair hair and skin would be likley

what percentage of europeans are fair, anyway?

Are the Basques fair? (seeing as they have been in europe a very long time, I think many saami are fair skinned, though their hair varies a lot)
 

illuminati37411

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Neanderthals had red hair just like Stan Gooch said

This interesting story has hit online, but no mention anywhere of the fact that noted Fortean writer Stan Gooch said Neanderthals had red hair years ago!

Neanderthals 'were flame-haired'
By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, Murcia, Spain



Neanderthal genetics is revealing surprises
Some Neanderthals were probably redheads, a DNA study has shown.

A team reports in the journal Science that it extracted DNA from the remains of two Neanderthals and retrieved part of an important gene called MC1R.

In modern people, a change - or mutation - in this gene causes red hair, but, until now, no one knew what hair colour our extinct relatives had.

By analysing a version of the gene in Neanderthals, the scientists found that they also have sported fiery locks.

"We found a variant of MC1R in Neanderthals which is not present in modern humans, but which causes an effect on the hair similar to that seen in modern redheads," said lead author Carles Lalueza-Fox, assistant professor in genetics at the University of Barcelona, Spain.

Though once thought to have been our ancestors, the Neanderthals are now considered by many to be an evolutionary dead end.

They appear in the fossil record about 400,000 years ago and, at their peak, these squat, physically powerful hunters dominated a wide range spanning Britain and Iberia in the west, Israel in the south and Siberia in the east.

Our own species, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa, and displaced the Neanderthals ( Homo neanderthalensis) after entering Europe about 40,000 years ago. The last known evidence of Neanderthals comes from Gibraltar and is dated to between 28,000 and 24,000 years ago.

Selective pressure

Until relatively recently, scientists could turn only to fossils in order to learn what Neanderthals were like. But recent pioneering work has allowed scientists to study DNA from their bones.

In Neanderthals, there was probably the whole range of hair colour we see today in modern European populations, from dark to blond right through to red

Dr Carles Lalueza-Fox

Genetics could shed light on aspects of Neanderthal biology that are not preserved in fossils. These include external appearance - such as hair, skin and eye colour - cell chemistry and perhaps even cognitive ability.

This will help scientists address key questions, such as why we and not they inherited the Earth.

Genes for skin colour and hair colour are obvious early targets for scientists engaged in these efforts.

In modern people from equatorial areas, dark skin and hair is needed to guard against skin cancer caused by strong UV radiation from the Sun.

By contrast, pale skin - along with red or blond hair - appears to be the product of lower levels of sunlight present in areas further from the equator such as Europe.

"Once you go out of Africa, the selective pressure from UV radiation disappears. So any mutation that falls into the MC1R gene is allowed to survive and spread through a population," said Dr Lalueza-Fox, speaking at the Climate and Humans conference in Murcia, Spain.

But people with fair skin are able to generate more vitamin D, which may have given them an evolutionary advantage in northern regions.

Altered chemistry

The latest research suggests that similar adaptations were evolved independently by Neanderthals and modern Europeans in response to similar environmental circumstances.


DNA was taken from Neanderthal bones found in northern Spain
All humans carry the MC1R gene, but modern redheads possess an altered, or mutated, version of it.

This rare variant does not work as effectively as more common forms of the gene. This loss of function alters the chemistry of the cell, producing red hair and pale skin.

In the latest study, the authors retrieved fragments of the MC1R sequence from Neanderthal bones found at Monte Lessini in Italy and from remains unearthed at El Sidron cave in northern Spain. DNA is notoriously difficult to obtain from very old specimens such as these.

"This was a bit like finding a needle in a genomic haystack. I couldn't believe we found it the first time. I asked my friends to repeat the results. Eventually the variant was found in two separate Neanderthals in three different labs," said Dr Lalueza-Fox.

Unique variant

The researchers found that Neanderthals carried a unique variant of the gene not present in modern humans.


Until now, information on hair colour has been sparse

In order to test what effect it had on hair and skin colour, the researchers inserted the Neanderthal variant into a human cell called a melanocyte.

Melanocytes produce the dark pigment called melanin which gives skin, hair and eyes their colour.

The researchers saw the same loss of function in the Neanderthal form of MC1R as they did in modern variants of the gene which produce red hair.

"In Neanderthals, there was probably the whole range of hair colour we see today in modern European populations, from dark to blond right through to red," Dr Lalueza-Fox told the BBC News website.

To Dr Lalueza-Fox, the observation that the Neanderthal version of the gene is not found in modern humans suggests they did not interbreed with each other, as some scientists have proposed.

Primitive speech

Dr Clive Finlayson, director of the Gibraltar Museum, commented: "It's extremely interesting - it makes us understand a bit more about who the Neanderthals were.

"It suggests there may be a propensity towards the reduction of melanin in populations away from the tropics. If the Neanderthal and modern variants are different, it may be a good example of parallel, or convergent evolution - a similar evolutionary response to the same situation."

"Neanderthal genetics is going to give us a lot more information. This is the tip of the iceberg."

In a separate study, published in the journal Current Biology, Dr Lalueza-Fox and colleagues extracted the DNA sequence for a gene called FoxP2 from Neanderthals.

Modern people have several changes in this gene that are absent in our relatives the chimpanzees. This suggests that FoxP2 may have been an important gene in the evolution of language, something which separates us from the great apes.

The researchers found that Neanderthals shared these key mutations in FoxP2 with modern humans, suggesting they had some of the prerequisites for language and speech.

An ongoing project to sequence the entire Neanderthal genome was recently hit by claims by a group of researchers that samples could be contaminated with modern human DNA.

[email protected].
 

illuminati37411

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Neanderthals had red hair just like Stan Gooch said

Ah! I see someone moved my post here where it belonged -- and someone else already posted it with the exact same comment about Stan Gooch! Thanx!!

I've always liked reading Stan Gooch's stuff -- sometimes a bit out there, but seeing as he's right about the red hair, maybe he's right about some of the other stuff. Hmmm.
 

rynner2

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More Red Hair evidence

European Neanderthals had ginger hair and freckles
Neanderthals living in Europe were fair skinned, freckled and had ginger hair, a study has revealed.

By Edward Owen in Madrid
Last Updated: 6:51PM GMT 29 Dec 2008

In a major breakthrough, Spanish scientists have discovered the blood group and two other genes of the early humans who lived 43,000 ago.

After analysing the fossil bones found in a cave in north-west Spain, the experts concluded they had human blood group "O" and were genetically more likely to be fair skinned, perhaps even with freckles, have red or ginger hair and could talk.

The investigating team from Spain's government scientific institute, CSIC, used the very latest forensic techniques to remove the bones for analysis to prevent them getting contaminated with modern DNA.

Carles Lalueza, an evolutionary biologist with the investigation, said: "What we were trying to do was to create the most realistic image of the Neanderthals with details that are not visible in the fossils, but which form part of their identity."

The report, published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, concludes that: "These results suggest the genetic change responsible for the O blood group in humans predates the human and Neanderthal divergence" but came "after humans separated from their common ancestor ... chimpanzees."

The Spanish scientists also describe how they also discovered two other genes.

One gene known as MC1R suggests the Neanderthals had fair skin and even freckles like redheads.

Another, a variety of FOXP2, is related to speaking and the capacity to create a language and therefore suggests they could communicate orally.

Neanderthals are believed to have numbered about 15,000 and lived in Europe and Asia for about 200,000 years until they became extinct about 30,000 years ago.

Since 2000, archeo-paleontologists, wearing special sealed white suits, masks and helmets have been painstakingly sifting through 1,500 bone fragments found in the "Tunnel of Bones" in the Sidrón cave complex in Borines, Asturias, north-west Spain.

Unnatural striations in the bones suggest that the Neanderthals practised cannibalism and broke the bones to pick out succulent bone marrow.

But why this group died, without wild animals discovering and contaminating their remains, or why indeed the Neanderthals in general became extinct, still remains a mystery.

"Really we can't establish a direct relation with why the Neanderthals disappeared," says Antonio Rosas.

One theory is that they succumbed to an ice age or another, more sinister, is that they were wiped out by the arrival of our more direct human ancestors from Africa.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandte ... ckles.html
 
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rynner2 said:
More Red Hair evidence



One theory is that they succumbed to an ice age or another, more sinister, is that they were wiped out by the arrival of our more direct human ancestors from Africa.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandte ... ckles.html
Perhaps they were wiped out by our Homo Sapiens ancestors. My view is that they probably were (or out competed at the very least). It's really fascinating stuff though, imagine a modern situation with more than one species of human in the world! At least we wouldn't have any moron racists.
 
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Paul_Ledger said:
rynner2 said:
More Red Hair evidence



One theory is that they succumbed to an ice age or another, more sinister, is that they were wiped out by the arrival of our more direct human ancestors from Africa.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandte ... ckles.html
Perhaps they were wiped out by our Homo Sapiens ancestors. My view is that they probably were (or out competed at the very least). It's really fascinating stuff though, imagine a modern situation with more than one species of human in the world! At least we wouldn't have any moron racists.
We'd have moron speciesists instead.

Keep those hairy stinking protruding forehead monkeys out of our area!
 

many_angled_one

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Personally I think it's more likely that Homo Sapiens carried bacteria and viruses that we are relatively immune or at least have developed resistances to but which devasted the Neanderthals. Much like the Spaniards bringing smallpox, meases etc to the Incas when they arrived in the Americas, execpt this time working on a similar species scale. Offhand the most apt comparison I can think of is how Grey Squirrels in the UK carry disease which dosnt affect them but which infects and kills off red squirrels.
 

Bigfoot73

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socialized neanderthalsl

I have read an account (can't remember where of course ) of how occupants of the Bigouden district of Brittany are in fact neanderthals. Apparently the French government tries to suppress the phenomenon, insisting that they only visit certain doctors and hospitals and only one mortuary is allowed to deal with the deceased. The story is further hindered by the people themselves not thinking themselves to be neanderthals, but rather "star children" (a sadly common explanation for anthropological anomalies).
Apparently an issue of Nature magazine (in vol. 77,p517) reports on the excavation of a 13th century northern French knight whose remains were unmistakenly those of a neanderthal.Best of luck to anyone trying to track it down.
 

McAvennie

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Didn't Alan Titchmarsh do a programme a while back where he was all latexed up to look like a Neanderthal and then sent out on the streets. Nobody looked twice at him.

I can think of plenty of places where modern Neanderthals appear to be alive and well. The south west of Glasgow for starters :lol:
 

The late Pete Younger

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McAvennie_ said:
I can think of plenty of places where modern Neanderthals appear to be alive and well. The south west of Glasgow for starters :lol:
Isn't that rather insulting to Neanderthals? :)
 

Quake42

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I have read an account (can't remember where of course ) of how occupants of the Bigouden district of Brittany are in fact neanderthals. Apparently the French government tries to suppress the phenomenon, insisting that they only visit certain doctors and hospitals and only one mortuary is allowed to deal with the deceased.
I was intrigued by this so spent a bit of time Googling. The only English language reference to this was a single blog:

http://semicirclemystery.blogspot.com/2 ... jerry.html

However, there are other references to the effect that the people of the Bigouden are physically different to most other French people, with speculation that they may be descended from Eurasian migrants or, possibly, may represent a relict pre-Celtic population.

No luck on tracking down anything about the French knight.
 

McAvennie

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Ronson8 said:
McAvennie_ said:
I can think of plenty of places where modern Neanderthals appear to be alive and well. The south west of Glasgow for starters :lol:
Isn't that rather insulting to Neanderthals? :)
True! I think even club wielding cavemen would be wary of milling around Ibrox for longer than necessary :lol:
 

Bigfoot73

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Breton neanderthals

Re: Quake42's investigations. I checked out the Semicircle site and seem to remember reading something there about the Bigouden, but the story I remember isn't there.Interestingly the site still has posts about the Leguay brothers , who allegedly claim to have been alive for centuries. Unfortunately their story has featured in Nexus magazine, which as far as I'm concerned diminishes it's credibility somewhat.
I hasten to point out that Nexus definitely wasn't the source of the Bigouden story !
 

Quake42

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Well, any more information on the Bigouden story please do post. I'm really quite intrigued now.
 

rynner2

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Mythopoeika said:
Yeah, they do look silly.
They're not all so extreme.

I just recently finished a Maigret story, published in the 1930s and set in Brittany, and the white caps of the women are often mentioned.

When I knew Brittany, in the 70s, you could still see these lace creations, but usually as traditional dress for special celebrations rather than as everyday wear.
 
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