Some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals and is found exclusively in people outside Africa, according to an international team of researchers led by Damian Labuda of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. The research was published in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution.
“This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred,” says Dr. Labuda. His team places the timing of such intimate contacts and/or family ties early on, probably at the crossroads of the Middle East.
July 19, 2011
March 8, 2011
Although I’d bet he’d get along better in modern American than I would in ice age Europe: Are you smarter than a Neanderthal toolmaker?
Could a Neanderthal use a hammer? Maybe. But could he build one himself without imitating humans? The question of whether our close hominid cousins had the ability to innovate new kinds of tools, and not just imitate, is coming up in scientific circles as archaeologists re-evaluate old archaeological sites.
Two recent studies examined the possibility that Neanderthals created a new toolkit in Europe about 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. For the past few decades, most archeologists assumed that Neanderthal stone tools were simple and roughly shaped. But that assumption may be undermined by the discovery at some Neanderthal sites of thinner, more blade-like stones, some with jagged toothed edges, and others that had one sharp edge and a dull, curved back. They were similar to tools favored by humans during the same time period, leading some experts to assume that Neanderthals were heavily influenced by human culture.
One potential problem I see is in assigning the tools to particular species.
February 5, 2011
IF YOU think you’re no good at running, bear this in mind: you could still outrun a Neanderthal. In fact, their inferior running ability may have been why they went extinct and our ancestors did not. Appropriately enough, it all came down to their Achilles tendon.
There have long been claims that Neanderthals were weaker runners than modern humansMovie Camera, says David Raichlen of the University of Arizona in Tucson, but until now, there was no convincing evidence.
In runners, the tendon acts as an energy store, stretching like a spring as the foot lands then bouncing back to help lift it again. Raichlen reasoned that the more energy is stored within the tendon, the more efficient the runner.
You know, I kind of like this hypothesis, not necessarily for the running angle but from the habitat and subsistence strategy perspective. One might argue that H.s.s. still had a hand in making them go extinct if their presence did not allow for Neanders to utilize their more undesired territories outside of refugia when their preferred habitat became scarce.
December 6, 2010
Until recently, Neanderthals were thought of as dim, savage or even half-witted. That was until archaeologists chanced upon a rare find of rings, ivory pendants and pierced animal teeth, associated with Neanderthal teeth in a French cave.
The obvious conclusion was that the now extinct Neanderthals were just as advanced as humans, raising the question of why they ended up dying out.
But scientists have now discovered that the teeth and ornaments are likely to date from completely different times, because dates from bones in the same layers vary in age by as much as 28,000 years. This suggests the Neanderthals might not have been as advanced as scientists thought after all.
Well, too bad they didn’t have Scientists doing the geoarchaeology at the site in the first place! But I’ve also wondered why one doesn’t find more decorative items at Neanderthal sites if they were capable of such things.
November 4, 2010
Scientists examining fossils have discovered that Neanderthals were exposed to more testosterone during development which is likely to make them more unreconstructed in their behaviour.
That means they were more likely to start fights over mates and hierarchy in the group and more likely top have multiple partners.
The team from Liverpool, Oxford, Southampton and Calgary Universities, studied the fossilised finger bones of extinct apes, Neanderthals and hominins – extinct members of the human family – to learn more about their hormonal activity.
I’m guessing a lot of you guys are checking your hands right about now. . . . .
But the last (ish) quote says a lot.
UPDATE: Also here.
October 15, 2010
October 5, 2010
EARLY humans like Neanderthals had a deep seated sense of compassion that belied their primitive reputation, new research from UK archaeologists suggests.
A team from the University of York, northern England, found that between around 500,000 and 40,000 years ago, early humans in Europe, such as Homo heidelbergensis and Neanderthals, developed commitments to the welfare of others.
The injured or infirm were routinely cared for over this period, according to archaeological findings.
I vaguely recall something similar. I wonder if this kind of behavior has been observed in other animals?
September 25, 2010
Catastrophic volcanic eruptions in Europe may have culled Neanderthals to the point where they couldn’t bounce back, according to a controversial new theory.
Modern humans, though, squeaked by, thanks to fallback populations in Africa and Asia, researchers say.
About 40,000 years ago in what we now call Italy and the Caucasus Mountains, which straddle Europe and Asia, several volcanoes erupted in quick succession, according to a new study to be published in the October issue of the journal Current Anthropology.
At least it isn’t a meteorite this time. . . . . .
July 6, 2010
Remains of an early Neanderthal with a super strong arm suggest that Neanderthal fellows were heavily pumped up on male hormones, possessing a hormonal status unlike anything that exists in humans today, according to a recent paper.
Neanderthal males probably evolved their ultra macho ways due to lifestyle, genes, climate and diet factors, suggests the study, published in the journal Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia.
Project leader Maria Mednikova told Discovery News that Neanderthal males hunted in the “extreme,” helping to beef up one
But of course, we already knew that:
Looks like they were gay, too:
June 24, 2010
The separation of Neardenthal and Homo sapiens might have occurred at least one million years ago, more than 500.000 years earlier than previously believed after DNA-based analyses. A doctoral thesis conducted at the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana) -associated with the University of Granada-, analysed the teeth of almost all species of hominids that have existed during the past 4 million years. Quantitative methods were employed and they managed to identify Neanderthal features in ancient European populations.