Neanderthal-Modern Human comparison
New research conducted by Australian National University and the University of Sidney is providing a new window into the transition between Neanderthals to H. sapiens. Excavating in a cave in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic researchers have developed a timeline of evidence from 10 sediment layers spanning 28-50 kya. This is the period when it is generally believed that modern human ancestors first arrived in Europe.
20,000 animal bones have been recovered at the site along with stone tools, weapons, and an engraved bone bead believed to be the oldest of its kind every found in Central Europe. Dr. Duncan Wright (ANU) believes this project is highly important because it is providing some evidence for modern human activity in the area. During this time modern human ancestors were moving into the area and, I think, interbreeding with Neanderthals at least to some extent. Continue Reading
Irhoud Skull 1 notice the large brow ridge
In 1961 the bones & skeleton were determined to be Neanderthal hunters. Neanderthals are not Homo sapiens, however. “the oldest Homo sapiens ever found in Africa or elsewhere.” Seriously? But Neanderthals are not H. sapiens! Of course after the OOA was debunked last month with the discovery of a Neanderthal ancestor in Spain I suppose they had to come up with something (anything) to place the OOA back on it throne? So I take it that now we class Neanderthals as H. sapiens? And what about that little 3% Neanderthal DNA in modern humans? Sticky little point, no? Oh yes and something had to be done to dethrone the recent find near San Diego in the Americas too 🙂
“It’s the face of people you cross in the street today…” really? You mean back in 1961 they couldn’t tell the difference between a Neanderthal face and a H. sapien face?
“….the 300,000-year-old braincases—the part of the skull that houses the brain—are elongated in shape and accommodate a larger cerebellum…” Homo erectus had an elongated skull but I notice this is not mentioned at all and some had brains as big or slightly bigger than ours!
So are we now to date modern humans at 300 kyr rather than 200 kyr? Are we to now include Neanderthals as H. sapiens? I’m willing to bet they found some sort of Neanderthal-Erectus hybrid but they aren’t about to admit that for God’s sake!!! Continue Reading
The “Neo” specimen skull (Homo naledi)
Rising Star Cave is the site in South Africa excavated by Dr Lee Berger and his team. It was here that they found a new species of ancient human called Homo naledi. Now another chamber in the cave has been unearthed and yielded even more fossil bone evidence and this newest discovery has yielded a skull “wonderfully complete.”
It is believed H. naledi shared the landscape with early modern humans and probably other hominin species as well between 226-335 thousand years ago. Dr John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the research leaders and he says this newest discovery adds more evidence that the cave system was being used by H. naledi to cache their dead. The new chamber has been named the Lesedi Chamber. So far 130 bone pieces have been found in the new chamber. One skeleton is said to be remarkably complete and is being named “Neo.” Continue Reading
Neanderthal-Modern Human comparison
Climate change? Competition for resources? Lack of intelligence? All of these ideas have been floated around as to the cause of the “extinction” of the Neanderthals somewhere around 30 kya but, frankly, none of them hold water in my opinion as I do not think the Neanderthals went extinct at all. As I’ve said before on this blog I think the Neanderthals were basically “assimilated” by modern humans. That is, they interbred with modern humans which resulted in Neanderthal-H. sapien hybrids. So, the Neanderthals never went “extinct” as WE ARE THE NEANDERTHALS!…..or at least what is left of them. And we know this from the 3-4% Neanderthal DNA that exists within our genes today.
Past research has shown that all sub-Saharan Africans have about 3-4% Neanderthal DNA in them and the reason for this low amount is NOT because interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals was low. Rather, the reason for this low amount of Neanderthal DNA in us is due to common diluting of that DNA over the eons of time. For example, you may have had a great, great, great, etc…grandfather who was Mongolian. But today you don’t look Mongolian at all and your DNA test may show only 1% Mongolian DNA in your genes while showing 75% or more German or Asian DNA. The reason for this is over time your ancestors interbred with other people so over time and due to such interbreeding the Mongolian DNA has basically been bred out of you. This is the same with your Neanderthal DNA and I, therefore, am pretty sure that the further each of us could go in our past, if possible, we’d find that our remote ancestors did indeed have much more than 3-4% Neanderthal DNA in their genes. Continue Reading
Note: The below research results were actually released last year in March 2016 but I have not written about the results until today 🙂
Likely the most ardent supporter o the OOA Theory (Out of Africa) Professor Chris Stringer of the London Museum of Natural History appears to have thrown in the towel. This happened at the 5th Annual Meeting of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution. Basically, what he’s now admitting is what many of us have known for a long while now and that is that the OOA is BADLY in need of revision.
This comes on the heels of a recent discovery of an Neanderthal ancestor that existed 300-400 kya (thousand years ago) in Spain. What this means is that the theorized divisions that took place between modern humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans, the Red Deer Cave People et al had to have taken place 400-500 kya and NOT 200 kya! What this means is that the ancestors of modern humans were already walking a path of their own apart from other archaic human species 100-400 kya!!
This throws the entire OOA theory into question (again). This discovery of a Neanderthal ancestor in Spain pushes back the origins of H. sapiens (modern humans). It also means as Stringer stated, that “…not only is the dating of the genesis of Homo sapiens is out by hundreds of thousands of years, but so too is the location this occurred is no longer secure.” In other words, not only is our dating of modern humans out of whack BUT so is the idea that everything began in Africa and migrated outward to conquer the world via “replacement.”
I’m sure this will cause great debate now over where and when various ancient human species arose. Finally! A breath of fresh air in the old dusty halls of academia!! Good God I was starting to suffocate, frankly!! Continue Reading
In 2013 a study on Neanderthal skulls revealed that their eyesight may have been better than modern humans do to the large eye sockets and larger areas of the Neanderthal brain devoted to vision. Researchers estimate that the Neanderthals had an brain size of around 1600 cm which is larger than the average modern human at around 1350 cm. Now comes a new study out today regarding possible cognitive abilities in Neanderthals.
Legend of the image: left: notched raven bone from Zaskalnaya VI Neanderthal site, Crimea. center: experimental notching of a bird bone; right: sequences of experimentally made notches compared to those from Zaskalnaya VI.
Credit: Francesco d’Errico; CCAL
The cognitive abilities have been and still are hotly debated in paleoanthropology circles and, frankly, we aren’t real sure why Neanderthals had bigger brains that we do today. In the past the Neanderthals have been painted as the quintessential caveman carrying a club and not to bright in the head but this social myth is changing slowly as we come to realize from the available evidence that this picture of Neanderthals is NOT accurate at all. Continue Reading
Artistic reconstruction of Neanderthal-Modern Human Hybrid
It is pretty much a well known fact now that non-African people outside of Africa have anywhere from 1% to 3% or more Neanderthal DNA in them. It’s also known that between 35-45 kya as modern humans were spreading through Europe the Neanderthals began to disappear. What is less known is the some researchers believe that 40 kya some modern human genomes may have had much more Neanderthal DNA perhaps to the tune of at least twice as much.
I myself contend that some people have much more Neanderthal DNA in them and that their ancestors had even more Neanderthal DNA in their genes and that is why today we can see some people who have clearly Neanderthal features. Continue Reading