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Author Topic:   All in the Family - Guest star: Neanderthal
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 1662 days)
Posts: 2962
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 1 of 96 (276616)
01-07-2006 2:25 AM


On a recent thread, a bit of a side debate broke out about whether or not Neanderthals are a sub-species or a seperate species. Then a second debate broke out about which person in the original debate would start a new thread about the subject.

I decided to step in -

Neanderthals have been described a number of different ways since their discovery - ranging from brutish cavemen to someone you wouldn't look twice at on the street.

Neanderthals were amazingly successful during the Ice Age, and were very well adapted to their enviornment. It's currently believed that they decended from Homo Erectus populations which dispersed after the first out-of-Africa migration. (Making them something akin to brothers to Java-man and Peking-man, which also decended out of that migration.)

Meanwhile, the populations remaining in Africa produced us.

During the second out-of-Africa migration, we came into direct competetion with Neanderthals. In some places, both groups lived side by side for extended periods. But, more often than not, humans moved in and Neanderthals disappeared.

So, what happened to them? Did we wipe them out? Did we simply out compete them? Did we intermarry and breed them out?

Let's hear what people think and why they think it.


Replies to this message:
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AdminNWR
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Message 2 of 96 (276647)
01-07-2006 9:29 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
randman 
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Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 3 of 96 (276711)
01-07-2006 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Nuggin
01-07-2006 2:25 AM


you need to clarify, imo
Neanderthals have been described, not just as "all over the map", but in fact were described as some sort of missing link, very ape-like, from the beginning, and though we have known such descriptions were wrong since the early 50s, Neanderthals were depicted with exagerrated ape-like features and often shown a series of evolutionary links, and still are at times in educational materials. In other words, there is a progressive move to describe Neanderthals as more and more similar to people today, which to me represents a very gradual move to correct the misrepresentations among evolutionists about Neanderthals.

Most depictions, imo, were largely false and misrepresentative. Neanderthals were people, did art, buried their dead, etc,...Keep in mind some tribes of people just 150 years ago and less lived in a similar fashion with similar levels of technology.

Imo, if you remove the historical misrepresentation and view the evidence outside of the evolutionary paradigms, the best way to view Neanderthals is simple as an ancient tribe of people. Due to inbreeding, certain traits will be more dominant among ethnic groups and tribes, and during periods of longer isolation probably partly due to weather, it is not surprising that some groups developed more pronounced features.

The molecular argument, I believe, is made to argue that Neanderthals just died out and did not interbreed with the tribes of men that survived and were pur forefathers. Some other evidence, I understand, suggests that is not the case since there are examples, from what I have read, of a mix of traits. I think it is far more likely some Neanderthals did intermix with the Cro-Magnon tribe. Cro-Magnons were essentially identical to modern humans except generally taller is my understanding.

But regardless if Neanderthals died out or some mixed in to produce modern ethnic groups of humanity, I think it is unreasonable to think Neanderthals could not breed with people today, and are something less than just people.

This message has been edited by randman, 01-07-2006 03:44 PM


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Asgara
Member
Posts: 1779
From: Wisconsin, USA
Joined: 05-10-2003


Message 4 of 96 (276728)
01-07-2006 4:26 PM


Just for everyone's reference, I'm posting links that seemed useful the last time this discussion came up.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/neanderthals/skul_vrs.html

This first one shows side-by-side movable comparisons between neanderthal and early/modern man skulls.

http://www.ifi.unizh.ch/staff/zolli/CAP/comparingNeand.htm

This second link has a great morph between a homo and neanderthal skull


Asgara
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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 1662 days)
Posts: 2962
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 5 of 96 (276734)
01-07-2006 5:11 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by randman
01-07-2006 3:42 PM


Re: you need to clarify, imo
Neanderthals have been described, not just as "all over the map", but in fact were described as some sort of missing link, very ape-like, from the beginning

This is largely due to the fact that the first Neanderthal find (1850s) was of an arthritic adult, hunched over, etc. It's sort of the bell that's hard to unring.

Due to inbreeding, certain traits will be more dominant among ethnic groups and tribes, and during periods of longer isolation probably partly due to weather, it is not surprising that some groups developed more pronounced features.

While it's true that inbreeding can develope more pronounced traits, these traits are still present in the population as a whole. In other words, some tribes in Africa are very tall, but they have the same number of muscles, the same number of bones, etc.

Features like bone thickness might be able to be written off as population differences, but other features are not so easy.

Neanderthals has specific features which are not represented in modern populations. In the skull, increased prognatism, sagital crest, low forehead, protruding brow, occipital bun, no chin, etc.

But more telling is the shoulder muscle lay out. Neanderthals had an additional muscle in the shoulder, not present in modern man. An adult Neanderthal was significantly stronger than modern man.

And, my personal favorite (did a paper on this in college). Neanderthal's had 3 roots in their teeth as opposed to the 2 root teeth of modern man.

Could Neanderthals have mated with Cro-Mag populations and produced viable offspring? Maybe. But, any genetic material that the Neanderthals were contributing, is not longer surfacing in modern populations.

Worse, people who have argued for the presence of Neanderthal features in the past have used it to falsly justify racist policies.


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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1279 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 6 of 96 (276736)
01-07-2006 5:18 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Nuggin
01-07-2006 5:11 PM


Re: you need to clarify, imo
i have three roots in my teeth.

at least i did in the one that i got a root canal in :p


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 84 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 7 of 96 (276783)
01-07-2006 7:42 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by randman
01-07-2006 3:42 PM


not this again
Neanderthals have been described, not just as "all over the map", but in fact were described as some sort of missing link, very ape-like, from the beginning, and though we have known such descriptions were wrong since the early 50s, Neanderthals were depicted with exagerrated ape-like features and often shown a series of evolutionary links, and still are at times in educational materials.

randman, here is the tree from the hall of human ancestors:

notice that overlap at the bottom, and that we are fairly closely related? this is the current mainstream academic understanding. do you have evidence for your claim that they are currently depicted as "ape-like" in educational material? that is, significantly more ape-like than us. there are some minor features of neanderthals that they do have in common with higher apes that we lack, but enough to readily describe them as "ape-like."

Imo, if you remove the historical misrepresentation and view the evidence outside of the evolutionary paradigms, the best way to view Neanderthals is simple as an ancient tribe of people. Due to inbreeding, certain traits will be more dominant among ethnic groups and tribes, and during periods of longer isolation probably partly due to weather, it is not surprising that some groups developed more pronounced features.

they differ from us in several marked ways. the proportions of the torso are completely different. they are much larger around the waist, skeletally, and generally more rotund. the angle of the back of the skull is different. neanderthals lack protruding chins, which all homo sapiens have.

they were a bit more than a different tribe. they were a different species. there is variation in neanderthal specimens, and variation in h. sapiens specimens, but neither range of variation approaches each other.

Cro-Magnons were essentially identical to modern humans except generally taller is my understanding.

shorter, iirc. still the same species, just on average shorter. due partially to diet, i'm sure.

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 01-07-2006 07:43 PM


אָרַח

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Belfry
Member (Idle past 2436 days)
Posts: 177
From: Ocala, FL
Joined: 11-05-2005


Message 8 of 96 (276802)
01-07-2006 8:36 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by randman
01-07-2006 3:42 PM


Re: you need to clarify, imo
randman writes:

Neanderthals have been described, not just as "all over the map", but in fact were described as some sort of missing link, very ape-like, from the beginning, and though we have known such descriptions were wrong since the early 50s, Neanderthals were depicted with exagerrated ape-like features and often shown a series of evolutionary links, and still are at times in educational materials.


Once again, both Homo sapiens and H. neanderthalis were/are apes. Therefore an ape-like depiction would be correct, even under your assertion that they are just a variety of H. sapiens. I'm not sure what you mean by, "...and often shown a series of evolutionary links." Perhaps you meant "as part of a series?" {Edit: In any case, I think it's more appropriate to discuss what science says about H. neanderthalis today rather than the discarded ideas of the past or the misrepresentations of the present that are not held by scientists in this field.}

randman writes:

Most depictions, imo, were largely false and misrepresentative. Neanderthals were people, did art, buried their dead, etc,...Keep in mind some tribes of people just 150 years ago and less lived in a similar fashion with similar levels of technology.

Imo, if you remove the historical misrepresentation and view the evidence outside of the evolutionary paradigms, the best way to view Neanderthals is simple as an ancient tribe of people. Due to inbreeding, certain traits will be more dominant among ethnic groups and tribes, and during periods of longer isolation probably partly due to weather, it is not surprising that some groups developed more pronounced features.

The molecular argument, I believe, is made to argue that Neanderthals just died out and did not interbreed with the tribes of men that survived and were pur forefathers. Some other evidence, I understand, suggests that is not the case since there are examples, from what I have read, of a mix of traits. I think it is far more likely some Neanderthals did intermix with the Cro-Magnon tribe. Cro-Magnons were essentially identical to modern humans except generally taller is my understanding.

But regardless if Neanderthals died out or some mixed in to produce modern ethnic groups of humanity, I think it is unreasonable to think Neanderthals could not breed with people today, and are something less than just people.


I note with approval that you are presenting most of these statements as opinions, in contrast to the bold statement from the other thread: "First off, I would argue Neanderthals are better thought of a tribe of homo sapiens and not a separate species." I would appreciate links or references with regard to the "mix of traits" you mention, if you have any available.

With regard to your sentence: I would absolutely regard H. neanderthalis as "people," but I am using this term as distinct from "humans." The evidence suggests that they were a different species of "people," but certainly possessed cultural elements of personhood. That is arguable on semantic grounds, but I'm comfortable with it.

This message has been edited by Belfry, 01-07-2006 08:43 PM


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Funkaloyd
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 96 (276824)
01-07-2006 9:27 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by randman
01-07-2006 3:42 PM


Re: you need to clarify, imo
Randman, you're using some rather ambiguous terms. Can you please clarify what you mean by "tribe" and "people"?

Are all people Homo sapians; are all Homo sapians people?


Ape or person?

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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2250 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 10 of 96 (276945)
01-07-2006 11:44 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by arachnophilia
01-07-2006 7:42 PM


Re: not this again
Cro-magnons were taller, I believe, not shorter, and we've been over some of this ground before as far as Neanderthals sometimes still being depicted as excessively ape-like. There are several past threads dealing with that.

All of the differences altogether in Neanderthals are still rather slight, imo. There is a tendency in scientists today to classify some organisms as different species even if they can mate and reproduce sexually. So rather than argue semantics, I would just say, imo, Neanderthals were just a race of people, had people habits and beleifs like burying their dead, art, etc,....and that there is no reason to think Neaderthal people if alive today could not mate with and live among us as just people. They died out, but the racial mix-up of people tends to change as tribes are either more or less isolated.


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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2250 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 11 of 96 (276947)
01-07-2006 11:46 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Funkaloyd
01-07-2006 9:27 PM


Re: you need to clarify, imo
The problem, imo, is evo scientists have made the term "species" to at times not be very useful. But as people, I think we all understand the term people, and so I am using it for clarity. Neanderthals were a race or tribe of people that either died out, or intermingled with other tribes and lost their distinctiveness.
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SuperNintendo Chalmers
Member (Idle past 3185 days)
Posts: 772
From: Bartlett, IL, USA
Joined: 12-27-2005


Message 12 of 96 (276954)
01-07-2006 11:52 PM


DNA
DNA evidence seems to suggest that Neanderthals died out before ever contributing to our gene pool. Note that of course this is still being debated.

Neanderthals and mtDNA Finding out about our most recent common ancestor relies solely on inferences from the mtDNA of people living today. What if we could actually compare our mtDNA with mtDNA of a distant ancestor? This, in fact, has been done, with mtDNA from the bones of Neanderthals. Comparing mtDNA of these Neanderthals to mtDNA of living people from various continents, researchers have found that the Neanderthals' mtDNA is not more closely related to that of people from any one continent over another. This was an unwelcome finding for anthropologists who believe that there was some interbreeding between Neanderthals and early modern humans living in Europe (which might have helped to explain why modern Europeans possess some Neanderthal-like features); these particular anthropologists instead would have expected the Neanderthals' mtDNA to be more similar to that of modern Europeans than to that of other peoples. Moreover, the researchers determined that the common ancestor to Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens lived as long as 500,000 years ago, well before the most recent common mtDNA ancestor of modern humans. This suggests (though it does not prove) that Neanderthals went extinct without contributing to the gene pool of any modern humans.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/neanderthals/mtdna.html


  
macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1279 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 13 of 96 (276972)
01-08-2006 12:08 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by arachnophilia
01-07-2006 7:42 PM


Re: not this again
neanderthals lack protruding chins, which all homo sapiens have.

not all. namely a particular pharoh (don't remember which one) who i recall being described as 'a nerd' and ...

:p


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 84 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 14 of 96 (277036)
01-08-2006 1:22 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by randman
01-07-2006 11:44 PM


Re: not this again
we've been over some of this ground before as far as Neanderthals sometimes still being depicted as excessively ape-like. There are several past threads dealing with that

...in which you never actually gave an example.

All of the differences altogether in Neanderthals are still rather slight, imo. There is a tendency in scientists today to classify some organisms as different species even if they can mate and reproduce sexually.

like lions and tigers? horses and zebras and donkeys? wolves and dogs?

the differences are not "slight" in the respect that you seem to think. there are skeletal features of all neanderthals that no homo sapiens possesses, and vice versa.

So rather than argue semantics, I would just say, imo, Neanderthals were just a race of people, had people habits and beleifs like burying their dead, art, etc,....and that there is no reason to think Neaderthal people if alive today could not mate with and live among us as just people. They died out, but the racial mix-up of people tends to change as tribes are either more or less isolated.

but they're not just a "race." they are a species. whether or not they are very similar, and whether or not they can (or did) interbreed with us. they are exactly as human as we are, just a different fork of the tree.

and this is more than isolation of a tribe. it is isolation of a tribe to the extent of speciation. edit: oh and,

Cro-magnons were taller, I believe, not shorter

quote:
Early investigators were impressed by the stature of Cro-Magnon man, as some reconstructions suggest that the Old Man of Cro-Magnon may have been as much as 190 centimetres (six feet three inches) tall. A restudy, however, suggests that the stature of the original Cro-Magnon remains varied from 166 to 171 centimetres (five feet five inches to five feet seven inches). The stature of several skeletons from the Grimaldi Caves (in Italy, near the French frontier), which show clear affinities to those of Cro-Magnon, was noticeably greater, with an average height of 177 centimetres. It is thus reasonable to conclude that, on the whole, the Cro-Magnon peoples were relatively tall.

http://www.clanrossi.com/Cromagnon.htm


relatively tall when compared to earlier hominids. 5'5 to 5'7 is well within the paramaters of normal modern humans, just a little on the short side. 6'3 is not unheard of either. i happen to be 6'3. sounds like there's not really much difference here.

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 01-08-2006 01:27 AM


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 84 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 15 of 96 (277040)
01-08-2006 1:31 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by macaroniandcheese
01-08-2006 12:08 AM


Re: not this again
akhenaten (amenhotep iv)? or am i missing a joke because it's late AND YOU DON'T EVER USE ANY PROPER NOUNS?!?!

:P


אָרַח

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