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Author Topic:   All in the Family - Guest star: Neanderthal
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
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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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
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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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 17 of 96 (277053)
01-08-2006 2:02 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by randman
01-07-2006 11:44 PM


Re: not this again
and that there is no reason to think Neaderthal people if alive today could not mate with and live among us as just people.

This is interesting. Obviously we all know that no one has any hard evidence that Neanderthals could mate with cro-mag and produce viable offspring. It would require some sort of time machine to verify, or a very very isolated modern group which still had a distinctly Neanderthal feature. So, it's just speculation.

What I find interesting though, is that you are basically say, "Despite the fact that there is no evidence, we should assume the affirmative argument." Yet, when dealing with others, it seems no amount of evidence is enough to assume the affirmative.

I think you should meditate on that a bit.

Personally, I'd love it if it turned out that Neanderthals bred with people in the past. I see the end of Neanderthals (a HUGELY successful group living in harsh conditions) as a red flag for modern man. Our hold upon the Earth is tenuous at best - we should not forget it.


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 19 of 96 (277105)
01-08-2006 9:49 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by arachnophilia
01-08-2006 4:34 AM


Hybrid
There was a childs skeleton found that had some features of both. The bones were thick like Neanderthals, but the skull was very cro-mag.

The thing is - this child could have been a mule. We have no way of determining if it was sterile or not. So unless there were a population of hybrids, we'd need a time machine to verify it.

That's one of the reasons I don't like the "if they can't breed" specific definition. For example - do we know for sure that T-Rex couldn't breed with (insert other dinosaur here)?


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 28 of 96 (277214)
01-08-2006 4:06 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by randman
01-08-2006 3:20 PM


Species differentiation
There is not enough differences in Neanderthals to claim them as a different species

The problem for this arguement is that there are literally hundreds of examples of animals which are physically very similiar, more similiar than Neanderthal and Cro-Mag which can not reproduce.

I'm sure there are examples of animals who can reproduce who look significantly different as well. (Wholphins, etc)

So how do we differentiate appropriately?

If we say that Neanderthal and Cro-Mag (and Flores for that matter) are all the same species, then clearly the range of morphology we consider viable would include Homo Erectus.

Extending that, the range around Homo Erectus would easily include include Homo Habilis. The range around Homo Habilis would include Africanus. Etc. Etc.

It sounds like, by arguing that Neanderthals are just a form of people, you are infact endorsing gradual speciation.

Look at the representations of Neanderthals. The older are the more brutish

Yeah, same with representations of Africans. Despite the advances we've made in the last hundred years, the world as a whole as a major legacy of racism/elitism. Is this the cause of all the white Jesus's or the effect of them? Hard to say.


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 30 of 96 (277268)
01-08-2006 6:33 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by randman
01-08-2006 5:37 PM


Re: not this again
one of the common creationist complaints since the 50s is that evos misrepresent Neanderthals.

Another of them is that meteorologists aren't recognizing 40 day Floods. So, forgive us if we take what the Creationists say with a pillar of salt.


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 36 of 96 (277900)
01-10-2006 8:43 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by randman
01-08-2006 3:20 PM


Now that you're back...
Let's get back to the thread that I find most interesting :)

There is not enough differences in Neanderthals to claim them as a different species, imo

Okay. I accept that. After all, the line which differentiates one species from another is arbitrary. We have tests to help us draw the line right, but not all of those tests are useful in all situations.

So, Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens, same species. And previously you were suggesting that Flores (Hobbits) were also the same species, just at a different extreme.

Also, some suggestions of giant hybrids from the David & Goliath thread, but I won't hold you to that if you don't want to include them.

This brings me to a question I asked before, but which you might have missed -

If Neanderthals, Cro-Mag and Flores all fit within the acceptable differentiation within a species, couldn't we also include Homo Erectus in that same group?

Homo Erectus is less different from Cro-Mag or Neanderthal, than Neanderthal is from Flores, etc. Why not just make that one big group?


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 43 of 96 (277938)
01-10-2006 11:08 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Cold Foreign Object
01-10-2006 10:25 PM


Evolutionists - not Cartographers.
Darwinists would also like us to forget the fact that the Neander valley was named after Yachim Neander - a Creationist who wrote some of the greatest hymns in the history of the Church.

Um, actually, I'm pretty sure none of us could give a damn if you remember that or not.

Why do evos do this ?

Actually, they don't. Book publishers do. Your side of the debate frequently mistakes the actions of book publishers as some sort of scientific baseline.

Textbook publishers are only tangientially interested in passing on information (accuracy really isn't much of a factor). If they can sell a textbook that contains no fact, they will do so. If they can sell one that contains nothing but facts, they will do so. It's the selling that matters, not the content.


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 57 of 96 (278085)
01-11-2006 10:44 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by randman
01-11-2006 2:27 AM


"People" still not a useful term.
I am not an expert on Homo Erectus and am aware that perhaps there are various forms referred to here, but in general, I have no problem thinking of him as a man, as people

Are using "people" to mean that Neanderthals, Homo Sapiens and Homo Erectus are, for lack of a better word, the same species?

Obviously the whole "Can they mate successfully?" test is useless in this context - so "species" here is a little suspect, like "people".

I don't really have a problem with lumping all these together as a single group whose traits may be different at different ends of the envelope.

Is that what you are saying?

Or, like someone else posted, are you using "people" to mean any of a number of different primates which have shown culture and tool use (chimps, gorillas, bonobos, orangs included)?


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 58 of 96 (278086)
01-11-2006 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by randman
01-11-2006 2:36 AM


Text Book Example
My bad. Rand was responding to me. It was a predictable departure from topic that I initiated. We should start a thread about who makes textbooks and who should be held accountable.
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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 59 of 96 (278092)
01-11-2006 10:55 AM
Reply to: Message 55 by randman
01-11-2006 2:51 AM


It's not the Neanderthals I'm worried about...
This is from "Early Man" (1965)


Click to enlarge

Pictures are Neanderthal left, Cro-Mag center, Modern man right.

I don't think that this is a particularly damning image of Neanderthal. I would have drawn him more with more robust muscles and a broader chest. Also, I think his head is a little too far forward on his neck. But hardly a brutish thug.

My real problem with the picture is Cro-Mag. Where'd he get that spear? Why's he carrying it? No one else brought a spear. And no one else is looking at the side. I think Cro-Mag may have actually killed the artist after this was drawn.

Also, why keep a spear when you are buck naked?!


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 65 of 96 (278163)
01-11-2006 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by randman
01-11-2006 11:49 AM


Re: It's not the Neanderthals I'm worried about...
we were taught Cro-magnon averaged 6' tall

I agree with that statement, but I don't think the picture shows anything different. There's no scale put up, so assuming Cro-Mag there is 6 ft, then the modern man is what? 6'2". I have at least 4 friends who meet or beat that criteria and none of them play basketball.

A better question to ask is why everyone in the picture seems to be white?

Neaderthal seems misrepresented as well.

How so? I pointed out two features that I "think" aren't accurate -
1) Should be more muscled
2) I think the neck is located an inch or two too far back in the skull.

Are you seeing other things or just those two? Because, even though I pointed them out, it's a much better picture than I could ever hope to draw.


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 66 of 96 (278164)
01-11-2006 1:31 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by randman
01-11-2006 11:49 AM


Re: link
Good link, Rand. Interesting find.

The science is only as good as the most recent evidence.

It's entirely possible that there was hybridization and that Neanderthal genes were simply swamped by the comparitive inrush of purely Homo Sapien genes.

Or, it could be that there was hybridization and all members of the hybrid group and their decendants died out before modern day, leaving no DNA record in the current gene pool.


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 67 of 96 (278168)
01-11-2006 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by randman
01-11-2006 12:00 PM


Back to my earlier question
it does reflect my view of Neanderthals not as a separate species

Let's run with that. Obviously Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens had different features, and started up in different areas.

It seems apparent that Homo Erectus was the seeder of both populations.

Would we then assume that Homo Erectus, Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens shouldn't be considered different species, but rather different extremes within a larger group?


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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 687 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 73 of 96 (278186)
01-11-2006 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by randman
01-11-2006 1:39 PM


Re: It's not the Neanderthals I'm worried about...
re: Average heights

I agree that the overall average height of people is under 6', mostly due to low protein content in Asian food and their disproportionately high numbers.

Still, this image of a man is clearly not Asian. I'd suggest N. European - so the height is right on mark.

However, if you want to talk about whether or not this picture should show a N European as opposed to a sub-saharan African, I'm right there with ya.

re: The Beard and the Spear
I agree, not much reason to put it in there. I can only assume it's there because, frankly, there isn't any physical difference to depict, so how does the artist convey that these two are different groups other than mangy hair and primative tools. Seems out of place to me.


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