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A Good Neanderthal Was Hard to Find
NY Times:Week in Review ^ | February 26, 2006 | JOHN NOBLE WILFORD

Posted on 02/26/2006 3:25:01 AM PST by Pharmboy

Maybe they just didn't have time to get to know each other.

The question of what Neanderthals and Homo sapiens might have done on cold nights in their caves, if they happened to get together and the fire burned down to embers, has intrigued scientists since the 19th century, when the existence of Neanderthals was discovered.

A correction in the way prehistoric time is measured using radiocarbon dating, described last week in the journal Nature, doesn't answer the enduring question, but it might at least help explain why no DNA evidence of interbreeding has been found: the two species spent less time together than was previously believed.

The old radiocarbon calculation is now known to be off by as much as several thousand years, the new research shows. That means that modern Homo sapiens barged into Europe 46,000 years ago, 3,000 years earlier than once estimated. But the radiocarbon dating under the new calculation also shows that their takeover of the continent was more rapid, their coexistence with the native Neanderthals much briefer.

snip...

Was that advantage cognitive, technological or demographic? Their personal ornaments and cave art, now seen to have emerged much earlier, are strong evidence for an emergence of complex symbolic behavior among the modern newcomers, a marked advance in their intelligence.

That doesn't mean they didn't interbreed with the Neanderthals.

snip...

"Since these two species may have been able to interbreed, as many closely related mammal species can," Dr. Harvati said, "a restricted coexistence interval may be easier to reconcile with the observed lack of Neanderthal genetic contribution to the modern human gene pool and with the paucity of convincing fossil evidence for hybridization."

The caves, it would seem, still hold their secrets.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: crevolist; europe; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; humanevolution; neandertal; neandertals; neanderthal; neanderthals
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The dean of NY Times science writers comes out of his cave on this issue.
1 posted on 02/26/2006 3:25:03 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: blam; Coyoteman; AntiGuv; Torie

Ping...


2 posted on 02/26/2006 3:25:48 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy
The question of what Neanderthals and Homo sapiens might have done on cold nights in their caves, if they happened to get together and the fire burned down to embers, has intrigued scientists since the 19th century, when the existence of Neanderthals was discovered.
My theory is that they listened to Dick Clark.
3 posted on 02/26/2006 3:26:46 AM PST by Renderofveils (Qur’an 8:39 “So, fight them until all opposition ends and the only religion is Islam.”)
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To: Pharmboy

They need to look at Hillary and see if maybe some inbreding took place there. If there are any Neanderthals out there reading this, sorry about the first sentence of this.


4 posted on 02/26/2006 3:30:25 AM PST by Modok
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To: Modok

This is bunk. Just look at a Geico commercial!


5 posted on 02/26/2006 3:33:20 AM PST by Terpfen (72-25: The Democrats mounted a failibuster!)
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To: Terpfen

Hey, that's right! They wouldn't put it on TV if wasn't true would they?


6 posted on 02/26/2006 3:34:53 AM PST by Modok
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To: Pharmboy
My reading of history indicates that whenever two groups of people occupy the same land they invariably do two things, fight and f***. It would seem to me to be very unlikely that CroMagnons and Neanderthals were any different in that regard and 3000 years would be plenty of time for it. Just think of it in modern terms. 3000 years would put us back to the time of the pharoahs. Think of all the Viking, Mongol and Moorish genes that got spread around widely in much shorter time periods.

If there are no Neanderthals in our gene pool then it's because they couldn't interbreed, not because they didn't try.

7 posted on 02/26/2006 3:45:32 AM PST by elmer fudd
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To: Pharmboy
A Good Neanderthal Was Hard to Find

No, it's not. Here's one:


8 posted on 02/26/2006 3:53:30 AM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: CarrotAndStick


That's some dental work they have there.

What are they complaining about?


9 posted on 02/26/2006 4:00:09 AM PST by Fido969
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To: elmer fudd
Neanderthal relevant analysis: Modern Humans Did Not Admix with Neanderthals during Their Range Expansion into Europe.

Here's the abstract:

The process by which the Neanderthals were replaced by modern humans between 42,000 and 30,000 before present is still intriguing. Although no Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineage is found to date among several thousands of Europeans and in seven early modern Europeans, interbreeding rates as high as 25% could not be excluded between the two subspecies. In this study, we introduce a realistic model of the range expansion of early modern humans into Europe, and of their competition and potential admixture with local Neanderthals. Under this scenario, which explicitly models the dynamics of Neanderthals' replacement, we estimate that maximum interbreeding rates between the two populations should have been smaller than 0.1%. We indeed show that the absence of Neanderthal mtDNA sequences in Europe is compatible with at most 120 admixture events between the two populations despite a likely cohabitation time of more than 12,000 y. This extremely low number strongly suggests an almost complete sterility between Neanderthal females and modern human males, implying that the two populations were probably distinct biological species. [bold print added]

The full analysis is at the link.

10 posted on 02/26/2006 4:01:02 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: Pharmboy
The whole debate about Neanderthals is specious and changes more than bad socks.

At first, the theory was Neanderthals never existed with Homo Sapiens, they were very short, with a small brain, and a complete skeleton was never found or assembled. Anthropologists claimed to have 500 specimens of Neanderthal remains, but later admitted most of those were of children.

When they finally did assemble a skeleton using "fill in" parts, it looked nothing like their earlier theories! Neanderthal was taller than homo sapiens, and with a larger brain!

Umm...OK.

And the theory changes, and changes, and changes.

Perhaps (just perhaps) there isn't any such thing as a separate race in this category at all.

But then, a lot of people will have to admit they were flat out wrong.

I guess it is easier to just keep "updating" the theory.

11 posted on 02/26/2006 4:01:33 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: Pharmboy

"SHEEZA...BRICK...HOUSE!..."


12 posted on 02/26/2006 4:02:52 AM PST by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: SkyPilot
Perhaps (just perhaps) there isn't any such thing as a separate race in this category at all.

Perhaps, just perhaps, you have an explanation for why no Neanderthal mtDNA has been found in over 6000 modern European sequences or in over a dozen early European human fossils?

13 posted on 02/26/2006 4:03:38 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: Pharmboy

14 posted on 02/26/2006 4:07:33 AM PST by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.)
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To: AntiGuv
So you are going to explain to me first how you have absolutely proven what Neanderthal DNA looks like, how it was collected, how you arrived at the notion that this DNA sample is what you say it is, and where you obtained this DNA to compare it to, correct?

Therefore, extracting DNA from any hominins older than Neanderthals and Homo sapiens is currently impossible.

That's OK. We'll just "fill in the gaps" right?

That alone puts the entire argument on sandy soil.

And then we can announce to everyone our vaunted "findings" and if someone questions them, here comes the attack.

15 posted on 02/26/2006 4:29:11 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: SkyPilot

Thank you for making clear that you do not. I expected that you had an explanation for the absence of Neanderthal mtDNA in modern human DNA sequences only slightly more so than I expected you would feel appropriately inane for your posts. I have confidence, however, that others will more than compensate by feeling your inanity for you. Have a g'day!


16 posted on 02/26/2006 4:32:15 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: SkyPilot

And I must say, I am honestly laughing out loud that you posted a link that drills my point home.


17 posted on 02/26/2006 4:37:57 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: AntiGuv
You don't have to run away. Answer the questions I posted.

But, I suppose throwing hand grenades behind a steel door and then running for the hills speaks, calling other posts "inane", and then trying to insult me further speaks volumes to your balsa wood framed argument.

Also, the DNA that is extracted is fragmentary and damaged. Another concern is contamination of the ancient DNA with modern DNA.

18 posted on 02/26/2006 4:39:58 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: SkyPilot

Your own link answered the questions you posted. Next time try reading past the headline, and try comprehending what the headline says in the first place.

Let me tell you a little story SkyPilot. Many years ago, when I was a junior in college, I signed up for a couple graduate level International Affairs courses. I have always had a bit of a contrarian streak, and one day I got it in my head that I was gonna argue that 15th century China did not have a considerably more substantial agricultural base than 15th century Europe (i.e., before the dissemination of New World crops).

Anyhow, as I whipped out my graphic representation of my argument, the professor swiftly asserted, and I definitely paraphrase because I don't remember the precise words after all these years: Nonsense! Shut the hell up and sit your @$$ down!

Of course he didn't put it quite that way, but that's about what it amounted to.

Anyhow, I was quite angry, and all bitter at how close-minded and inconsiderate he was. Then, within a few weeks I realized a couple things: (1) He was absolutely right, my argument was pure and utter nonsense, and (2) I had totally misinterpreted my graphic tables.

In due time I realized a couple more things: (a) That it is imperative that I check and double check and triple check my comprehension of evidence when I am to make a controversial argument; and (b) that one need not give someone the slightest respect or credibility merely because they can string ten words into a sentence, not even someone who strings words together so well as I do.

And I concluded that my professor was absolutely right to shut me down. Why should he bother with my inane nonsense? Why should it be inflicted on anyone else?

And that professor eventually ended up writing the recommendation that got me my first job out of college.

The moral of this story is that I can't tell you "Nonsense! Shut the hell up and sit your @$$ down!" like my professor did all those years ago, but I most certainly can decline to give you any respect or credibility for the mere fact that you can string 10 words into a sentence.

And if you manage someday to recognize your own inanity, then so much the better for you. And if you do not, oh well, at least I won't be bothered with it any further.

And on that note, seriously, have a nice day!


19 posted on 02/26/2006 4:50:34 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: elmer fudd
I agree with you...even if the Neanderthal women weren't, er, umm, fetching, men have been known to shtup barnyard animals.
20 posted on 02/26/2006 4:52:50 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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