Skip to comments.A Good Neanderthal Was Hard to Find
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.
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.
"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 ...
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.
This is bunk. Just look at a Geico commercial!
Hey, that's right! They wouldn't put it on TV if wasn't true would they?
If there are no Neanderthals in our gene pool then it's because they couldn't interbreed, not because they didn't try.
No, it's not. Here's one:
That's some dental work they have there.
What are they complaining about?
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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!
And I must say, I am honestly laughing out loud that you posted a link that drills my point home.
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.
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!
Hmmm...if they had advanced weaponry as pictured and they looked like that, they would have had to carry many clips to keep those Cro magnons away.
He probably came to America for that smile. Some ortho made a pretty penny.
Again, you presented the DNA argument as and end all pillar of truth, but it cannot even stand rudimentary questions.
You didn't anwer one of them.
What Neanderthal DNA looks like? How it was collected? How did you arrived at the notion that this DNA sample is what you say it is? Where have you obtained this DNA?
I've seen that picture about 40 or 50 times on here and just now realized that the gun has a laser sight on it and that she is wearing a necklace and wristwatch but it takes a lot of intense concentration to be able to see them.
The key, dear SkyPilot, is to continue reading past that right-up-front sentence to the point where the questions are answered.
"It's so simple,even a caveman could do it"and the cameraman,who just happens to be a caveman,gets offended.Ha ha.Good stab at political correctness if there ever was one.
Color me confused. IIRC, when I was in school Neanderthals were considered a sub-species, not a separate species, which meant interbreeding was possible and likely. Even if a time split between the two groups made interbreeding unlikely (which one of my old profs argued would have made the Nees a separate species), what physiological difference/s could there have been in the Nees that would have made a union between members of the two groups sterile? I thought the Nees were considered a sub-species?
How would you know? Your questions make clear you've never read one.
PS. Also the fact that Neanderthal & Cro-Magnon were contemporaries added to the reasons why they were thought sub-species, and to be sure, still are in a sense. Or, to be more precise, their status is currently indecisive between a sub-species or a fully distinct species. However, one thing that is now much, much clearer that it was just a decade ago is that Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon behavior was far more different than had been thought the case. The Neanderthal had inferior tools, inferior weapons, inferior artistry, etc.
"The fact that neanderthals disappear in Europe, about the same time as modern Homo sapiens appear, could be used as evidence to support the replacement hypothesis. However, not all the evidence, however, supports the Replacement Hypothesis in Europe. In 1998 at the Lagar Velho site in Portugal, the remains of a child, aged 3-1/2 to 5 years was found that apparently shows a "mixing" of Neanderthal and Modern human traits. The skull of this specimen has a pronounced chin, which is a hallmark of modern homo, however, post-cranially, the boy's bones were quite robust, and he was barrel chested and had short lower limbs, all of which are cold adaptations which characterized Neanderthal. "From here.
If we did not, in fact, interbreed with them, it might have been a chromosomal incompatability (the evidence is the last common ancestor we shared with them lived between 500,000 and 850,000 years ago) or an anatomic issue.
I can read just fine; I simply cannot always make sense of incomprehensible gibberish. However, although whatever it is you're trying to say now is incoherent, I will add that the prevailing view for a good while has been that Neanderthals were fully replaced - not assimilated - by early modern humans. Now, perhaps you read something about Neanderthals back in the 1950s or whatever that you think is relevant, but the fact of the matter is that the items you think should be blazing across every news daily, TV show, and iPod worldwide have been scientific CW for years now.
It is human nature to jump into theories well before the dust of evidences settles, and that nature goes back to when the first blade of grass popped forth.
It's worth noting that the Lagar Velho fossil and what it signifies has been the subject of acrimonious scientific debate.
Does it really matter if the Neanderthals interbred with us or not?
We are what we are.
We've inherited genes from the earliest life-forms. We've got little bacteria in our cells that hitched a ride 1 billion years ago. We share 96% of our DNA with the chimpazees and more with the bonobos.
I'm sure Neanderthals were very closely related to us but they are gone now and it makes no difference at all whether a few interbred with us or not.
What is more interesting is how did they survive in Ice Age Europe through two different 100,000 year Ice Ages. It couldn't have been much fun.
As is much in paleoanthropology...
No, not really. It's intriguing to think about though. As I said in another thread just yesterday, it's perfectly OK by me if people want to fantasize hot sweaty cavesex between Neanderthals & Cro-Magnons, I just think it flies in the face of what evidence we have (at least as any remotely widespread phenomenon). Now, maybe the evidence will change to indicate differently, but until that happens one might only offer contrarian conjecture while the evidence points elsewhere.
What is more interesting is how did they survive in Ice Age Europe through two different 100,000 year Ice Ages. It couldn't have been much fun.
I agree that's a very intriguing question!
Many traits that distinguish Neanderthals are present in modern humans also. So, I wonder how the claim that no interbreeding occurred can be made.
It is my understanding both species lived in close proximity simulataneously for 11,000 years in caves discovered in Israel.
Well, fwiw, in my personal opinion this bit is actually on the right track, which is somewhat astounding!
As for the rest ... meh... whatever.
The DNA evidence does NOT support interbreeding. While it is not definitive, it is pretty strong.
I believe that based on carbon dating, those may have to be revised.
I suppose, then, that the natives at the source of the Nile were a subspecies (or a separate one altogether) of those that lived at the mouth of the Nile 3000 years ago?
Do you believe it possible that tools/artifacts/art/food/customs/etc. are subjected to modern ethnocentric prejudices?
Evolutionary Changes in Modern Human Behavior: Current fossil evidence shows that only early modern humans were present in the Levant between 130,000-80,000 BP, and re-appear again after the Middle-Upper Paleolithic Transition, around 47,000-40,000 BP. Only Neanderthal fossils appear in the intervening period, 75,000-47,000 BP. Bar-Yosef (1988) has suggested that the rapid onset of glacial conditions around 75,000 BP caused Neanderthal populations to migrate south from montane western Asia into the Levant corridor.Far from displaying a transitional population, the early modern human fossils from the Levant seen to possess Neanderthal affinities (Skhul and Qafzeh) date to before the first occurrence of Neanderthal fossils in this region while human fossils from adjacent parts of Northeast Africa, such as Tamrasa Hill I, that are contemporaneous with Levantine Neanderthals preserve no trace of Neanderthal morphology (Vermeersch et al. 1998). Then, around 45,000-35,000 BP, Neanderthal fossils cease to occur in the Levant at exactly the point when Upper Paleolithic industries first appear in Israeli and Lebanese cave sites (Bar-Yosef 1996). By 30,000 BP, Neanderthals continued to practice Middle Paleolithic adaptations in a few isolated refuges, such as southern Spain and western Asia. Shortly thereafter, Neanderthals became extinct, replaced by Upper Paleolithic modern humans. [bold print added]
The heck, can't you read? That link clearly states that the evidence shows there has been no mixing of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA into the human population. Yes, they say they are difficulties, but they clearly feel these have been surmounted.
What does Neanderthal DNA look like: Like human DNA or chimp DNA, but with significant differences.
How was it collected: Extracted from Neanderthal bones and amplified by PCR (hint--perhaps if you don't know what PCR is you are not qualified to make a judgement on the validity of this study).
How do we know the sample obtained is Neanderthal DNA: Because it came from Neanderthal bones and shares many similarities with human and chimp DNA.
Where was the DNA obtained: A variety of European sites.
The mitochondrial DNA argument can indeed stand rudimentary (perhaps "elementary" is a better descriptor) questions. Just because you don't understand it does not mean it is wrong.
If you really want all of your methodological questions answered in depth, I suggest you look up the original article and any supporting information provided for it.