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Could our big brains come from Neanderthals?
Reuters via Yahoo ^ | Tue Nov 7, 2006 | Anon

Posted on 11/07/2006 7:27:55 PM PST by Pharmboy

Neanderthals may have given the modern humans who replaced them a priceless gift -- a gene that helped them develop superior brains, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

And the only way they could have provided that gift would have been by interbreeding, the team at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Chicago said.

Their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides indirect evidence that modern Homo sapiens and so-called Neanderthals interbred at some point when they lived side by side in Europe.

"Finding evidence of mixing is not all that surprising. But our study demonstrates the possibility that interbreeding contributed advantageous variants into the human gene pool that subsequently spread," said Bruce Lahn, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher at the University of Chicago who led the study.

Scientists have been debating whether Neanderthals, who died out about 35,000 years ago, ever bred with modern Homo sapiens. Neanderthals are considered more primitive, with robust bones but a smaller intellects than modern humans.

Lahn's team found a brain gene that appears to have entered the human lineage about 1.1 million years ago, and that has a modern form, or allele, that appeared about 37,000 years ago -- right before Neanderthals became extinct.

"The gene microcephalin (MCPH1) regulates brain size during development and has experienced positive selection in the lineage leading to Homo sapiens," the researchers wrote.

Positive selection means the gene conferred some sort of advantage, so that people who had it were more likely to have descendants than people who did not. Lahn's team estimated that 70 percent of all living humans have this type D variant of the gene.

"By no means do these findings constitute definitive proof that a Neanderthal was the source of the original copy of the D allele. However, our evidence shows that it is one of the best candidates," Lahn said.

The researchers reached their conclusions by doing a statistical analysis of the DNA sequence of microcephalin, which is known to play a role in regulating brain size in humans. Mutations in the human gene cause development of a much smaller brain, a condition called microcephaly.

By tracking smaller, more regular mutations, the researchers could look at DNA'S "genetic clock" and date the original genetic variant to 37,000 years ago.

They noted that this D allele is very common in Europe, where Neanderthals lived, and more rare in Africa, where they did not. Lahn said it is not yet clear what advantage the D allele gives the human brain.

"The D alleles may not even change brain size; they may only make the brain a bit more efficient if it indeed affects brain function," Lahn said.

Now his team is looking for evidence of Neanderthal origin for other human genes.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: brain; godsgravesglyphs; humanevolution; neandertal; neanderthal
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They also may be responsible for the Democrat Party.
1 posted on 11/07/2006 7:27:59 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: aculeus; blam; thefactor; SunkenCiv; martin_fierro

Roast duck with mango salsa ping...


2 posted on 11/07/2006 7:29:22 PM PST by Pharmboy (Vote American, not Democrat.)
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To: Pharmboy
considered more primitive, with robust bones but a smaller intellects than modern humans.

Yep, does sound like a Dem specimen for sure.

3 posted on 11/07/2006 7:31:24 PM PST by speedy
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To: Pharmboy

They currently reside in France if I'm not mistaken...


4 posted on 11/07/2006 7:32:32 PM PST by kinoxi
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To: Pharmboy
And the only way they could have provided that gift would have been by interbreeding, the team at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Chicago said.

Well if they interbred they weren't different speicies at all.

5 posted on 11/07/2006 7:34:23 PM PST by Centurion2000 (If the Romans had nukes, Carthage would still be glowing.)
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To: speedy

Considering the election results of this night, I’m not sure just how big our brains are. Or, if big brains mean anything.


6 posted on 11/07/2006 7:37:36 PM PST by doc1019
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To: doc1019
Your comment - Considering the election results of this night, I’m not sure just how big our brains are.

From the article - They noted that this D allele is very common in Europe, where Neanderthals lived, and more rare in Africa, where they did not.

I may get myself banned for saying this, but consider where the "D Allele" is uncommon, and where the ancestral home of many of the Rat voters is.

7 posted on 11/07/2006 7:43:04 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: doc1019
Considering the election results of this night, I’m not sure just how big our brains are.

Yeah, it's a bad night, doc. But two years of the Dems running the House can only help the GOP in 2008. Unless the Rats plan to keep Pelosi under wraps for two more years.

8 posted on 11/07/2006 7:44:19 PM PST by speedy
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To: Pharmboy

Good post, thanks. (We Are Neanderthals)


9 posted on 11/07/2006 7:44:47 PM PST by blam
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To: Centurion2000

They weren't.

The entire proposition is a canard.


10 posted on 11/07/2006 7:46:35 PM PST by BenLurkin ("The entire remedy is with the people." - W. H. Harrison)
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To: Pharmboy

Race And Human Evolution

From Publishers Weekly

This uneven volume from University of Michigan anthropologists Wolpoff and Caspari defends Wolpoff's theory that human evolution resulted from long-term "multiregional evolution" rather than via a relatively recent descent from a single "Eve" in Africa. The authors largely base their case on the fossil record, which contains evidence that, they contend, doesn't jibe with the Eve theory, which was derived primarily through DNA analysis by molecular biologists. Their argument is well-reasoned but some of the basic concepts, including that of multiregional evolution, could use a clearer explication. Technical material abounds, much of it likely to prove difficult for the general reader. And, while Wolpoff receives top authorial billing, the text is presented mostly in the first-person singular from Caspari's perspective, an intrusive stylistic device. There's much to ponder here, though, and the middle chapters, which place paleoanthropology in a historical and political context, are sound and informative. Illustrations."

11 posted on 11/07/2006 7:51:49 PM PST by blam
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To: BenLurkin
The entire proposition is a canard.

"Canard" is French for "duck," as in "roast duck with mango salsa."

I don't know if our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals, but I think that all the DNA studies so far have turned up negative for any Neanderthal DNA surviving in living human beings. The Neanderthals lived in a restricted area of the planet--Europe and part of the Middle East--and there were other human populations elsewhere. How can they tell the smart gene didn't originate in one of the other groups?

12 posted on 11/07/2006 7:56:09 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Centurion2000
Well if they interbred they weren't different species at all.

While we did learn in school that different species don't interbreed, that's not always the case. Different species don't typically interbreed, but there are examples where that does happen. Horse and donkey = (sterile) mule. And several years ago two different species of siamangs (a type of Asian ape) interbred and had viable offspring. The unique thing about these siamangs is that the two species had different numbers of chromosomes.

13 posted on 11/07/2006 7:59:12 PM PST by Pharmboy (Vote American, not Democrat.)
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To: BenLurkin
"The entire proposition is a canard."

I'm not quite sure, Ben. We have genes and features in our bodies that are more at home in cats or birds than in us. How that happens is difficult to explain, but it seems to be true.

14 posted on 11/07/2006 7:59:41 PM PST by NicknamedBob (If the Supreme Court has "Judges for Life," why is there any question about Roe vs Wade?)
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To: NicknamedBob

Ah -- as for cats . . . . those pesky pussies maanged to transfer some genes over by way of virus.

Meow!


15 posted on 11/07/2006 8:09:42 PM PST by BenLurkin ("The entire remedy is with the people." - W. H. Harrison)
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To: Pharmboy
The unique thing about these siamangs is that the two species had different numbers of chromosomes.

That is impressive actually. I wonder what the chromosome counts are for lions and tigers which can interbreed for make ligers (absolutely HUGE cats) and tigons?

16 posted on 11/07/2006 8:12:24 PM PST by Centurion2000 (If the Romans had nukes, Carthage would still be glowing.)
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To: Pharmboy
Could our big brains come from Neanderthals?

Brain size doesn't always matter. The last I knew elephants had huge ones but they're not doing too well tonight.

17 posted on 11/07/2006 8:14:06 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: Reaganwuzthebest

Correct. But, the measure that counts for more is the ratio of brain size to body size. We win that one over all other species--by far. Including Dumbo.


18 posted on 11/07/2006 8:19:15 PM PST by Pharmboy (Vote American, not Democrat.)
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To: BenLurkin; Pharmboy
"... those pesky pussies maanged to transfer some genes over by way of virus."

Well, yes, But viral transfer is the tool used by gene therapists even today.

19 posted on 11/07/2006 8:23:44 PM PST by NicknamedBob (If the Supreme Court has "Judges for Life," why is there any question about Roe vs Wade?)
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To: Verginius Rufus
I don't know if our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals, but I think that all the DNA studies so far have turned up negative for any Neanderthal DNA surviving in living human beings. The Neanderthals lived in a restricted area of the planet--Europe and part of the Middle East--and there were other human populations elsewhere. How can they tell the smart gene didn't originate in one of the other groups?

They can't. I think it is a very remote possibility that our ancestors interbred with hairy, smelly Neanderthals.

Just Google "Almas" and you'll see what I mean.

20 posted on 11/07/2006 8:33:24 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (If you don't want people to get your goat, don't tell them where it's tied.)
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To: Inyo-Mono; Verginius Rufus; BenLurkin

One point I would make is that before Neanderthalensis and Sapiens became separate species, they could then have had common ancestors.

A mixing and contest for beneficial genes could have resulted from that.


21 posted on 11/07/2006 8:45:17 PM PST by NicknamedBob (If the Supreme Court has "Judges for Life," why is there any question about Roe vs Wade?)
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To: Inyo-Mono
Hairy, smelly Neanderthals?

So now there is evidence that early Homo sapiens shaved and showered regularly?

22 posted on 11/07/2006 9:14:48 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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Mammoth told me there'd be topics like this.
The Neandertal Enigma
by James Shreeve
Frayer's own reading of the record reveals a number of overlooked traits that clearly and specifically link the Neandertals to the Cro-Magnons. One such trait is the shape of the opening of the nerve canal in the lower jaw, a spot where dentists often give a pain-blocking injection. In many Neandertal, the upper portion of the opening is covered by a broad bony ridge, a curious feature also carried by a significant number of Cro-Magnons. But none of the alleged 'ancestors of us all' fossils from Africa have it, and it is extremely rare in modern people outside Europe." [pp 126-127]

23 posted on 11/07/2006 9:30:10 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Dhimmicrati delenda est! https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Pharmboy; blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
They also may be responsible for the Democrat Party.
Hey, don't insult the Neanderthals. :') Thanks Pharmboy.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

24 posted on 11/07/2006 9:32:41 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Dhimmicrati delenda est! https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

bump


25 posted on 11/07/2006 9:43:38 PM PST by Ciexyz (Satisfied owner of a 2007 Toyota Corolla.)
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To: Pharmboy

"See? I told you so!"

26 posted on 11/07/2006 9:59:15 PM PST by WestVirginiaRebel (Common sense will do to liberalism what the atomic bomb did to Nagasaki-Rush Limbaugh)
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To: Pharmboy

Maybe I will live long enough to see the false "Neanderthal" classification to go by the wayside and the various scientific disciplines realize we are just talking about homo sapiens, just homo sapiens....


27 posted on 11/07/2006 10:37:59 PM PST by Maeve
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To: NicknamedBob

Ugh. They are both homo sapiens. Neanderthalis is a false classification whose origin is in that same school that gave the world Nazi science.


28 posted on 11/07/2006 10:41:12 PM PST by Maeve
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To: Pharmboy

btt


29 posted on 11/07/2006 10:43:44 PM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: doc1019
Considering the election results of this night, I’m not sure just how big our brains are. Or, if big brains mean anything.

It is all in the matter of how they are used. Considering this election, there wasn't much usage going on.

30 posted on 11/07/2006 11:05:24 PM PST by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: Pharmboy

...if you're a redhead.

Redheads 'are neanderthal'
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3adc5573604d.htm


31 posted on 11/07/2006 11:17:07 PM PST by familyop
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To: Pharmboy

London - Red hair may be the genetic legacy of Neanderthals...
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1322006/posts


32 posted on 11/07/2006 11:18:30 PM PST by familyop
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To: doc1019
Considering the election results of this night, I’m not sure just how big our brains are. Or, if big brains mean anything.

Beat me to it.

33 posted on 11/07/2006 11:19:52 PM PST by pax_et_bonum (I will always love you, Flyer.)
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To: Pharmboy
>Could our big brains come from Neanderthals?

The answer is no. Apes, monkeys, and hominids are one family of creatures, we are another; we are not related to them at all other possibly than for similarity of design. The neanderthal has been ruled out as a plausible ancestor for modern man and his DNA described as "about halfway between ours and that of a chimpanzee" and all other hominids are further removed from us THAN the neanderthal. There is thus no plausible ancestor for modern man amongst the hominids. To be descended from something, at some point, you have to be able to interbreed with the something and we could no more interbreed with neanderthals, much less any other hominid, than we could with goats or horses.

34 posted on 11/07/2006 11:30:52 PM PST by tomzz
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To: doc1019
Considering the election results of this night, I’m not sure just how big our brains are. Or, if big brains mean anything.

The results seem consistent with the theory that man has and is getting dumber not smarter. This definitely seems true at least in some aspects.

35 posted on 11/08/2006 12:08:23 AM PST by Bellflower (A Brand New Day Is Coming!)
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To: Pharmboy
Well??.........how 'bout a "thank you".

I thought so.... typical Homo Sapien,....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

36 posted on 11/08/2006 3:07:04 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: blam
Good post, thanks. (We Are Neanderthals)

Oh, really?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

37 posted on 11/08/2006 3:10:16 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: tomzz

Uh...no.


38 posted on 11/08/2006 3:38:18 AM PST by Pharmboy (Vote American, not Democrat.)
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To: Verginius Rufus
According to the Random House dictionary (via www.dictionary.com), a the primary ENGLISH meaning for "canard" is: a false or baseless, usually derogatory story, report, or rumor.
39 posted on 11/08/2006 3:43:49 AM PST by kellynch ("Our only freedom is the freedom to discipline ourselves." -- Bernard Baruch)
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To: kellynch
You're right--my Webster's has a similar definition. But the English word was borrowed from French, where it does mean "duck."

As Chico might say, why a duck?

40 posted on 11/08/2006 5:53:55 AM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Pharmboy

"Next time, do a little research."


41 posted on 11/08/2006 6:13:19 AM PST by popdonnelly
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To: Verginius Rufus
Yes, but it's an English word now, with a different meaning. Not all borrowed words retain their original meaning.

As an aside, in France, their humorous weekly newspaper is called "Le Canard Enchaîné" which literally means "the chained duck."

42 posted on 11/08/2006 6:29:09 AM PST by kellynch ("Our only freedom is the freedom to discipline ourselves." -- Bernard Baruch)
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To: Pharmboy

They picked up good brains and then didn't know what to do with them. That sounds peculiar at first, but I know lots of people like that.


43 posted on 11/08/2006 6:49:59 AM PST by Graymatter
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To: Graymatter; SunkenCiv; Pharmboy; familyop; Maeve
"They picked up good brains and then didn't know what to do with them."

There is much in what you say. It may well be that a superior brain size of Neanderthals conferred little advantage because they were stymied by an inability to articulate an advanced language well.

Only when a gene for advanced brain size got somehow correlated with other genes for brain complexity, and language skills and vocal structures could societal skills be properly passed on to the next generations.

If we were but a single lineage back through the mists of history to the dawn of creation, there would be little reason for various blood types. Yet we share some blood types with gorillas and chimpanzees, as well as much of the organizational structure of the Y chromosome.

Clearly nature competes, even within a successful species, for favorable characteristics, which may have been holdovers from very long ago.

44 posted on 11/08/2006 7:20:33 AM PST by NicknamedBob (If the Supreme Court has "Judges for Life," why is there any question about Roe vs Wade?)
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To: Centurion2000

Neanderthals are not a separate species. Both Modern Humans (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) and Neanderthals (Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis) are Homo Sapiens.


45 posted on 11/08/2006 9:34:34 AM PST by dangus (Pope calls Islam violent; Millions of Moslems demonstrate)
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To: doc1019

You got it.


46 posted on 11/08/2006 10:20:08 AM PST by SuzyQue (Remember to think.)
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To: NicknamedBob
Neandertal was a speaking species. It was once claimed that Neandertals lacked a hyoid bone and couldn't speak. When a Neandertal hyoid was identified, other excuses emerged, all of which have no basis except in bias. It's a strange phenomenon to observe how a 19th century anti-evolution bigwig (Virchow) has had his views adopted by the pro-evolution camp.
47 posted on 11/08/2006 11:33:01 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Dhimmicrati delenda est! https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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Evolving Genes May Not Size Up Brain
Science News | 6-3-2006 | Bruce Bower
Posted on 06/04/2006 8:02:02 PM EDT by blam
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1643387/posts


48 posted on 11/08/2006 11:33:59 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Dhimmicrati delenda est! https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv
"Neandertal was a speaking species."

I never surmised that Neanderthals were not a speaking species, but I am willing to use that contention, however ill-founded, as an allegorical explanation for their inability to compete successfully, and eventually triumph.

Something in their genetic makeup, or social construction, operated against them whether it was speech, memory, or even olfactory insufficiencies (of either type).

Or maybe the Main Stream was just against them.

49 posted on 11/08/2006 11:51:49 AM PST by NicknamedBob (If the Supreme Court has "Judges for Life," why is there any question about Roe vs Wade?)
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To: NicknamedBob
I never surmised that Neanderthals were not a speaking species, but I am willing to use that contention, however ill-founded, as an allegorical explanation for their inability to compete successfully, and eventually triumph.
Ah, allegory. Here's the quote from your earlier post:
It may well be that a superior brain size of Neanderthals conferred little advantage because they were stymied by an inability to articulate an advanced language well. Only when a gene for advanced brain size got somehow correlated with other genes for brain complexity, and language skills and vocal structures could societal skills be properly passed on to the next generations.
Since the evidence is that Neandertal is ancestral to part of the Earth's population, it is pointless to speculate on reasons for their extinction.
50 posted on 11/08/2006 11:59:03 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Dhimmicrati delenda est! https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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