Skip to comments.Handsome By Chance: Why Humans Look Different From Neanderthals
Posted on 08/19/2007 5:45:36 PM PDT by blam
Source: University of California, Davis
Date: August 16, 2007
Handsome By Chance: Why Humans Look Different From Neanderthals
Science Daily Chance, not natural selection, best explains why the modern human skull looks so different from that of its Neanderthal relative, according to a new study led by Tim Weaver, assistant professor of anthropology at UC Davis.
Model of the Neanderthal man. Exhibited in the Dinosaur Park Münchehagen, Germany. (Credit: iStockphoto/Klaus Nilkens)
"For 150 years, scientists have tried to decipher why Neanderthal skulls are different from those of modern humans," Weaver said. "Most accounts have emphasized natural selection and the possible adaptive value of either Neanderthal or modern human traits. We show that instead, random changes over the past 500,000 years or so since Neanderthals and modern humans became isolated from each other are the best explanation for these differences."
Weaver and his colleagues compared cranial measurements of 2,524 modern human skulls and 20 Neanderthal specimens, then contrasted those results with genetic information from a separate sample of 1,056 modern humans.
The scientists concluded that Neanderthals did not develop their protruding mid-faces as an adaptation to icy Pleistocene weather or the demands of using teeth as tools, and the retracted faces of modern humans are not an adaptation for language, as some anthropologists have proposed.
Instead, random "genetic drift" is the likeliest reason for these skull differences.
Weaver conducted the research with Charles Roseman, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London.
The study appears in the August issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of California, Davis.
GGG Ping. (Seems familiar)
oh no, not another evolution/creationism thread...
The Neanderthal in the article looks like about 25% of the people in Boston.
My eyes! My eyes!
Oh, yeah! So easy a caveman can do it. So there.
Damn, those guys have all the luck.
This is odd, because Homo Erectus was alive at least 1.5 million years ago and had a homo sapien skull.
I think Neanderthals would do well to keep to their own and quit bothering modern humans once and for all. I’m tired of it.
Did he keep it in a pouch? *innocent look*
We show that instead, random changes over the past 500,000 years or so since Neanderthals and modern humans became isolated from each other are the best explanation for these differences."
After environmentally-related adaptations, which are the result of selection pressure, other changes are likely to be attributed to "random changes." That is what these authors have done.
But it would be silly to exclude founder's effect. I would be very interested in knowing if they are including founder's effect as a part of "random changes" or are ignoring it entirely in this study.
THAT was spooky!
What on earth is that?! Billary?
Definitely a component of one of my worst nightmares!
If everyone looked like that we would just have different standards of beauty.
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