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Study: Modern Humans Killed Off Neanderthals Quickly
http://www.foxnews.com ^ | Saturday, February 25, 2006 | AP

Posted on 02/25/2006 5:11:22 AM PST by ThreePuttinDude

LONDON — Neanderthals in Europe were killed off by the advance of modern humans thousands of years earlier than previously believed, losing a competition for food and shelter, according to a scientific study published Wednesday.

The research uses advances in radiocarbon dating to revise understanding of early humans, suggesting they colonized Europe more rapidly and coexisted for a much shorter period with genetic ancestors.

Paul Mellars, professor of prehistory and human evolution at the University of Cambridge and author of the study, said Neanderthals — the species of the Homo genus that lived in Europe and western Asia from around 230,000 years ago to around 29,000 years ago — succumbed much more readily to competition.

"The two sides were competing for the same territories, the same animals and fuel supplies and occupying the same cave spaces. With that kind of competition, the Neanderthals were always going to come out as the losers," said Mellars, whose paper was published in the journal Nature.

Modern humans — those anatomically the same as people today — were also better equipped to deal with a 6 degree Celsius (11 Fahrenheit) fall in temperatures around 40,000 years ago.

"Because they had better clothing, better technology(??) and a better mastery of fire, the humans were equipped to deal with it," Mellars said.

Mellars used the results of two recent studies of radiocarbon dating — a process of assessing age by counting radioactive decay of carbon in materials — to refine dates determined from fossils, bone fragments and other physical evidence that relates to the spread of humans.

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


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: crevolist; evolution; genocide; godsgravesglyphs; neandertal; neandertals; neanderthal; neanderthals
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A reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton, right, and a modern human skeleton
on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Jan. 2003.

"Because they had better clothing, better technology(??) and a better mastery of fire, the humans were equipped to deal with it," Mellars said.

What kind of technology did they have back then??
Or does the aurthor have to be dramatic with his linguistic ability??

1 posted on 02/25/2006 5:11:25 AM PST by ThreePuttinDude
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To: ThreePuttinDude

Better tools. The Neanderthals seem to have been reasonably intelligent but for some reason their tool-making skills remained static for hundreds of thousands of years, while humans made comparatively rapid advancements.


2 posted on 02/25/2006 5:15:56 AM PST by ahayes
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To: ThreePuttinDude

An example of ----dare I say the word????!!!--

EVOLUTION.


3 posted on 02/25/2006 5:16:52 AM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie (Google would sell out America to the highest bidder!)
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To: ThreePuttinDude

I'm sure "better technology" just means better tools, which would be very accurate. Modern humans did have better tools than other Neanderthals.

PS. Note the cracked skull of the Neanderthal.. ;)


4 posted on 02/25/2006 5:19:24 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: ThreePuttinDude

5 posted on 02/25/2006 5:19:45 AM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: ThreePuttinDude

It may have been low technology, but at the time it was literally "cutting edge."


7 posted on 02/25/2006 5:22:30 AM PST by wireman
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To: AntiGuv

I did not mean to write "other Neanderthals"; only that modern humans had better tools than Neanderthals. Period.


8 posted on 02/25/2006 5:23:28 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: ahayes
I find it interesting that the human ability to advance technologically and to constantly progress, has brought mankind to the near-destruction state of the world. With the push of a button, we can ruin 15,000 years of advancement. The Neanderthals couldn't even invent a constant source of fire after 100,000 years yet they lived in a constantly predictable world, generation after generation.
9 posted on 02/25/2006 5:24:06 AM PST by aristotleman
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To: ThreePuttinDude

Old news. The classic movie "Quest for Fire" vividly depicted this "discovery" years ago.


10 posted on 02/25/2006 5:25:45 AM PST by B.Bumbleberry
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To: ThreePuttinDude

This is a valid question, perhaps the author failed to elaborate or was just fluffing the story a bit. I remember watching a anthropologist discuss the techniques on producing cutting blades from stone ( which isn't as easy as you would think ). One wonders if modern humans where just better at it - but I'd like to see the evidence.


11 posted on 02/25/2006 5:25:53 AM PST by stacytec (Nihilism, its whats for dinner)
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To: ThreePuttinDude

In all likelihood he's including all technological advances: improved weapons, clothing, style of warfare, trapping, food storage/processing, etc. Granted, they didn't have cell phones but it's almost certain they had improved hunting/gathering techniques than Neanderthal.


12 posted on 02/25/2006 5:26:20 AM PST by CanisRex (Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil. --Lazarus Long)
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie

To be honest, those skeletons don't look that much different to me. What was it that made modern humans superior to Neanderthals so much that Neanderthals died out?


13 posted on 02/25/2006 5:28:00 AM PST by ContraryMary (New Jersey -- Superfund cleanup capital of the U.S.A.)
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To: ThreePuttinDude

Then what exactly do you call the 100 million muslim fascists living in the middle east today???????????????


14 posted on 02/25/2006 5:28:01 AM PST by Doc Savage (Of all these things you can be sure, only love...will endure.......................)
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To: CarrotAndStick

The one on the left looks like a co-worker of mine - we always joke that he is a few million years behind the times.


15 posted on 02/25/2006 5:30:34 AM PST by stacytec (Nihilism, its whats for dinner)
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To: stacytec

Seeing the evidence is a simple task. Tools found with modern humans are far, far superior to those found with Neanderthals. If you literally want to see for yourself, just go to a museaum (such as the Smithsonian) where you can see artifacts found with Neanderthals and compare them to artifacts found with modern humans.

And of course, if I were being facetious, I would note that modern humans have built skyscrapers and sent spacecraft to the moon in less time than the Neanderthals spent trying to perfect the sharpening of flints..


16 posted on 02/25/2006 5:30:40 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: CarrotAndStick
You see that pice of bone where the nerve enters the jaw? Some percentage of modern humans have that, most don't.

Neanderthals are us.

17 posted on 02/25/2006 5:30:51 AM PST by patton (Just because you don't understand it, does not mean that it does not exist.)
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To: patton

Mitochondrial DNA says they aren't.


18 posted on 02/25/2006 5:31:36 AM PST by ahayes
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To: ThreePuttinDude

Zippo?


19 posted on 02/25/2006 5:32:17 AM PST by GoforBroke
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To: ThreePuttinDude
Some evolve better than the rest, sounds like the evonoids were terrorists.
20 posted on 02/25/2006 5:32:40 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: ThreePuttinDude

"NOT COOL!"

21 posted on 02/25/2006 5:35:49 AM PST by Manic_Episode (Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps...)
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To: ahayes

Mitochandrial DNA says their mother isn't.


22 posted on 02/25/2006 5:36:05 AM PST by patton (Just because you don't understand it, does not mean that it does not exist.)
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To: ContraryMary

Its hard to tell from the diagrams but the Neanderthal skeleteon is much larger and thicker. From a design perspective, it looks like a structure that was designed to take a beating. But studying a fossil can only tell us so much, I'm sure that there was a lot more to the rise of humans than just bone size.


23 posted on 02/25/2006 5:36:27 AM PST by stacytec (Nihilism, its whats for dinner)
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To: ahayes
Better tools. The Neanderthals seem to have been reasonably intelligent but for some reason their tool-making skills remained static for hundreds of thousands of years, while humans made comparatively rapid advancements.

Neanderthal demise remains an enigma. Bigger, stronger, with more cranial capacity? Large displacements can be explained, but to vanish? With so many unpopulated places on the planet, it is unfathomable that they did not survive somewhere.

24 posted on 02/25/2006 5:36:36 AM PST by SampleMan
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To: ThreePuttinDude
What kind of technology did they have back then??

Arbeit Macht Frei.

25 posted on 02/25/2006 5:37:33 AM PST by Jim Noble (And you know what I'm talkin' 'bout!)
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To: aristotleman
The Neanderthals couldn't even invent a constant source of fire after 100,000 years yet they lived in a constantly predictable world, generation after generation.

Like pigs, monkeys, and earthworms I suppose.

26 posted on 02/25/2006 5:38:17 AM PST by SampleMan
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To: ThreePuttinDude

Spelling checkers??


27 posted on 02/25/2006 5:39:50 AM PST by Maj.Bertram.Pudgeman (Sorry, couldn't help it.)
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To: patton
Neanderthals are us.

Not entirely a closed book, but cross pollination has been almost entirely ruled out.

28 posted on 02/25/2006 5:41:10 AM PST by SampleMan
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To: SampleMan

And redheads?


29 posted on 02/25/2006 5:43:48 AM PST by patton (Just because you don't understand it, does not mean that it does not exist.)
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To: AntiGuv

The Smithsonian is in my back yard so I might have to swing by agian to see if they did indeed have better weapons. My statement was posed in the context of the authors general conclusions - that humans had better technology. I've seen a lot of TV reconstructions on Neanderthal society that stated that they weren't as underdeveloped as the media seems to constantly suggest, which is why the author raised my brow by suggesting that humans had better technology.


30 posted on 02/25/2006 5:44:05 AM PST by stacytec (Nihilism, its whats for dinner)
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To: ThreePuttinDude; RightWhale

Were any of them Jewish? We could be in big trouble ...


31 posted on 02/25/2006 5:44:52 AM PST by NicknamedBob (Islamists say we shouldn't make a mockery of religion -- funny, that's the problem I have with them!)
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To: SampleMan

Neanderthals were very well-muscled but their average height of a male was 5'6". All signs indicate that despite the larger cranial capacity they were not more intelligent: inferior tool-making; inferior 'artistic' expression; inferior adaptability. If they were more intelligent, by whatever measure, then it seems clear enough that their arrangement of cognitive traits was less effective than that of humans. I would guess that they engaged in far less cooperative behavior and were far less inquisitive (based on certain archaeological evidence, such as a tendency not to travel far from home their entire lives).


32 posted on 02/25/2006 5:45:32 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: patton
Mitochandrial DNA says their mother isn't.

Pre-Brokeback, mothers were still required. Seriously though, interbreeding (if possible) doesn't explain planet wide reduction of Neanderthals. Being physically hardier, it would be expected that they would live at least on the edges of survival. Remember that large portions of the planet were barren of people, and not even explored until recent times. Yet zero Neanderthals.

33 posted on 02/25/2006 5:46:07 AM PST by SampleMan
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To: SampleMan
PS. Make that, an apparent tendency not to travel far.
34 posted on 02/25/2006 5:47:01 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: AntiGuv
All signs indicate that despite the larger cranial capacity they were not more intelligent:

Concur. But its the why that is the question isn't it? I have often wondered if it doesn't have something to do with our arrested development. A 1000 pound animal can grow to adulthood and reproduce in two years, yet we take around 13 years to reproduce and fully 20 to reach adult maturity. For bare survival of the species, a short growth cycle is a powerful tool. A day old calf can be caught by a man on foot, but a three day old calf cannot. Human babies are essentially helpless for years, while they program their brains. If Neanderthal matured more quickly, they might survive better in very harsh environments, but never have the time to program those big melons. I'm aware of recent tests that say this isn't the case, but I wonder how conclusive those are.

35 posted on 02/25/2006 5:53:52 AM PST by SampleMan
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To: ThreePuttinDude
It may be that the neanderthals were killed this way but proof would be to find a site with 500 dead with their heads bashed in. Until then, this is just as believable:

Modern humans — those anatomically the same as people today — were also better equipped to deal with a 6 degree Celsius (11 Fahrenheit) fall in temperatures around 40,000 years ago..."Because they had better clothing, better technology and a better mastery of fire, the humans were equipped to deal with it,"

36 posted on 02/25/2006 5:55:18 AM PST by libertylover (Bush spied. Terrorists died.)
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To: SampleMan
Ok, that deserves an answer -

I do not understand hou one can conclude that two genotypes of the same species, who coexisted, did not interbreed.

Remember, the definition of species is "cabable of breeding."

Furthermore, Many humans exhibit neanderthal traits - I do. If you put my skull up there, scientists would argue for years over which class it belonged in. Some traits of both.

Also, Neandethal had a brain volume of about ~1500cc, modern humand about ~1400cc. The argument that modern humans are smarter seems silly.

I don't know what happened, but it seems the simplest answer is that the two became one, by interbreeding.

37 posted on 02/25/2006 5:56:25 AM PST by patton (Just because you don't understand it, does not mean that it does not exist.)
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To: SampleMan
This would explain it:


38 posted on 02/25/2006 5:56:59 AM PST by robertpaulsen
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To: ThreePuttinDude

>>>>Modern Humans Killed Off Neanderthals Quickly

Ding dong the dems are dead!


39 posted on 02/25/2006 5:57:48 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: SampleMan
Pre-Brokeback, mothers were still required.

LOL, perhaps those Neanderthals had too much of the gay cowboy gene - their fate was sealed!

40 posted on 02/25/2006 5:59:20 AM PST by stacytec (Nihilism, its whats for dinner)
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To: ThreePuttinDude

Wonder exactly how much of the Neanderthals skeleton was actually found, this "reconstruction" word seems a bit misleading?


41 posted on 02/25/2006 6:03:37 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: patton

Any interbreeding was probably minimal.

Until very modern times, women were usually not even passed from one tribe or clan to another, much less all the way to another species.

Moreover, even primitive peoples have a sense of aesthetic, and by any sense of human aesthetics I'm aware of Neanderthals must've been butt ugly.

Finally, a child must not be merely born. It must be raised. Most cultures practiced infanticide of 'deficient' infants until relatively modern times. Raising an infant requires a great expenditure. Why on earth would modern humans want to raise a hybrid?

I think the arguments that humans and Neanderthals interbred are rather inane myself. And modern humans don't just "exhibit Neanderthal traits"; heck, modern humans exhibit chimpanzee traits, and even some duck-bill platypus traits. What that reveals is some degree of common ancestry, not human/duckbill interbreeding.

The argument that modern humans are smarter hardly seems silly. It is not just cranial capacity that matters. It is also brain/body proportions and neural structure.

The simplest answer is not interbreeding. That is a strained answer. Humans clearly did not emerge from Neanderthals; they emerged elsewhere and moved into Neanderthal territory. The simplest answer is that they killed the Neanderthals. That is what humans typically do to predecessor occupants of territory they conquer.


42 posted on 02/25/2006 6:03:38 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: ThreePuttinDude

Technology? Nets, traps, and shoes come to mind. Maybe fire-making and its attendant uses?
Possibly the biggest advantage was language, the jury's out on that but some scientists say Neandertals weren't effective speakers. But that isn't technology of course, only the ability to pass it along.
"Now go cut me a switch, boy." :)


43 posted on 02/25/2006 6:05:10 AM PST by Graymatter (...and what are we going to do about it?)
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To: AntiGuv

You may be correct: I do not know.


44 posted on 02/25/2006 6:06:24 AM PST by patton (Just because you don't understand it, does not mean that it does not exist.)
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To: AntiGuv
I would guess that they engaged in far less cooperative behavior and were far less inquisitive

They may have been less inquisitive but evidence shows they cooperated with each other on most things. They buried their dead, they hunted in groups, they took care of their ill and wounded members as evidenced in the many broken bones that showed signs of having healed found in their fossils.

They appeared to be less imaginative, a lot like some modern people who say "if it was good enough for Dad it is good enough for me!".

This would explain their lack of progress once they discovered how to work flint(which is a mystery in itself, if they didn't have much imagination how did they discover flint tools?).

45 posted on 02/25/2006 6:07:02 AM PST by calex59 (seeing the light shouldn't make you go blind and, BTW, Stå sammen med danskerne !)
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To: SampleMan

I think small differences can make a huge difference in the aggregate. Think of economies of scale as an analogy.

One good example is 'altruistic' behavior; the willingness to help a fellow in need. A chimpanzee will generally not help another in distress even when it would cost itself nothing. Humans obviously will help another human in distress, often at great cost to oneself (even to the point of outright sacrifice of one's life).

So, if Neanderthals were less inclined toward altruistic behavior, that would make a difference over time. And that's just one trait.

The objection can always be raised that this is all conjecture or 'just so' argumentation, but here's a fact: We're here; Neanderthals aren't. Obviously we were better at whatever it is we needed to do to make that so.


46 posted on 02/25/2006 6:08:14 AM PST by AntiGuv
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To: patton
Also, Neanderthal had a brain volume of about ~1500cc, modern humand about ~1400cc. The argument that modern humans are smarter seems silly.

Larger usually means smarter, yet there is a steady improvement at modern-human sights in flints and tools, but Neanderthal sights show zero advancement in hundreds of years. There is also a lack of evidence (which is never conclusive) that they did not make drawings, although they did appear to bury their dead with some sentimentality (flowers). The interbreeding concept was the traditional thought, but modern DNA analysis appears to nullify it (see, THE NEANDERTHAL ENIGMA, by James Shreeve). It does seem odd that there would be no interbreeding, but we don't know the physical and cultural traits of Neanderthals. After all Wolves and Poodles aren't likely to make it happen, although it is possible. Another idea is that offspring were sterile like mules. I recommend the above book to anyone who has a curiosity about this. He is honest in not asserting what he really doesn't know, while exploring the possibilities.

47 posted on 02/25/2006 6:08:38 AM PST by SampleMan
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To: AntiGuv
I'm sure "better technology" just means better tools ...

Not necessarily. Better technique would serve as well.

Example: throwing a spear at your prey instead of stabbing it. Less chance of injury and shorter kill cycle. Either you're in range or you're not, if not you move on. Stabbing critters means stalking it to get up close and personal.
Of course this would be very important if your prey carries a spear as well!

48 posted on 02/25/2006 6:09:15 AM PST by dread78645 (Intelligent Design. It causes people to misspeak)
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To: All

They must have missed a few. After all, we still have Johnny Damon and the guy who drove the bus in "Speed" around, as proof.


49 posted on 02/25/2006 6:10:00 AM PST by edpc
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To: calex59

Just to be very clear, I am not saying they weren't cooperative or altruistic or inquisitive at all. I am just hypothesizing that as a whole they were less of some or all of those (and probably other traits) than were humans as a whole.


50 posted on 02/25/2006 6:11:10 AM PST by AntiGuv
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