Neanderthals - more sophisticated than previously thought?

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gregorach

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A very interesting article from this week's Four Stone Hearth, based on a recent paper in in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Neanderthals Dried Fresh Meat, Wore Tailored Clothing – Energy Study.

A paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science by Bent Sørensen of the University of Roskilde in Denmark, discusses how European Neanderthals living in the Eemian interglacial, dated to around 125,000 years bp might have conserved much needed energy by drying and storing meat, wearing fitted clothing, and sleeping beneath blankets of mammoth skin, behaviours that would have greatly increased their chances of surviving decreasing temperatures with the onset of ice ages.
The paper is available in its entirety from Professor Sørensen’s website: Energy use by Eem Neanderthals [PDF - 60 kB]

Abstract:

An analysis of energy use by Neanderthals in Northern Europe during the mild Eem interglacial period is carried out with consideration of the metabolic energy production required for compensating energy losses during sleep, at daily settlement activities and during hunting expeditions, including transport of food from slain animals back to the settlement. Additional energy sources for heat, security and cooking are derived from fireplaces in the open or within shelters such as caves or huts. The analysis leads to insights not available from archaeological findings that are mostly limited to durable items such as those made of stone: Even during the benign Eem period, Neanderthals faced a considerable heat loss problem. Wearing tailored clothes or some similar measure was necessary for survival. An animal skin across the shoulder would not have sufficed to survive even average cold winter temperatures and body cooling by convection caused by wind. Clothes and particularly footwear had to be sewn together tightly in order to prevent intrusion of water or snow. The analysis of hunting activity evolvement in real time further shows that during summer warmth, transport of meat back to the base settlement would not be possible without some technique to avoid that the meat rots. The only likely technique is meat drying at the killing site, which indicates further skills in Neanderthal societies that have not been identified by other routes of investigation.
 

HillBill

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We seem to have a habit of belittling our ancestors and their acheivements. We believe we are more advanced than they were.

But are we? Technology if anything makes us inferior to our ancestors as the people themselves are weaker because of it.?

Why did the egyptians, sumarians etc know about pluto thousands of years ago yet it was not discovered until 1950 something.

Every time a culture or civilisation ends the knowledge they had tends to be lost with it.

Sumaria( human version) lasted 3000 years the egyptians 2000 the romans 1000 the UK or the US maybe 500 at the most.

Who knew the most? I'll say not us anyway.
 

Toddy

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The thing is though HillBill that we write and observe from out very modern viewpoint.
In the future they might well describe *British* as beginning with the final retreat of the Romans from these Islands (407ce when Constantine111 withdrew the troops form Britian to set up the Gallic Empire).........so on those terms our society is already 1600 years old, and look at the developments we have made. :cool:

Or they might instead describe this time as being a Christian Empire..........with it's roots in Israel 2,000 years ago. Or Muslin which would be younger, or Jewish which would be considerably older.

cheers.
Toddy
 

Toddy

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What is the current thinking here? are we (in part) descended from Neanderthal man?
DNA analysis and the study of their bones says, "No."

The human cline exhibits such diverse physical chacteristics, from dark skinned, curly haired brown eyed pygmies to exceptionally tall white skinned blue eyed blonds,that the fact that we can identify individuals as 'Neanderthal' demonstrates that the differences are profound.

Enough that it no more likely that Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens neanderthalis could breed than could an orang utan and a mountain gorilla.

Lot of people still trying to find cross breeds, the individuals found in the Israeli caves for instance, but in the end they come down as one or the other, not a mix.

cheers,
Toddy
 

gregorach

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What is the current thinking here? are we (in part) descended from Neanderthal man?
I believe that's currently something of an open question. There is some evidence from bones that there may have been some interbreeding, however, more recent DNA research seems to indicate that any genetic contribution from the Neanderthal population was very small, if it exists at all.

Odd Skull Boosts Human, Neandertal Interbreeding Theory

Neandertals, Modern Humans Interbred, Bone Study Suggests

Neanderthal DNA Shows They Rarely Interbred With Us Very Different Humans

Blow to Neanderthal breeding theory

It's a very difficult question to settle. Given the diversity of "anatomically modern humans", it's dangerous to draw firm conclusions from the bones of individuals.

EDIT: I see Toddy has beaten me to it. That's what I get for looking for references... ;)
 

Toddy

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I think it would be wonderful to definitively prove that the two species could, and did, interbreed. In terms of time, their demise is only the blink of an eye. So close and yet so far.

I did hear someone talk of using Neanderthal DNA in an attempt at invitro using HSS egg and sperm. Like resurrecting the mammoth using elephants. I don't think the DNA that has been recovered is in any fit state for that level of 'creation' though.

Hoodoo might well have a much better way of describing it than I do.

It's a topic that interests people and there's a lot of research being done on Neanderthals because there is funding available. Lots of very odd people claiming to have 'proof' but nothing seems to come of it under scientific scrutiny.

cheers,
Toddy
 

gregorach

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All the DNA studies I've heard of use mitochondrial rather than nuclear DNA, so it's not likely to be much use for that sort of thing. I don't even know if anyone has successfully isolated nuclear DNA from a Neanderthal. It's not a subject I follow very closely...
 

HillBill

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What is the current thinking here? are we (in part) descended from Neanderthal man?
I don't really know tbh, in neanderthals time there were 5 homo species roaming the planet. I would go so far to say that some people will probably have their genes in one form or another.
 

gregorach

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D'oh! Should've googled first... There are various reports of studies on nuclear DNA from back in '06... E.g: Nuclear DNA Analysis Proves Neanderthals Were a Different Species.

The traditional method of sequencing DNA indicates that Neanderthals split off from the lineage that led to modern humans around 315,000 years ago, sustaining previous estimates. This confirms the ideas that Neanderthals did not contribute substantially to the modern human genome. "Were there Neanderthals in our lineage? All of the genetics seems to be going in the direction that there weren't," says Richard Potts, head of the Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program in Washington DC, US.
 

HillBill

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Oct 1, 2008
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The thing is though HillBill that we write and observe from out very modern viewpoint.
In the future they might well describe *British* as beginning with the final retreat of the Romans from these Islands (407ce when Constantine111 withdrew the troops form Britian to set up the Gallic Empire).........so on those terms our society is already 1600 years old, and look at the developments we have made. :cool:

Or they might instead describe this time as being a Christian Empire..........with it's roots in Israel 2,000 years ago. Or Muslin which would be younger, or Jewish which would be considerably older.

cheers.
Toddy
Thats a good point Toddy. We know about the ancient civs through texts and buildings left behind. In the computer age all our knowledge/text is on a database. If the solar storms knock out the grid as feared in the future, what evidence or text will others be able to read of ours in say 200 years even. It only takes a couple of generations for the true tales to be lost. we may even become the society that never was. We may even dissapear altogether eventually.
 

gregorach

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In the computer age all our knowledge/text is on a database. [...] It only takes a couple of generations for the true tales to be lost. we may even become the society that never was. We may even dissapear altogether eventually.
Oh, I don't know about that - we've left plenty of durable evidence of our material culture lying around. The interpretation of that evidence may be a little tricky, but it will be there, and in far greater quantities than that left by any previous culture. How many pennies do you think are lost out there?
 

Toddy

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I think that anyone who's met Sandbender would definitely consider the possibility of human/neanderthal interbreeding:D
Oi !
I firmly suspect that the females of the species might differ opinions with you :D

cheers,
Toddy, Varibo, Barrie, Jo.........et al
 

drewdunnrespect

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this neanderthal stuff is dead interesting but considering that if we said the earth has been around for just a year (hypotheticly speaking).
Humans would have only been around for the last six seconds of new years eve of that year. so unless neanderthals were around during that time it one wouldnt be possible.

and this is my question would we not have known about them sooner if they had of been around when we have or have i picked the wrong end of the stick up

drew
 

Tengu

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Theres plenty of overlap.

In fact the Basques are descendants of the original modern humans in the area. (and they are a fastinating lot)