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In an extensive review of recent Neanderthal research, University of Colorado Boulder researcher Paola Villa and co-author Wil Roebroeks, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, make the case that the available evidence does not support the opinion that Neanderthals were less advanced than anatomically modern humans.
originally posted by: watchitburn
a reply to: Chronon
Pretty interesting, thanks for sharing.
I'm no paleoanthropologist, but I'm going to have to disagree. While they may not have been as cave manny as commonly assumed. It stands to reason that if they we not inferior they would still be around. Since they are not around any more, that would lead us to believe they were unable to adapt to their changing environment. Making them less fit for continued existence. Hence inferior.
Maybe I'm missing something.
Cooling. Though the time at which the Eemian interglacial ended is subject to some uncertainty (it was probably around 110,000 years ago), what does seem evident from the sediment records that cross this boundary is that it was a relatively sudden event and not a gradual slide into colder conditions taking many thousands of years. The recent high-resolution Atlantic sediment record of Adkins et al (1997) suggests that the move from interglacial to much colder-than-present glacial conditions occurred over a period of less than 400 years (with the limitations on the resolution of the sediment record leaving open the possibility that the change was in fact very much more rapid than this).
Neanderthals are generally classified by palaeontologists as the species Homo neanderthalensis, but a minority consider them to be a subspecies of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis). The first humans with proto-Neanderthal traits are believed to have existed in Europe as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago.
Homo sapiens sapiens: from 90,000 years ago
The first traces of modern humans are now dated tentatively as far back as 90,000 years ago in the Middle East. In Europe, where they first appear about 35,000 years ago, they are known as Cro-Magnon from the place in the Dordogne, in France, where remains of them are first discovered in a cave in 1868.
I guess the question is whether or not Neandrathal was any more or less capable than modern humans and there are some indicators that in fact they were possibly superior in some regards:
• Neanderthals had shorter, wider humeri (upper arms), which combined with the shoulders, suggests substantial rotator cuff muscularity. And, get this; the bones in their forearms were actually bowed from muscles that must have powered a grip that could crush stone.
• All of this upper body musculature was anchored on a solid foundation of massive quads that specialized in explosive power and side-to-side movement."
"This would have made Neanderthal fingers and thumbs upwards of twice the strength of modern humans" Lumely-Woodyear 1973;
"Thus Neanderthals were probably better at throwing (Debenath and Tournepiche 1992) than their modern contemporaries"
Overall Neanderthals were shorter, stockier, and had more muscle mass then today's humans. They no doubt were much stronger then the average human.
However, humans were better suited to long distance running and were more agile. The strength advantage for Neanderthals came at a cost.
How about brain capacity?
We can restate the question more precisely: "How do we resolve this with the fact that the Neanderthal individual was probably more intelligent than a modern human individual?" The cranial capacity tells us something about the individuals' mental abilities, but it tells us almost nothing about the social aspects of life.
Studying the inventiveness of Homo Sapiens scientists have found that literally all the major innovations that have changed the way we live, from the use of fire, to agriculture, to writing etc., have developed only in a few places. For example agriculture appeared independently only in around seven places on the entire planet. All the rest of human populations that engaged in farming did it because they had learned it from somebody. Therefore, the most important aspect of inventiveness is not the ability to invent, but the ability to transmit and to preserve innovations.
This gives us an important clue to why Neanderthals failed in the competition with Homo Sapiens. One of the most important means by which innovations are preserved and transmitted is language. Neanderthals had language themselves. This was proven in 1983 when a Neanderthal hyoid bone was found at the Kebara Cave in Israel. The hyoid is a small bone that holds the root of the tongue in place, a requirement to human speech and, therefore, its presence seems to imply some ability to speak. Recent studies found that due to the physical characteristics of Neanderthals' hyoid and the fact that their larynx was stouter than that of modern man, the average note emitted by Neanderthals were high pitched and sharper than that of modern man. This contradicts the stereotype of Neanderthals having ape-like grunts. However, the base of the Neanderthal tongue
So in the end analysis, suggesting that they did not express socially through arts, technology etc..., or that they succumbed to climate change due to their capacity within said change is pretty shallow IMO. I believe as another couple posters pointed out DNA suggests assimilation between species to some extent.
originally posted by: Gallowglaich
...Fact is, Neanderthals were more intelligent and better adapted to their environment. There is an agenda being pushed, that has been pushed for many years, to propagate the idea that they were inferior.
Humans, however, one-upped the neanderthals in many aspects. Although they didn’t produce the levallois cores like neanderthals, they were able to create blades of a similar – if not better – quality than the flakes neanderthals were make. Further, the human blade techniques were able to create bladelets. These are small blades, offering two key advantages. First you can get more of them from the same amount of stone, increasing efficiency. Secondly, they’re smaller so are weight less allowing you to make lighter projectiles without sacrificing killing power.
Whilst other industries and hominins also utilised the levallois technique, the neanderthals were the best at it. Even today only a handful of experimental archaeologists are capable of approaching the skill level neanderthals were exhibiting.
originally posted by: Gallowglaich
I believe they were actually superior to modern humans in every regard except one.... the Homo sapiens had them outnumbered.
The Mousterian tools and spear points have been proven to be more advanced than any contemporary Homo Sapien technology. Even now Mousterian spear points are nearly impossible to replicate.
Fact is, Neanderthals were more intelligent and better adapted to their environment. There is an agenda being pushed, that has been pushed for many years, to propagate the idea that they were inferior.
originally posted by: Gallowglaich
You're wrong, and ignorant to boot. Don't speak out your ass on subjects you know nothing of.