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The fossils we do find, by being hit and miss, creates a data collection that appears to imply discontinuities within evolution. We don't have enough fossils to show continuous change, even if there had been continuous change. Based on the data we do have, which is spotty and lucky, we have to conclude discontinuity. It does not mean it was, it only means the data implies this.


As an analogy, I will make a line of popcorn, from my house to the neighbor's house. In one week, a team of students come and collect the popcorn. Since the birds, animals and bugs have eaten much of the popcorn, it no longer looks like a nice continuous line. Now the line is discontinuous.


Based on the hard data the students collect, they publish a report that says the popcorn was found in irregular sections. If we extrapolate from this data, a reasonable scenario is, I must have dropped the popcorn here and there, but the line I said was continuous, is not valid according to the data. The rules of data can lead to a wrong conclusion.


Getting back to Neanderthals and other pre-humans, even if they stemmed from a single tribe that was split up, we don't have enough data to say this. Rather the limited spotty data will appear to treat each of these in the light of a discontinuous line. I would take that with a grain of salt.


If you look at how people behave today, birds of a feather still flock together and those who are different can be excluded and even bullied. If such was also pre-human behavior, the bigger group could drive away the other group, so we get two tribes forming. The bigger flock tends to last longer, with the driven away flock needing to find a place of isolation for security. A simple genetic defect that gives a larger head makes the Neanderthal boy look different. This could be enough to bully his exclusion. Selective advantage, in this case of a disadvantage, can be achieved by leaving the place of danger and finding a place of safety farther north in the hills. Live another day.

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Here is an interesting article on Neanderthal cognitive abilities and how they might have been different.


Brains of Neanderthals and Modern Humans Developed Differently


ScienceDaily (Nov. 9, 2010) — Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany have documented species differences in the pattern of brain development after birth that are likely to contribute to cognitive differences between modern humans and Neanderthals.



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The reason why we won the race for survival while Neanderthals went extinct? Our Achilles heel!


By Claire Bates

We may refer to our Achilles heel to describe a deadly weakness but we actually have these ankle tendons to thank for winning the race for survival.


Scientists have found that modern humans are far more fleet of foot than Neanderthals could ever have been.

This may even explain why the ancient hominids became extinct while our ancestors flourished as polar ice crept down into Europe 50,000 years ago.




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1353644/Achilles-heel-Reason-won-race-survival-Neanderthals-went-extinct.html#ixzz1DQhoS1RN

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Neanderthals Wore Feathers as Fashion Accessories

Analysis by Rossella Lorenzi



Neanderthals living in what is now Italy may have used feathers as fashion accessories, according to a study on 44,000-year-old bird bones.


While investigating Neanderthal remains in the Fumane Cave near Verona in northern Italy, paleoanthropologist Marco Peresani from the University of Ferrara and colleagues discovered 660 bird bones in layers that were dated to around 44,000 years ago.


Belonging to 22 species of birds, the remains included several wing bones which, according to the researchers, were deliberately cut to take the feathers off.




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I have often wondered why such tools would just be left, I suspect that not only were such tools a little more disposable than we think but that like us those people just lost things occasionally.


It doesn't make sense that they would be careless with something that was so important to their survival (tools probably had many uses), not to mention the time and energy that went into producing them.


The only thing that produces carelessness is relative ease of producing another one but nothing came easy to Neanderthals. We can go to a store and quite easily replace what we lost (even though we might be really ticked about it) so we don't prize tools in the same way a Neanderthal would.

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Is it just me or does this Neanderthal head look huge!




Or maybe it's just the way he's holding it that makes the skull look so large! Then again look at the eye sockets, I thought Neanderthals were supposed to roughly 5'5" or smaller?



It's a trick of the camera, the guy is holding the skull closer to the camera than he is so it appears to be larger than it actually is.

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I've read this thread from the beginning, and I think I've read all the relevant links, many of which say that there's no evidence for cross breeding between Neanderthal and us in the mtDNA.


However, the story below says that there is a genetic connection proving cross-breeding after all. The "obvious" implication to a self-educated "duffer" like myself is that Neanderthal women could not bear hybrid children, but Early Modern Human women could.


(Interestingly, one of the links posted earlier in this thread suggested the same thing:

"Could it be that Homo neanderthalensis males were able to mate with Homo sapiens females but that the reciprocal cross was unsuccessful?"



So, I'm wondering if this is essentially confirmed now, even though the Neanderthal-inherited sequence is on the X chromosome?


Here's the new article"


Non-Africans Are Part Neanderthal, Genetic Research Shows

ScienceDaily (July 18, 2011) — Some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals and is found exclusively in people outside Africa, according to an international team of researchers led by Damian Labuda of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. The research was published in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution.



"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," says Dr. Labuda. His team places the timing of such intimate contacts and/or family ties early on, probably at the crossroads of the Middle East.


More here




By the way, Moontanman, I really liked your suggestion about hairy Esau. Permit me to add one of my own:


The Cain and Abel story can be interpreted as the only remaining Biblical record of the struggle between hunter-gatherers and farmers, and the allegorical extermination of the hunter-gatherers. If that's relevant, it's also the only remaining story written by the hunter-gatherers (spoken, of course, since they wouldn't likely have had writing).



I've thought of that story as an allegory for the demise of the Neanderthals for a long time.




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Fall of the Neanderthals: Volume of Modern Humans Infiltrating Europe Cited as Critical Factor


Map of the migration of modern man out of Africa. Triangles represent Aurignacian (considered the first modern humans) split-base points. (Credit: Dora Kemp, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research)


ScienceDaily (July 28, 2011) — New research sheds light on why, after 300,000 years of domination, European Neanderthals abruptly disappeared. Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered that modern humans coming from Africa swarmed the region, arriving with over ten times the population as the Neanderthal inhabitants.



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Neanderthals in Northern Spain Had Knowledge of Plants' Healing Qualities, Study Reveals


ScienceDaily (July 17, 2012) — An international team of researchers, led by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the University of York, has provided the first molecular evidence that Neanderthals not only ate a range of cooked plant foods, but also understood its nutritional and medicinal qualities.



A researcher at work in El Sidrón Cave. (Credit: CSIC Comunicación)

Edited by Moontanman
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