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Blutwölfin
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006, 09:43 PM
Neanderthals may have given the modern humans who replaced them a priceless gift — a gene that helped them develop superior brains, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

And the only way they could have provided that gift would have been by interbreeding, the team at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Chicago said.

Their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides indirect evidence that modern Homo sapiens and so-called Neanderthals interbred at some point when they lived side by side in Europe.

"Finding evidence of mixing is not all that surprising. But our study demonstrates the possibility that interbreeding contributed advantageous variants into the human gene pool that subsequently spread," said Bruce Lahn, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher at the University of Chicago who led the study.

Scientists have been debating whether Neanderthals, who died out about 35,000 years ago, ever bred with modern Homo sapiens. Neanderthals are considered more primitive, with robust bones but a smaller intellects than modern humans.

Lahn's team found a brain gene that appears to have entered the human lineage about 1.1 million years ago, and that has a modern form, or allele, that appeared about 37,000 years ago — right before Neanderthals became extinct.



Source (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15611031/)

Gorm the Old
Thursday, November 9th, 2006, 04:26 AM
Well, now, THAT would be ironical, wouldn't it ? After all these years of rejecting any connection between H.sapiens and H. neandertalensis, and regarding the Neanderthalers as an inferior race, an unsuccessful attempt to arrive at H. sapiens, as it were, now we find that the most important trait which differentiates us from them may have been derived from the Neanderthals ! :D

Dr. Solar Wolff
Thursday, November 9th, 2006, 05:00 AM
If European sub-races have larger brains than Out of Africa sapiens, where else but from Neanderthals could those big brains have come? Also please note in the article that it is Europeans who have this big-brainness, not Africans who were never exposed to Neanderthals and still have smaller brains as well as less intelligent ones.

Bridie
Thursday, November 9th, 2006, 12:09 PM
It's an interesting question... whether or not Homo sapiens sapiens ever interbred with Neanderthals. :) One I've never given too much thought.

Neanderthals are considered more primitive, with robust bones but a smaller intellects than modern humans.
It's always puzzled me as to why modern science seems so sure that Neanderthals were in fact intellectually inferior to modern humans. Of course, it's all just speculation... for all anyone can know, Neanderthals may have been intellectually superior, but never had the desire nor drive to create sophisticated technology over time as homo sapiens sapiens did (and are still doing today). Perhaps they were just so psychologically different from modern humans that we can't even begin to comprehend what life was like for them, nor what they were motivated by. Maybe they were vastly superior spiritually? Maybe they were emotionally more evolved than modern humans... who knows? But to pass judgement on an ancient population using modern values and perceptions would be a mistake in my opinon.

Still, with the physical appearance of Neanderthals being so strikingly different from homo sapiens sapiens, it's unlikely, I would think, that any interbreeding in significant numbers would have taken place. I'm sure the Neanderthals must have been somewhat repulsive to the homo s.s. then, just as the Australids are now to Euro Europids. Or perhaps even more so. Of course, some interbreeding has taken place between the latter mentioned races, but this has mostly been due to extreme and unnatural isolation of fairly large numbers of Euro males from women of their own race... thus leading the desperate males to resort to coupling with women they arguably found very unnattractive.

I wonder if this sort of sexual isolation was ever evident among homo s.s. males in ancient times (hunters? men off at battle?), leading them to interbreed with Neanderthal women? It would be more doubtful that homo s.s. women would have been so inclined to mate with Neanderthal men if modern behavioural patterns are anything to go by.

Bioblitzkrieg
Thursday, November 9th, 2006, 08:13 PM
I wonder if they will ever find a hybrid, i know there are homo sapien sapiens that have features that seem to resemble those of neanderthal to some degree in physical makeup, but theres not one shred of DNA that postulates interbreeding or a period of a hybrid population having ever existed, If neanderthal gained a robust skull "and brain" due to europes climate, its plausable modern humans did the same, in a sapien sapien form, it would look like a relation, when it could be parrallel although similar adaptation.

cosmocreator
Thursday, November 9th, 2006, 08:27 PM
If European sub-races have larger brains than Out of Africa sapiens, where else but from Neanderthals could those big brains have come? Also please note in the article that it is Europeans who have this big-brainness, not Africans who were never exposed to Neanderthals and still have smaller brains as well as less intelligent ones.


But then the question arises, where did Neanderthal get their big brains?

Bioblitzkrieg
Friday, November 10th, 2006, 03:33 AM
Neanderthals most likely had brains properly proportioned to the rest of thier face and skull, which were equally large. Ice age Europe was not an easy place to live in, thick bones and heavy layers of muscle were needed to survive, stocky and heavy set, immensely strong. these people looked like they took crow bar swings to the head, and most likely within thier lifespan, experienced such trauma, be it intergroup conflict, animal attack, or environmental situations in general. Although larger brains can signify higher intelligence, its not an absolute, the first rule is the proportion the brain is in accordance to the rest of the body.

Neanderthal were smart thats for sure, with early religous rites and the ability to fashion clothes and weapons, but in certain realms of abstraction and group based design, they were primitive if compared to the more recent newcomer, homo sapien sapien, whose technologically advanced skills and group mentality had a clear advantage over the neanderthal, the neanderthal were more physically specialized to survive in its climate, while modern humans were given less of a physical advantage and more of a intelligence based one, in the long run and by archeological evidence, the winner is clear. Wiether or not they ever intermingled has yet to be proven by science convincingly, atleast to me. DNA of a middle stage between the two species would have to be found, if mixing occured on any significant and impressionable level, there would have been specimins, and atleast one must be out there to find if this ever happened, lying under dirt in a cave somewhere in Europe. With the genetic traits found in both modern humans and neanderthal, as of yet, we have only concluded archaic modern humans with physical adaptations that seem to resemble traits in neanderthal, which could be from environmental conditions if severe enough, but genetically there is no case...yet. 1.1 Million years ago was long before neanderthal or modern human existed, we were still our common ancestor prior to our divergence as a species about 400,000 years ago, how it was introduced after a gap of over one million years though is beyond me, perhaps someone has more information on the discovery? with some of the data.

Oswiu
Friday, November 10th, 2006, 03:48 AM
they were primitive if compared to the more recent newcomer, homo sapien sapien, whose technologically advanced skills and group mentality had a clear advantage over the neanderthal,
To spell that out a bit more, the Neanderthals had a stone culture known as the Mousterian - various implements chipped off a stone core. The particular style of this toolkit remained constant for 200,000 years! By contrast, look what Modern Humans have done in the last 40,000 since we pushed the Ntls aside.
The archaeological horizon between Middle and Upper Palaeolithic comes from the sharp change in toolkits. The Moderns came along with a far more varied set of implements, and used bone and antler to great effect [something the Ntls hadn't really branched out into as far as I'm aware]. And with Moderns comes ART! Almost immediately after they took over. This points to marked cognitive differences between the two human [sub]species.