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Thread: Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

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    Lightbulb Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

    by E.J. Mundell

    HealthDay Reporter
    Mon Oct 30, 5:03 PM ET


    MONDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- There may be a little Neanderthal in all of us.That's the conclusion of anthropologists who have re-examined 30,000-year-old fossilized bones from a Romanian cave -- bones that languished in a drawer since the 1950s.

    According to the researchers, these early Homo sapien bones show anatomical features that could only have arisen if the adult female in question had Neanderthal ancestors as part of her lineage.

    The findings may answer nagging questions: Did modern humans and Neanderthals interbreed on a significant scale? And were the Neanderthals exterminated about 28,000 years ago -- as some anthropologists contend -- or did they gradually assimilate into the gene pool of people living today?

    "From my perspective, the replacement vs. continuity debate that raged through the 1990s is now dead," said the study's American co-author, Erik Trinkaus, a professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. Trinkaus comes down firmly on the side of the assimilation theory.

    "To me, what happened is that the Neanderthals were [genetically] absorbed into and overwhelmed by modern humans coming into Europe from Africa, and they disappeared through this absorption," Trinkaus said.

    His team published its findings in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

    Neanderthals first appeared in Europe and parts of western Asia about 230,000 years ago, evolving from the Homo erectus strain that moved into Europe from Africa about one million years ago. Neanderthals dominated Europe until the arrival of modern Homo sapiens from Africa about 40,000 years ago. Then they began to fade out. The last fossil traces of the Neanderthals were found in Spain and are about 28,000 years old.

    For much of the 20th century, anthropologists (abetted by the popular media) cast this battle between the two groups as the elimination of "brutish" Neanderthals by the more highly evolved modern humans.

    But Jeffrey Laitman, a specialist in early human craniofacial anatomy at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said today's scientists don't give that scenario much credence.

    "There's not this shining moment where the Neanderthals all disappeared because we ran out of the forest and clubbed them to death," said Laitman, who was not involved in the new study. Still, debate has raged as to whether the Neanderthals were a separate species who simply lost their competitive edge with modern humans and died off, or whether they gradually mixed their genetic heritage with those of the invaders.

    According to Trinkaus, a collection of bones discovered in the Pestera Muierii cave in Romania in 1952 holds the answer. The bones, most derived from an adult female, consist of a cranium, a shoulder blade, a leg bone and other fragments. Because they were found lying on the cave floor's surface, the fossils were originally dismissed as being modern and remained unexamined for five decades.

    But then Trinkaus' Romanian co-authors decided to radiocarbon-date the fossils. They found that the woman actually died about 30,000 years ago, during the Upper Paleolithic era, when Neanderthals and modern humans were thought to co-exist. Examining the bones, Trinkaus discovered certain features that he believes are Neanderthal elements incorporated into this early Homo sapien.

    Features at the back of the woman's skull and in her lower jaw, especially, "are found in high frequency in Neanderthals" but are absent in bones from older groups of Homo sapiens from Africa, he said. There's also the intriguing find that the woman had a relatively narrow shoulder blade, or scapula. Modern humans have relatively wide scapula -- useful for throwing spears and other developed technologies. But the woman's scapula is narrower and "more similar to what we see in Neanderthals," who are not thought to have used these more advanced technologies at the time, Trinkaus said.

    The bottom line? The Pestera Muierii bones are "basically modern human fossils with these characteristics that are very easy to derive from Neanderthals through some kind of interbreeding, but are very difficult to derive -- if not impossible -- from what we know of the anatomies of early modern humans out of Africa," Trinkaus said.

    He pointed out that genetic sublimation of one group into another happens all the time, even across mammals considered to be from wholly different species. For example, the North American black duck is being gradually subsumed and eliminated by interbreeding with the European mallard, Trinkaus said. As a result, the genetic code of mallards in Europe now contains significant DNA from the disappearing black duck. Similar blendings are also occurring between wolves and coyotes, and between domestic cats and wildcats, he said.

    A process very much like this probably occurred over time between Neanderthals and modern humans, Trinkaus concluded. But not everyone is convinced. Laitman, director of Mount Sinai's department of anatomy, called the study "extremely interesting," but added that it "does not provide the magic bullet that pierces the mystery of what happened to the Neanderthals."

    He said that people on the other side of the argument -- who contend that the Neanderthals maintained their unique genetic code up until the end -- still point to certain "derived traits" in the fossil record. "Indeed," he said, "some of the very last surviving Neanderthals have some of the most pronounced of these traits," countering the notion of a more gradual blending with modern humans.

    Scientists at Pennsylvania State University and elsewhere are also working on reconstructing the Neanderthals' genetic code, using bits of DNA extracted from fossilized bone. Preliminary results of that work appear to refute the intermixing theory, tilting toward replacement instead.
    But Trinkaus called the replacement theory "out of date." He believes there's now solid evidence that Neanderthals and humans met and co-mingled both socially and sexually.

    They may not even have been all that different. "When these two populations met, they saw each other as human beings," Trinkaus said. "They blended socially as well as biologically. To me, that tells us a lot about Neanderthals. And if we think that Neanderthals were a lot more primitive than modern humans, then maybe modern humans were a lot more primitive, too."
    Maybe Neanderthals are just another variant of Humans.... or an deviation leading to some strange shapes.
    "And God proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, that there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, or of which they are to be such good guardians, as of the purity of the race. They should observe what elements mingle in their offspring;..." Plato Politeia

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    Re: Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

    This rather old article had come to the conclusion that we are not related to them. I wonder if this has now been disproven.

    This is also of interest.

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    Re: Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

    There is no genetic evidence that they interbred.

    There's an article in the Sept 2006 issue of Discover magazine on this. A paleogeneticists names Svante Paabo has constructed a full Neanderthal from bones from different sites. He's also using bones from a Neanderthal site in Croatia to study it's DNA. He'll have the result within two years.
    .

    IHR Revisionist Conference, April 24, 2004, internet broadcast:

    http://www.internationalrevisionistconference.c om/

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    Re: Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

    Archeologists have dug bones of a Scythian individual, buried together with chariot and horse someplace in China. He is now in a lab in Germany. They claim there are chances to extract amd specify his DNA. If that‘s true archeology will come back with answers, being asked for years. And raise plenty more.

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    Re: Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

    The question is: What is the "Neanderthaler" really.
    * A man like species
    * A race on its own
    * Just a deviant (clines or individuals with a sickness or specialisation)

    If it's not a separate species I do not see a reason why they won't intebred with humans. Not that this is impossible.
    "And God proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, that there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, or of which they are to be such good guardians, as of the purity of the race. They should observe what elements mingle in their offspring;..." Plato Politeia

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    Re: Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

    We already have plenty of bone evidence which show Neanderthal features in both Upper Paleolithic people and modern Europeans. Where do you think Coon got this idea way back in 1939? The issue is now DNA. This is because DNA is a much higher level of proof than any bone studies. There are new DNA studies indicating Neanderthal mixture. There is also a study showing much more genetic variability in older Neanderthals than younger. With Pigmies and Negroes, gene flow only went one way, to the Negroes. It could very well be the same with sapiens and Neanderthals. Perhaps hybrids only existed within the larger sapiens population or existed only as hybrids in their own clinal population which was later absorbed by sapiens.

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    Re: Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

    I think it's entirely possible they may have interbred. Since they lived in close proximity and had similiar lifestyles it seems inevitable. Human-neanderthal hybrids probably existed for a time during the ice age, but later died out due to sexual selection.

    There may be no conclusive dna evidence for interbreeding, but there are only a handful of neanderthal remains to test. Even if there is no y-dna or mtdna record doesn't disprove interbreeding. I think neanderthal physical genetic traits such as sloping foreheads, receding chins, and heavy brows live on in people of the cro-magnon subrace.

    For example, neanderthal male+human female produce hybrid female, which in turn means no neanderthal y-dna is inherited, but physical traits do pass on.

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    Re: Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

    Quote Originally Posted by SecondRow View Post
    For example, neanderthal male+human female produce hybrid female, which in turn means no neanderthal y-dna is inherited, but physical traits do pass on.
    And her hybrid sons mate with sapiens women and so produce no Neanderthal mtDNA. In other words, in as little as two generations, all Y-chromosome and mtDNA evidence of Neanderthals can be erased.

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    Re: Modern Humans, Neanderthals May Have Interbred

    "Almost all the other European bones of early Upper Paleolithic date also have Neandertal features. The number and frequency of such features in this earliest Upper Paleolithic sample are greater than in any later sample."

    This link analyses their findings.

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    Wink 2008 Articles

    Several articles have been published late 2007 and again in early summer 2008 indicating that there was legit evidence of genetic crossbreeding. Also several articles from the same time frame saying they have not.

    I tend to think that 1) they have no real clue or 2) they are attempting to hide evidence that there was interbreeding for politically correct reasons relating to race.

    There was also a very recent article published that indicated that the genetic material indicated that Neandertals had red and blonde hair. I just want to point out the only records of red and blonde hair exist in populations that have intermingled with European populations thru migration and war. In Asian steppes where it is common to find these features, it is well established that some of the ancestral peoples came from European stock. Even if it makes the Chinese upset.

    Just keep in mind I have also seen articles claiming that they ate red meat as a large part of their diet and another just published in the last week indicating that those that lived by the oceans were well able to exploit ocean resources by eating dolphin, seal, shell fish and what not. So basically Neandertal research is still heavily shaped by bias and I suspect politics. To suggest that Europeans may have ancestors that other human groups do not necessarily have is something that would concern the status quo and the current regime.

    Unfortunately the whole of the world is colored by politics and that includes sciences of all types. I have a good friend who wrote his dissertation on the politics of sociology it infuritated him so much. And that every accepted thoery was unaccepted and challenged by the status quo of the time that it was introduced.

    1)My feeling is that there is evidence to think that this happened but not enough to know difinitively. 2) Genetic testing and knowledge will advance and tell us things that absolutely shock us in 10 years 3) The history of human evolution will change again in the next 10 to 20. 4) I find it suspicious that blonde and red heads of two distinct species came out of the same geographic region and apparently nowhere else.

    Lastly - can anyone explain Asians and shovel teeth. Does it not seem weird to have a group with teeth that have a different structure. My point is we are still learning, so no one can really say for sure.

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