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View Full Version : Humans didnít outsmart the Neanderthals. We just outlasted them



PLogan
11-01-2017, 04:56 PM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/11/01/humans-didnt-outsmart-the-neanderthals-we-just-outlasted-them/?utm_term=.2b984746ad7a

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01043-z


In a new paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, Kolodny and his colleague Marc Feldman test a more basic hypothesis ó that the extinction of the Neanderthals was simply a consequence of population dynamics and bad timing. In most cases, it turned out, this was enough to account for the disappearance of our hominin cousins.

Neanderthals first emerged in Europe around 400,000 years ago. After evolving in Africa, anatomically modern humans arrived in Europe. There was a brief period of time, between about 51,000 and 39,000 years ago, when H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens shared the landscape ó maybe fighting, and definitely interbreeding. But at the end of that era only one species was left standing.

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ďIt's not that Neanderthals were these brutish, wide-shouldered, sort of advanced apes that roamed the land until we came over and beat them,Ē Kolodny said. ďIt's more that it was a companion hominin species that was very similar to us.Ē Indeed, it's conceivable that their fate could have been ours.

Saetro
11-01-2017, 08:35 PM
The argument that we replaced them because we were better comes out of the ascent of man idea of constant progress.
Maybe it's wrong, but the volume of comparisons has been fascinating.
There have been ideas that:

AMH could throw spears, Neanderthals could only stab prey.

AMH could speak, while Neanderthals could only grunt. Initially this seemed to be based on some sort of physicality of the throat, but that went.
It couldn't be brain size, because theirs were bigger, but we found a speech centre in the brain left signs in the skull of AMH having been more developed.

AMH had better technology. Maybe, but some of the technologies that were suggested as absent in Neanderthals have now been found with them.

AMH had better diet. Neanderthals lived mostly on meat so had to deal with toxic nitrogenous byproducts. (This may have been revised.)
AMH had better digestion. We have more copies of amylase genes and so could wring more energy from food.

And most recently, the observation that different haplogroups of humans were present in Europe before about 39,000 yBP and afterwards.
And that this time is when most Neanderthals died out.
One recent post suggested the chronology suited the massive eruption that happened then from the Vesuvius complex (the Phlegrean fields).
It was bigger than Krakatoa and smaller than Toba.

The numbers game in this present paper would apparently overwhelm these other factors, and account for replacement on its own.
We seem to have a winner, but it does not mean that none of the other factors was in play.
Just that this one was bigger.

Poldo
11-02-2017, 03:03 AM
It couldn't be brain size, because theirs were bigger, but we found a speech centre in the brain left signs in the skull of AMH having been more developed.

Neanderthals developed at a similar pace as contemporary humans.


AMH had better diet. Neanderthals lived mostly on meat so had to deal with toxic nitrogenous byproducts. (This may have been revised.)

Eating meat a significant impact on humans becoming what they are today.