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Neanderthal extinction


Aardvark
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We ( our homo sapien ancestors ) entered Europe at the end of the last Ice Age. This coincided with the extinction of the Neanderthals who had existed there for thousands of years.

 

What happened?

 

Are we to blame? Ancient ethnic cleansing? Natural displacement of an inferior species? or another reason, disease? or the changing climate at the end of the ice age.

 

Any comments, suggestions or questions?

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Originally posted by Aardvark

We ( our homo sapien ancestors ) entered Europe at the end of the last Ice Age. This coincided with the extinction of the Neanderthals who had existed there for thousands of years.

 

What happened?

 

Are we to blame? Ancient ethnic cleansing? Natural displacement of an inferior species? or another reason, disease? or the changing climate at the end of the ice age.

 

Any comments, suggestions or questions?

OK. I am a bit puzzled. Comment on what? Your chronbollogy is off by about 2000%, and there are other issues I am unsure you are asking or not asking. If you can be specific...I shall do my best to find you an answer.

 

Bill

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Evidence shows that extinction of neandrehtals coinsides with our arrival in Europe, WHY? We're not sure, but here is how:

 

1. We came in large groups of up to 100, they lived in small families...strength lies in numbers.

 

2. Technology; we made light, sharp spears equipped for throwing, whle they made heavy spears which made them get extremely close to their pray to kill, resaulting in death, and less successfull kills.

 

3. Way of thought; we were ever more inventive, creating all the time and eventually resaulting in the creation of art. They used old technologies from the start of human kind, and could not comprehend such things as art.

 

4. Language; we had the ability to make many different noises thanks to a special bone in the throat (i forgot its name) and though new evidence showed they might have had the same ability as well, most scientists doubt that they had the gift of language.

 

5. Numbers; In their peak, there were only 100,000 neandrathals in the world...once again...strength in numbers.

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His question is did we cause the extinction of neandrathals, and the answer is yes, since the time we arrive in wurope and the time neandrahtals became extinct, little by little came at the same time.

 

The first conflict was in Israel..as there were MANY neandrathal and homo-sapien bones there...go figure...

 

You can correct me as you wish, since I never truly researched this from many different sources.

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  • 4 months later...

Who says we caused an extinction event. New to these threads and everyone speaks as if they are the leading authority on what ever they discuss. Some of these posters, from the threads I have read seem to be experts on a myriad of fields. I am a post grad biologist but will not claim to speak from a posistion of absolutes.

 

Anyway...

 

There is no conclusive evidence to suggest Homo sapien sapien was the root cause of the Neanderthalis species downfall.

 

There are suggestions that the 2 species possibly mingled and definatley some fossil dig evidence to show that they did mix to an extent in terms of the culteral artifacts found with them.

 

H. sapiens and neanderthals did share the same land mass for at least 5000 years and maybe longer.

 

To say that Neanderthals also died out beacuse they had no language is not true at all.

 

To start with there is no evidence to suggest that they had no language. "Most scientests say..." Do they? Well I dont. Secondly I would find it hard to believe that such a close evolutionary species to our own did not have a language. Perhaps it wasn't as fine tuned or contained the same level of grammar or syntax, but I would be sure they had a level of language all the same. Also many other species do well without language... even if Neanderthals only had a form of vocal communication this would have sufficed to serve their needs. I would also go on to suggest that at the time H. sapien language would have been extremely simple when compared contempory language. It would not have been much more advance than that of the Neanderthals when compared to the language we use now.

 

What is talk of conflict about? I never read any anthropological science that refers to a conflict between these two species.

 

I would prefer to think that some interbreeding occured and the Neanderthal population dwindled peacefully into our own. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest a violent end to the Neanderthalis sp. at all.

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I read in a scientific american mag a couple of months ago that some genetic comparisons between neanderthals and modern europeans suggested there was little or no interbreeding, don't much about the paper though because it was sci am.

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I've also heard theories that suggest, as well as language, one of the advantages H-sapiens had over Neanderthals was the domestication of dogs? Would anyone put any weight in that theory (considering that I know virtually nothing about this subject ;) )?

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You have to look at Neanderthal's bodies. They are very adapted to cold environments. When things started to warm up again, the homo species started to occupy more space, use more of the resources, etc.

 

The warmer seasons and more humans running around, we can imagine disease could have been a factor too.

 

There are any number of reasons for their extinction, including others mentioned here. It was inevitable. They were less able to adapt and it seems their brains just weren't as big when it came to thinking in abstracts and such.

 

I think it was inevitable. They weren't the best model of humanity compared to the humans that were evolving around the equator.

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I believe neanderthals were(and the fosil record proves it) better and more developed than we are. Next to one of them, any of us would look like a wimp, so, one on one,a Neanderthal would beat us up always.They had, aside from a better build, a larger brain. The fact that we did better(from our poit of view) tools does not say we were more inteligent, perhaps they were more specialized and stressed out with our precense, in the same way inmigrants move into an area, and the locals move out. Adaptation is said to be the equivalent of inteligence, saying that Neanderthals did not adapt, but, stubborness and refusing to give in is also a consecuence of inteligence, perhaps Neanderthals did not want to share with us, did not like us, and, in the end, not because neanderthals were less inteligent, but more exquisite, they perished. Homo Sapiens Sapiens is a bad hominid(like chimps, our closest living relative) quarrelsome, vengefull, envious, rivalry and evil in a way, perhaps this bad qualities we have served us to displace a more noble race of men, which although physically more fit and developed, only reacted when cornered, like a gentle giant,which made Homo Sapiens Sapiens more prone to rome in big numbers in order to asure victory over confrontations with Neanderthals. { This is a fact, compare, for example, populations of chimps in different areas of Africa, some are more aggresive, some pigmy chimps are even leadered by females, and, compare chimps with gorillas, one quarrelsome, the other is not, or, Lions, which are social, with Tigers, which are not}...Remember, Neanderthals were proven more agile, strong, and even bigger brained, so, 10 of us against 2 or 1 neanderthal might had been the way we(unfortunately for us) anyhilated our family.

I am sure we destroyed their world, but they did not disappear because of being less inteligent,{ hyphoid bones have been found, Neanderthals had the ability to speak}... on the contrary, if you are a profesional, educated person, and hoodlums and white trash people move into your area, even if you are a black belt karate guy, you are not going to get into fights with these loosers, you would elect to move out from the neighborhood.A similar process, a lenghty one, took place, I believe Neanderthals did not trust nor wanted us around, Homo Sapiens earned that dislike by invading and acting in the way it knows best to act, quarrelsome, mean and irrational. Also, a never ending supply of invaders from Africa was too much pressure for the fixed number of Neanderthals in Europe and Asia.

 

Jaime

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perhaps Neanderthals did not want to share with us, did not like us, and, in the end, not because neanderthals were less inteligent, but more exquisite, they perished.

 

Well, i've never heard Neanderthals described as 'exquisite' before.

 

You have an interesting hypothesis that Neanderthals were actually gentle, cultivated creatures. But what is your evidence? From examinations of grave goods and excavated artifacts they don't show any particular cultural development that would back up those ideas.

 

PS, it would be easier to read your posts if you used paragraphs.

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It's hard to know for sure what actually happened. We can discuss and compare physiology and anatomy and extrapolate on that data all we want, but it still can't really prove it 100%. But, would most people agree that Darwin's survival of the fittest law applies here?

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I like your nice Neanderthal hypothesis too, but from what I've seen of the Flintstones :P...

 

I'd like to see a discussion on the socialogical impacts of smaller family groups vs large "packs". Do you think that families created a nicer environment and less tension between Neanderthals? Or that packs created greater environmental stress meaning that sapiens "evolved" to become more aggressive?

 

I saw a nice discussion here about the concept of religion and evolution, I'd like to link that into here. Could it be that with abstract concepts like art (as you have said) and religion are directly caused by a large pack mentality? With specialised hunters and gatherers, there would be some with spare time who could be devoted to praying to the gods and painting. I recall hearing about some paintings really really deep into a cave, so clearly the painter had a lot of time to waste.

 

 

 

 

 

But even more interesting, could it be our abstract thought (as opposed to linear thought) that kicked out the neanderthals? I mean we haven't really proved that Neanderthals were straightforward thinkers and we were lateral, but it would be an interesting thought.

 

I don't presume to think that we'll solve the neanderthal problem here, I just like to think about the more interesting consequences of what we say

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Several years ago I read an article in a science mag - probably "Discover", that research indicated a possible connection between the Neanderthals and the Basques. That research doesn't appear to have evolved into any thing significant - if it did, I didn't find anything on the net about it.

 

As to why they disappeared - maybe it was a disease-based situation. Maybe they were similar enough genetically that that they could contract diseases carried by Cro-Magnons, but had no antibodies to fight them - Just as the Native American population was decimated by measles.

 

Also - if indications are that they remained in small tribes and didn't intermingle much, even with members of there own species, it would have played hell with their gene pool. Even if they did intermingle, travel during ice age conditions would have been very difficult for them. Did they have the ability to make fire?

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Also - if indications are that they remained in small tribes and didn't intermingle much' date=' even with members of there own species, it would have played hell with their gene pool. Even if they did intermingle, travel during ice age conditions would have been very difficult for them. Did they have the ability to make fire?[/quote']

 

Yes, they did have fire. They seem to have been able to cope with the ice age conditions very well. Physically, they well better adapted to the cold than Homo Sapiens who have a tall lean frame more suited to tropical climates.

 

The remaining in small groups doesn't seem to have been a genetic problem but possibly it reduced the degree of cultural development. This may have been a factor in being out competed by Homo Sapiens.

 

For the record, my opinion is that culturally more advanced Homo Sapiens simply displaced the Neanderthals, resulting in their extinction. A case of a 'superior' species being more effective at communication and exchange of ideas and concepts was able to gradually monopolise limited resources.

 

I thinks thae law of survival of the fittest does apply here.

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When neanderthal and homo sapiens met which would have been many occations, each occation would be different. Some groups would fight because of thier differences, others would have befriended each other. I believe interbreeding occured but over thousands of years the neanderthal genes became smaller and smaller.

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Some groups would fight because of thier differences, others would have befriended each other. I believe interbreeding occured but over thousands of years the neanderthal genes became smaller and smaller.

 

That is an interesting possibility. On what grounds do you believe it?

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The Neanderthals probably became extinct by losing every war they ever fought so I can see a possible French Connection there.

 

If that were the case their skeletons would have spear points embedded in the posterior pelvic bones.

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Now you are thinking of the Italians.icon7.gif

 

 

 

I feel entitled to post this flagrant deriding of the Italian military prowess on the following basis. I began a conversation with an Italian friend with the intention of gathering information that would help refute the standard jokes [How many gears does an Italian tank have. Four reverese gears and one forward in case the enemy attack from behind.]

I eased into the conversation, because although he was a good friend I did not want to give offence. Despite prods he was not offering anything, so I said, "The Roman Army was the finest fighting machine the world has ever seen and arguably has not been bettered till the twentieth century. Which particular aspects remain a part of the Italian Military.' He looked at me as if I was retarded and replied with a laugh, "None. We're crap at fighting. We prefer eating marvellous food, drinking fine wine and making love. That doesn't leave any time to learn how to fight properly."

 

 

Now what was this thread about??

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"I'd rather have a German division in front of me han a French division behind me"...General Patton.

 

Anyway those poor Neanderthals, brainy or brawny, a mere blip on the radar screen of life. I don't know if some of you remember this particular scene from 2001: Space Odyssey. A group of early homo sapiens chased off their territory by a rival gang of stronger hominids. Homo Sapien sits around when one of them picks up a wooden stick and starts hammering away at a bunch of old bones, bashing in a few dry skulls when the proverbial light bulb goes off in one's mind and the next thing you know, mankind has invented weaponry. Did Neanderthal possess the ability to wage war? Because if he didn't then Homo Sapiens, who we all know has made war an art form, win the planet.

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Sarcasm? Hmmmm maybe, but the point is not beating someone to death with a club but having a brain capable of thinking about beating someone to death with a club for gain. Did Neanderthal possess this wisdom or grasp the concept of warfare? Like the Dodo, Neanderthal never saw it coming.

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