Author Topic: Are Europeans part Neanderthal?  (Read 128 times)


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Are Europeans part Neanderthal?
« on: October 11, 2007, 05:00:55 PM »
Pretty much.. ;D

Aug. 22, 2006 —

Individuals of European descent may be 5 percent Neanderthal, while West Africans could be related to an archaic human population, according to a recent study of genes of people from Yoruba and individuals living in Utah with ancestry from Northern and Western Europe.

Since both groups spread, the find suggests we all have a bit of archaic DNA in our genes. This counters the view that modern humans left Africa and replaced all other existing hominid populations.
- Neanderthals: Still in Our Genes?


The replacement hypothesis has also been applied to Europe, where people from Asia and the Middle East are cast as newcomers into Neanderthal territory, displacing them completely over a period of some five thousand years (a view held by Cambridge archaeologist Paul Mellars and a majority of other researchers in the field). If we look at the European mtDNA gene pool, we find that no lineages go back any further than 50,000 years (Richards et al 1996); this time depth corresponds roughly to the entry of the Aurignacian culture into Europe from the Middle East (Mellars 1992). Recent comparative analyses of contemporary human and fossil Neanderthal DNA indicates that Neanderthals split from our ancestors as early as 700,000 years ago, and that there was no subsequent interbreeding (Krings 1997 and 1999). Again, the analysis was done on a small part of mDNA, and relies on a genetic clock argument.

Loring Brace argues instead that Neanderthals simply evolved into modern northern Europeans. His skull measurements show that Neanderthals cluster with one and only one modern population: that of Britain and Scandinavia. Robust features of the skeleton, such as brow ridges, simply vanish when the selective force of evolution is no longer active. That the process of that reduction in robustness by which modern appearance arose, he argues, is why virtually all early Upper Paleolithic groups present a kind of 'mixed' appearance.

This story can be told with great precision using data from teeth. Brace writes, "As soon as earth oven cookery became a standard part of Neanderthal food-preparation practices coincident with the onset of the last glaciation, tooth size began to reduce at the rate of one percent every two-thousand years.  There was a reduction of about 30% of total tooth size between the early Neanderthals of around 130,000 years ago and the "classic" Neanderthals of 50 to 70,000 years ago.  Then between 50 and 35,000 years, there was another 10% drop to the point where there is virtually no difference in size between the last people being called Neanderthals (and really more because of stone tool typology than what they actually looked like) and the oldest Upper Paleolithic specimens.  And if one looks at the shoulder reinforcements of those same specimens, they are perfectly intermediate between earlier full Neanderthal form and that of living Europeans.  Tooth size continued to drop and the difference in tooth size in living Europeans and the early Upper Paleolithic is greater than the difference between the latter and the classic Neanderthals.  The assumptions of two distinct populations living in different areas is a product of mind set and not of the data."

These dramatically different models -- and the genetic evidence still favors the Out of Africa hypothesis -- both require further data before the debate is over. A more extensive analysis of Neanderthal genes beyond mitochondrial DNA would go some way to clear up the question. Further fossil finds may also throw light on the debate.

In April 1999, Portugese archeologists reported the discovery of a hybrid Neanderthal-Cro Magnon child dating from 4,000 years after the commonly agreed date of the disappearance of full Neanderthals (see media report (local) and Discover article (external)). The view that the skeleton represents a hybrid is contested, however; Brace suggests it is simply another example of the gradual reduction in robustness that was taking place across European Neanderthal populations, which in his view did not disappear but change into modern Europeans.
- Challenging the Replacement Hypothesis in Europe 

Mistah FAB "Ghost Ride It"


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Re: Are Europeans part Neanderthal?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2007, 06:09:40 PM »
tha niglet is back, good evening
Cause I don't care where I belong no more
What we share or not I will ignore
And I won't waste my time fitting in
Cause I don't think contrast is a sin
No, it's not a sin