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Our Closest Relatives, the Neanderthals By: Stephen Thai.

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Presentation on theme: "Our Closest Relatives, the Neanderthals By: Stephen Thai."— Presentation transcript:

1 Our Closest Relatives, the Neanderthals By: Stephen Thai

2 Introduction Homo Neanderthalensis Lived in Europe and Southwestern Asia 138,000 to 28,000 years ago Mostly an Ice Age Never numbered more than 100,000 1856, Neander Valley, Germany 1 st Neanderthal skulls discovered


4 Neanderthals and Humans Common Ancestor Homo Antecessor 465,000 – 600,000 years ago 378 unit mtDNA strand Humans did not evolve from Neanderthals No evidence of interbreeding (yet)

5 Out of Africa Theory 1 million years ago Homo antecessor migrates out, evolves into Neanderthals Remaining homo antecessor in Africa evolve into Homo sapiens 100,000 years ago Humans migrate out, replacing other hominids

6 Neanderthal Bodies Relative to Humans 5 ft, 185 lbs Larger noses, heads, bones, muscles Bulkier, stronger than humans Efficient and well suited to cold environments Less agile Short limbs, wide pelvises


8 Language Hyoid Bone Allows humans to produce wide range of sounds necessary for language FOXP2 Language gene Responsible for humans cognitive ability to understand complex language Both present in Neanderthals Did they speak a language?

9 Brains Approximately 20% larger than human brains But proportionally, Neanderthal brains were smaller Back of the brain Deals with sight and touch Well developed Front of brain Deals with speech and thought Relatively small compared with back Left side of brain larger than right Right handed Shorter childhood Less time to develop cognitive abilities

10 Brain Sizes

11 Culture Social Unit Consisted of extended family members Took care of the sick and injured Mostly lived inside caves Like humans… Knew how to use fire Constructed complex temporary structures for shelter when migrating Skinned animals Lacked art

12 Burials 1 st known hominids to bury dead Was it a ritual or simply to avoid attracting scavengers? Sites contain multiple individuals Usually inside caves/ rock shelters Some filled with items and pollen Intentional or no? Occasional cannibalism

13 Interaction with Humans Usually avoided each other when possible Increasing numbers of humans in Neanderthal habitats made avoidance harder Culture Changes Adoption of bone and ivory tools Puncturing holes into animal bones for decoration Early form of art for Neanderthals


15 Hunting Mostly hunted, occasionally foraged Well suited to walking, running, hunting Thickness and high density of leg bones Killed using stone point spears and axes Rarely used ivory or bone until human interaction Women and sometimes even children hunted Both men and women sustained numerous injuries from hunts – broken limbs Few lived older than 30 years

16 Extinction Theories Climate Change Sudden swings between warm and cold rapidly changed environment Killed off many species that Neanderthals depended on for food Not intelligent enough to develop technology for surviving cold, esp. compared to humans Extinction coincided w/ coldest period of Ice Age Natural selection would favor humans Fails to explain extinction in Middle East/ SW Asia

17 Extinction cont. Competition with Humans Homo sapiens more technologically advanced Better tools for hunting and survival Division of labor Human women did not hunt – gatherers Neanderthal women hunted – higher rates of death Result: reduced birth rates and survival rates of young children for Neanderthals More humans competing with less Neanderthals

18 Sequence the Neanderthal genome DNA extracted from femur bone of 38,000 year old male fossil, Croatia Helped in discovery of FOXP2 gene Neanderthal Genome Project DNA similarities Human and Chimpanzee: 98.77% Human and Neanderthal: 99.5% Possible interbreeding?

19 Summary Common ancestor Homo antecessor 465,000 – 600,0000 years ago 1 st migration out of Africa – evolved into Neanderthals 2 nd Migration – evolved into humans Neanderthals bigger, stronger, bulkier May have spoken a language Had hyoid bone and FOXP2 gene Proportionally smaller brains Culture Social units essential to survival First known hominid burials Both men and women hunted Extinction Theories Climate Change Competition with humans Neanderthal Genome Project

20 References Hall, Stephen S. "Last of the Neanderthals." 2008. National Geographic. Accessed 2 Nov. 2008 Krause, Johannes. "The Derived FOXP2 Variant of Modern Humans Was Shared with Neandertals." Science Direct. 6 Nov. 2007. Elsevier Ltd. Accessed 24 Nov. 2008 5&_user=961305&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=c000049425&_version =1&_urlversion=0&_userid=961305&md5=ce8c9f9e49901592bc557891c8948c9e 5&_user=961305&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=c000049425&_version =1&_urlversion=0&_userid=961305&md5=ce8c9f9e49901592bc557891c8948c9e Kreger, C. David. "Homo Neanderthalensis." Archaeology.Info. 2008. Accessed 8 Oct. 2008 Mellars, Paul. "The Fate of the Neanderthals." Nature. 8 Oct. 1998. Accessed 3 Nov. 2008 "Neanderthal." BBC - Science & Nature - Horizon. BBC. Accessed 2 Nov. 2008 "Neanderthal Men, An Extinct Race." Old and Sold. Accessed 3 Nov. 2008 "Neanderthals." Ecotao. 7 July 2008. Accessed 30 Oct. 2008 Noonan, James P. "Sequencing and Analysis of Neanderthal Genome DNA." Research Article. 17 Nov. 2006. Science Mag. Accessed 24 Nov. 2008 O'Neil, Dennis. "Neandertals." Evolution of Modern Humans: Neandertals. 17 Oct. 2008. Accessed 24 Nov. 2008 Tattersall, Ian, ed. "Neandertals." Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation. Accessed 3 Nov. 2008

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