Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Neanderthals and Humans Diverged 660K Years Ago

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the big-chests-big-brains-you-do-the-math dept.

Science 128

Death Metal Maniac writes "The team analyzed the DNA of 13 genes from Neanderthal mitochondria and found they were distinctly different from modern humans, suggesting Neanderthals never, or rarely, interbred with early humans. The genetic material shows that a Neanderthal 'Eve' lived around 660,000 years ago, when the species last shared a common ancestor with humans. Neanderthal brains were on average larger than those of modern humans."

cancel ×

128 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (4, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 6 years ago | (#24526777)

"when the species last shared a common ancestor with humans"

It seems to me that if they shared a common ancestor at any point, they'd always share a common ancestor.

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (5, Informative)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527127)

I think they mean "last" as in last point in time. My brother and I have a common ancestor in my maternal grandfather, for example, but our "last shared" common ancestor would be our mother (or father).

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (2, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | more than 6 years ago | (#24530403)

My brother and I have a common ancestor in my maternal grandfather, for example, but our "last shared" common ancestor would be our mother (or father).

Well, at least your mother. Maybe not your father(s).

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (5, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#24530693)

Oh come on. They probably had the same mailman for those two years.

Neanderthals and Humans Diverged 660K Years Ago

Odd, given the Earth is only 8000 years old and that Neanderthal (isn't it Neander t al now?) bones are planted by the Devil to deceive us.

Poor modding above (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 6 years ago | (#24531629)

That post may have been a little bad taste, doesn't deserve the troll marker though!

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (2, Informative)

nhaines (622289) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532465)

"Neanderthal" is German, and refers to Neander Valley. The spelling is historic and remains in Latin/scientific words and in English. Neander Valley is now spelled "Neandertal" in modern German and English. There is no /th/ sound in German, so the German pronounciation would be with a hard /t/ sound (and an 'ay' for the first e but that's picking nits).

Neanderthal Man is the pervasive English spelling, it was originally "Neanderthaler" in German but is now similarly spelled "Neandertaler". As noted above, the pronounciation hasn't changed, and "Neandertal" in English isn't strictly wrong either.

That's AN interesting ... (1)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 6 years ago | (#24531835)

and slightly scary point actually.

Upwards of 10% of all children aren't biologically related to their (supposed) fathers. The book "Sperm Wars" has a brilliant treatment of this and much much more (too effing lazy to link, so use google or something).

GAAAAK!!!!! (1)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 6 years ago | (#24531949)

ok, this is a study on michtochondrial DNA.. So if a Neanderthal impregnated Sapiens it wouldn't show.

I went to a talk where a professor seems to have found evidence of a gene that "invaded" sapiens 6-60k years ago.. One of the genes known to tweak brain development. Anyway the gene managed to outcompete it's sapiens homologue (it's now 20 ish percent of the world population), not that anyone really knows what the advantage is..

And no, their IQ's are no different than the normal.

Storm

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527157)

Well, since all life is presumably derived from a single-celled organism, everything has a common ancestor really.

What the article was trying to say was something like the latest common ancestor or when they diverged, although I think you probably realize that and are picking at the semantics. And I'm up for sem antics.

And since I guess its possible there are other species that diverged from either line after the split, it might not be quite correct to say "humans and neandertals diverged from each other..." The "human" group in that split may not have been very human. I'm guessing that's why they say "last common ancestor" rather than diverged. Any evolutionary biologists (amature or professional) care to comment?

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527355)

Nothing really surprising here. The multi-regional hypothesis crowd will still complain that it's mtDNA, and not nuclear, and thus can be ignored, while for everyone else it simply bolsters the Out-of-Africa theory that the common ancestor of Neandertals and modern humans was H. erectus, and the Neandertal line spread throughout Eurasia, spending a few hundred thousand years there before modern human expansion out of Africa, for whatever reason, knocked them into extinction.

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527375)

I think multiple genesis is far more likely than all life coming from one single-celled organism.

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527539)

How do you explain the preponderance of right-handed sugars, then?

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (3, Informative)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527781)

Two independent life forms could make the same right vs. left handed sugar choice with 50% odds. I find 1 in 20^64 magnitude odds more convincing: specifically the genetic code [rcn.com] .

All life just coincidentally decided that CAG was going to mean glutamine? And with the exception of a few codes in mitochondria and a few eukaryotes, the hypothetical multiple genesis also gave us random agreement on the meaning of 63 other codons? No. If every cell on Earth agrees on 55 out of 64 codes, and most agree on all 64, it's a very safe bet that their translation machinery was an inheritance from the same ancestor.

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (4, Funny)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527935)

Or that is just how FSM made them.

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528191)

Although, the likely explanation for that is that life was more uniformly distributed and at some point, the ones with the commonalities happened to out reproduce the others a little. It wouldn't even take all that much if it's a positive feedback, and the way living things "recycle" the bits of other living things they've eaten, it probably is. (i.e. it takes less energy to convert or filter if the food already contains the proteins you need in abundance)

Good point (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24529763)

All I'm refuting is the idea that there was no common ancestor to all the life we know of today. It's entirely possible that there were multiple genesis events but that our ancestral cells wiped out all the competition.

I'd still bet against it, though. It seems like the "first mover" advantage would be too great; any potential competition would be eaten before it even got to the stage where genetic codes make sense.

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 6 years ago | (#24529453)

It's not one single celled organism - it's one species of single celled organisms. This is never explicitly made clear when people refer to the last universal common ancestor - the term doesn't refer to an individual.

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24529573)

With horizontal gene transfer being as common in prokaryotes as it is, it seems more likely now that the root of the tree of life is probably a tangled bush of its own. It's quite likely that early single-celled organisms were swapping genes even across species lines (and remember, species tends to me something different when you're talking about a lot of prokaryotes).

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532761)

Why? All the evidence from the basic genetic machinery itself suggests the exact opposite. There is no extant life form on this planet yet found that doesn't fit within a single tree. Admittedly the bottom of that tree is bush-like because of probable horizontal gene transfer, but you pretty much have to have similar genetic mechanisms for that to even work.

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24529107)

Where my Dinosaur Bros At!

Holla@meh

Re:Are They Disavowing Their Ancestry? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24530423)

Well, since all life is presumably derived from a single-celled organism, everything has a common ancestor really.

That's assuming that several different single celled organisms didn't come into existent and being to evolve independently (or that if they did, only the descendants of one still remain). I'm going to guess that if we have any hope of life being common in the universe, that in an environment as conducive to life as Earth, that life sprung up in several different locations.

Ah, but... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527767)

... when did they last SHARE that common ancestor? I would have had to be just before they swore off incest...

Analyzing DNA (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24526785)

...so easy, a caveman could do it!

Re:Analyzing DNA (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 6 years ago | (#24530645)

Perhaps they were just a lot less violent than modern humans ?

Gandhi, after all, got about 10 million people killed.

Re:Analyzing DNA (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533815)

Gandhi, after all, got about 10 million people killed.

C'mon, you can't drop a bomb like that and not at least give a link. While Gandhi was probably not the saint that history has made him out to be, how do you figure he's responsible for 10,000,000 deaths, more than the Nazi Holocaust?

Re:Analyzing DNA (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533845)

I can't agree with the second part of your post -- an all-out war with England could have resulted in absolute genocide for India, as in there would be no India or far fewer Indians today -- but I do have to agree with the first part. Just because they were more primitive doesn't mean they were more violent. As science has shown before, even our Stone Age ancestors might well not have been as violent as we are. Cooperation, as opposed to conflict, with spread out societies was to their advantage in trade for a more varied diet and to prevent inbreeding. Sure, the conflict would've resulted in some inter-breeding, but good relations between the tribes would result in more and in trade, which could last generations. Violence would get them a short-term gain, good relations a long-term gain for less effort. And with so little competition for the same resources in their territory, what did they have to fight about? Racism? Bah. Racism is just the bullshit excuse leaders come up with to convince their people to go kill other people for them (which goes to show what air-headed suckers we humans are, considering how stupid that is).

In conclusion to this rambling diatribe, it is very possible that Neanderthals were far less violent than homo sapiens. It is, in fact, quite likely that early homo sapiens were far less violent than we're inclined to assume.

Wow, that's the most spelling errors FF has ever highlighted for one /. post with me. It's just 7:30 pm here and I'm already drunk. So, if this doesn't make sense, you know why.

Best Buy (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24526801)

The Neanderthal genes are alive and well and working in the consumer electronics department of your local Best Buy.

Re:Best Buy (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24526871)

You beat me to it, though I'd have mentioned a couple other places as well. Most of them involve people who wear guns for their occupation (or tasers) but then, that's a given... isn't it?

Re:Best Buy (2)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 6 years ago | (#24526939)

Are you referring to cops or to that guy that has a uniform and a badge and looks like a cop but is actually a Target employee

Re:Best Buy (3, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24526987)

Yes

That's unfair to the Neanderthals (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527329)

Quoth the summary: "Neanderthal brains were on average larger than those of modern humans." I'm sure comparing them to those is insulting the Neanderthals ;)

Re:That's unfair to the Neanderthals (2, Informative)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24534379)

Size [washington.edu] isn't everything:

adult human 1,300 - 1,400g
sperm whale 7,800g
fin whale 6,930g
elephant 4,783g
humpback whale 4,675g
gray whale 4,317g
killer whale 5,620g
bowhead whale 2,738g
pilot whale 2,670g
bottle-nosed dolphin 1,500 - 1,600g

Re:Best Buy (1)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528909)

Best Buy consumer electronics department staff have larger brains than normal humans on average? Well maybe larger than the average Best Buy shopper.

Re:Best Buy (1)

mdm42 (244204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24531089)

You beat me to it... I was about to mention my current employer [mikro2nd.net] ! (About to be my ex-employer at the end of this month.)

Re:Best Buy (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533597)

While offtopic; I was buying a tv a couple months ago, a best buy salesman openly insulted me, calling me an idiot, for not purchasing service by their geek squad to adjust my color and contrast for me. The service cost as much as the tv.

He claimed it would extend the life of the tv, but had no idea from or to what. I guess he was right, I was an idiot to try and buy a tv that won't last without adjusting the contrast.

I went to Sears and happily paid a few more bucks for the same model.

660K years vs. 10K? (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 6 years ago | (#24526951)

If I'm not mistaken, our civilization is only about 10,000 years old.

If the Neanderthal had bigger brain, there is a possibility that they had a civilization. That civilization might have discovered fire, internal combustion engines, rockets and even 27KM long particle accelerator.

The last traces of the neanderthal is about 30,000 years ago.

What I want to know is whether or not they found the Higgs boson before they went extinct!

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24527107)

Brain complexity > Brain size
 
  I haven't heard of too many elephant or whale civilizations found yet

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (5, Interesting)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527271)

Actually it's the ratio of brain to body mass [wikipedia.org] that really matters. Neaderthals may have had a slightly higher range of brain mass (not much [wikipedia.org] ) but they were much more massive creatures. And Neanderthals DEFINITELY had fires, and probably even rudimentary religious or spiritual beliefs. That does not a civilization make, but they are within our same species most agree.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527627)

There's a lot of debate as to what human-like abilities the Neandertals did possess. There are only a few burials, and while there does seem to be some ceremonial aspect to them (suggesting at less some capacity to invoke and comprehend symbolism) they're pretty damned primitive. Technologically, the Neandertals spent much of their time on this planet in a stasis. Advancement and innovation was excruciatingly slow, with much of it happening in the final few thousand years when they seem to have picked up on what the invading modern humans were doing, at the very least trying to remain competitive.

Of course, the flipside to that is that anatomically modern humans spent a good chunk of their time on this planet in the same sort of stasis. Sites in the Levant where Neandertals lived and where the first modern humans came out of Africa show that for thousands of years you could tell little difference between the two on technology alone. At some point over the last 100,000 years something changed in the way modern humans' brains were wired that saw a blossoming of symbolic thinking and technological and cultural innovations. Unfortunately, wiring doesn't get fossilized, and the best theory based on very slim evidence seems to be that a major complexification of language, from earlier more primitive proto-languages to fully modern language probably played a big part in this. The fossil evidence suggests that hominids have had the structural ability for a million years or more. We've got a long way to go on this one, and what's going to start to answer some questions is if we can start finding enough Neandertal nuclear DNA to start looking at genes like FOXP2.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1, Funny)

pionzypher (886253) | more than 6 years ago | (#24529061)

Unfortunately, wiring doesn't get fossilized

Remind me to introduce you to my boss sometime.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24530935)

Unfortunately, wiring doesn't get fossilized

Remind me to introduce you to my boss sometime.

Allow me to introduce you to your pink slip sometime

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

ClarkMills (515300) | more than 6 years ago | (#24529647)

So there the Neanderthals were trucking along nicely for hundreds of thousands of years. Then they start to copy the humans and promptly disappear. Perhaps we should take note... ;-)

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#24531683)

At some point over the last 100,000 years something changed in the way modern humans' brains were wired that saw a blossoming of symbolic thinking and technological and cultural innovations.

That's when the monolith appeared.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532249)

Technologically, the Neandertals spent much of their time on this planet in a stasis. Advancement and innovation was excruciatingly slow....

Hey! You're describing the place where I work!

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 6 years ago | (#24534179)

Actually it's the ratio of brain to body mass [wikipedia.org] that really matters

This, I have never believed. What should body size have to do with intelligence, and why should bigger be worse? Midgets have full-size heads; are they smarter than 6 ft. adults?

If you ask me, the significance of EQ is simply that it's a quantitative measure that humans happen to win.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#24534311)

Like anything in life or science, there are always exceptions. For a given population of large enough size, the distribution for mature adults fits linearly. A sperm whale has a brain mass of 7.8kg [wikipedia.org] , about 6 times ours. They are, however, between 25 and 55 Mg, which is far greater than six times our own mass. Hence, we are smarter. With a larger body, you need a bigger brain to pull off the same feats. It's not that simple, but it holds for the most part.

With midgets, things fall apart. You can't use those data points because they just completely fall apart. People affected by dwarfism do not fit the regression that the rest of the population does. It is, as they say, the exception that prove the rule [soton.ac.uk] .

Neanderthals were a bit more evolved, though (4, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527801)

That may be so, but we have plenty of signs that Neanderthals were every bit as evolved as the Cro-Magnons (humans) at the same time.

They did use fire. In fact, occasionally they seem to have even used coal, something Homo Sapiens never really got into until Renaissance. They also cut down trees and used wood extensively. They skinned animals and used the skins. They used traps to hunt, in addition to spears. They built elaborate shelters. Their weapons and tools are every bit as evolved as those of the Cro-Magnons, and they too used tools to build other tools. (A chimp may sharpen a stick into an ad-hoc tool or weapon, and then discard it. Humans and Neanderthals built a wooden mallet to chip a flint axe, to cut a branch, to make a spear. Then keep them.) There are signs of _some_ work specialization, which also involves at least some societal organization and maybe even some primitive trade. (As in, I'll give you a leg of antelope if you make me a good spear.) They not only buried their dead, but there are signs of using grave goods and basically ritual burial. That alone hints at some primitive religion and a concept of afterlife. (You don't bury someone with food and weapons if you expect that he's just dead and rotting, and has essentially just ceased to exist.) But, at the very least, it means they probably had a few abstract concepts there, like remorse. We found stuff from them like a femur with holes drilled in it, very likely a primitive flute or such. They seemed to have decorated themselves with primitive jewellery and paints. That's a few more abstract concepts you need for those. Etc.

Basically, seriously, it's every bit on par with primitive Homo Sapiens. Go look at some forgotten tribe in the Amazon, like the recent ones who were trying to shoot arrows and chuck spears at a helicopter, and the Neanderthals weren't any less advanced than those.

The _only_ puzzling shortcoming about Neanderthals, is that there we found no missile weapons from them, nor any sign that they ever used missile weapons. Which may point at some shortcoming of their brain after all. Still, I wouldn't qualify someone as non-sentient, after they did all I've listed above and more, just because they can't do ballistics.

Re:Neanderthals were a bit more evolved, though (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528881)

That may be so, but we have plenty of signs that Neanderthals were every bit as evolved as the Cro-Magnons (humans) at the same time.

I think what you meant to say was "as anatomically-modern humans". They were definitely not as advanced as Cro-magnons, which were the first modern-looking *and* behavorially modern humans in Europe. There's some evidence that in those last years, the Neandertals tried to catch up with the technical prowess of Cro-magnons, but they ran out of time. It was Cro-magnons who are responsible for the European cave paintings, and thus demonstrate themselves to be technically and culturally fully modern humans. Neandertals and other distaff H. erectus descendants throughout Eurasia never did that sort of thing.

Re:Neanderthals were a bit more evolved, though (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528995)

No, I genuinely meant to say "Cro-Magnons." I do some typos all the time, but not that big ;)

Re:Neanderthals were a bit more evolved, though (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24529191)

But toolkit-wise and behavior-wise, Cro-magnons were significantly more advanced than Neandertals. There's pretty much a line in the sand between Neandertal-dominated Eurasia and the arrival of the Cro-magnons. Cro-magnons were a part of a wave of modern humans that left Africa somewhere around 50k to 60k years ago and ended up everywhere (including, in the last century or so Antarctica). There were earlier modern human populations, the ancestors of the Cro-magnons are their close cousins who branched out into Asia, Oceania and ultimately into the Americas, largely constrained to Africa (but with some populations in the Levant apparently living relatively close to Neandertals in the region) who showed little or no technical or cultural difference from those Neandertals, but that was earlier than the Cro-magnons.

Re:Neanderthals were a bit more evolved, though (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#24530315)

> we have plenty of signs that Neanderthals were every bit as evolved as the Cro-Magnons

Well given that contemporary Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, as well as frogs and mushrooms, are all presumed to share a common ancestry, they are all precisely as evolved as each other.

I wish people would stop using the word 'evolved' to mean whatever it is that they would like it to mean and use it for what it actually means.

Re:Neanderthals were a bit more evolved, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24531163)

Here's a thought:

Basically how evolution works, is that the stronger species survives. Doesn't necessarily mean the most intelligent or advanced species.

Knowing this, and knowing how humanity treats those who are different. Chances are neanderthals could have been the forerunners of technological advances at the time, humans were the ones who adapted, then once human became on par, they decided to kill the neanderthals off because they looked different or because of their beliefs.

I mean, it isnt any different from what we do today. Entire races of people have been completely and utterly wiped out and others have been nearly wiped out because of superiority issues. If we're still like this, 600k years later, our ancestors were more than likely the same, and the neanderthals, probably weren't. Looking at skeletons and the technology they created, they had the upper hand against humanity, but either due to lack of a structured language, lack of sexual interest (like, compared to humans, may have been similar to other species and only mated when necessary, where humans in general will fuck whenever.) or the urge to kill due to differences, they got wiped out, or slowly died out from thousands of years of persecution, genocides, or from lack of reproduction, or assimilated into the human race (as there is evidence of those with european ancestry have some ties to neanderthals, and are actually fairly intelligent ;) ) Given there are stories of giants, trolls, and demons in european folklore, mass neanderthal graves found in europe, it seems like there may have been differences between them and humans, and humans being completely irrational and fearful of that which is different, more than likely raped and killed the species off, and is more than likely why we're the top ape-like species. We killed the competition.

Re:Neanderthals were a bit more evolved, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24533897)

Basically how evolution works, is that the stronger species survives.

Nope, that's a common misconception, probably having to do with that it appeals to testosterone-addled young males. Its the species that is the best at survival, which is often not the strongest. It could be the weakest. Survival = adaptability, not strength and toughness (though toughness does help).

Doesn't necessarily mean the most intelligent or advanced species.

You ae absolutely right there.

Re:Neanderthals were a bit more evolved, though (0, Flamebait)

imkonen (580619) | more than 6 years ago | (#24532049)

That may be so, but we have plenty of signs that Neanderthals were every bit as evolved as the Cro-Magnons (humans) at the same time.

[snip]

...That alone hints at some primitive religion and a concept of afterlife

It think it's a debateable point that having religion is indicative of a more evolved state :-).

Re:Neanderthals were a bit more evolved, though (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#24534037)

Yes, but they could never get the hang of sanitising telephones, and that lost them the race.

- RG>

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528863)

That's because they're too smart to associate with you. You should see the videos of their ninja assassins in action.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24527173)

Here's a funny thought. They DIDN'T go extinct. They just got fed up with this planet.

So, they constructed a generation ship in orbit, disassembled all traces of their civilization and vamoosed. They're out in the OORT cloud somewhere, trying to decide whether they're going to continue on to Proxima or return to Earth and whoop ass.

I hope they come back. I get bored sometimes.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527949)

So, they constructed a generation ship in orbit, disassembled all traces of their civilization and vamoosed. They're out in the OORT cloud somewhere, trying to decide whether they're going to continue on to Proxima or return to Earth and whoop ass.

I hope they come back. I get bored sometimes.

They left the planet long ago
The elder race still learn and grow
Their power grows with purpose strong
To claim the home where they belong...

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#24529561)

So, they constructed a generation ship in orbit, disassembled all traces of their civilization and vamoosed. They're out in the OORT cloud somewhere, trying to decide whether they're going to continue on to Proxima or return to Earth and whoop ass.

I hope they come back. I get bored sometimes.

They left the planet long ago
The elder race still learn and grow
Their power grows with purpose strong
To claim the home where they belong...

Expect a return sometime around 2112.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24527189)

If the Neanderthal had bigger brain...

Bigger is not always better. Besides, it's the depth of the creases in the brain that are indicators of intelligence, not brain size or mass. Otherwise, Einstein would have had a head the size of Texas.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (5, Funny)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527587)

The last traces of the neanderthal is about 30,000 years ago.

So, would you call the neanderthal's situation an Epoch Fail?

Industrial civilization unlikely (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24527675)

Notice that cheap metal ore gets used up by industry: yet there was plenty around to fuel the human industrial age.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

dn15 (735502) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528125)

If I'm not mistaken, our civilization is only about 10,000 years old.

If the Neanderthal had bigger brain, there is a possibility that they had a civilization. That civilization might have discovered fire, internal combustion engines, rockets and even 27KM long particle accelerator.

I've fantasized about the same possibilities, and it's fun to contemplate. But how likely is it to be true at this point, considering that we haven't already found supporting evidence? Sure, a few hundred thousand years is a good long time for much of it to be destroyed and ground to dust. Yet if Neanderthals or some other dead race had had much beyond than batteries made out of lemons, why haven't we found even some basic artifacts or ruins from their vehicles, factories WalMarts, and nuclear reactors? We find impressive dinosaur fossils all the time and they're millions and million of years older.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528727)

I hope everyone realizes that my above post was meant to be humourous, and not to be taken seriously.

It's Friday after all!

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (3, Insightful)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 6 years ago | (#24529223)

If we've come to the point where we can permanently scar the earth with steel and asphalt, fling robots at other planets, and embed millions of miles of cables in the earth with just 10,000 years of recorded history, it is difficult to imagine that their entire 630,000 year civilization left less of a mark than 6 skeletons

It's almost as if these "scientists" and archaeologists were completely making up any crazy numbers they wanted (as long as it's less than 300 million and more than 10,000), and couldn't scientifically verify them using any current methods. Oh wait, that's exactly what they are doing. True science dies a little more every time drek like this is published.

Re:660K years vs. 10K? (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24530107)

This is a rather bizarre comment. Hunter-gatherer societies don't support large numbers. Whether it's Neandertals or moderns, if you're a hunter-gatherer, you need, depending on the environment, a rather large area of territory to make your living from (this is leading theory in the Neandertal extinction, that moderns simply out-competed them. 10,000 years ago, at the beginning of agricultural revolution, there weren't exactly a lot of people out there, but agriculture allowed for much more efficient use of the land, upping the calories one could expect from an acre by orders of a magnitude.

This isn't exactly a hard concept, but I get the sense that yet another person with a chip on their shoulder, rather than understanding the differences between two very different food acquiring models could make such a huge difference in population density, would rather run around making funny faces at sciences.

OMG!!! In just six years.... (2, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527171)

The divergence will have been 666k years ago.

Re:OMG!!! In just six years.... (5, Funny)

Born2bwire (977760) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527201)

Bah, 640K is enough for everyone.

Re:OMG!!! In just six years.... (4, Funny)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527403)

good math, sir.

Did you use a neanderthal calculator when you turned 6k into 6?

Re:OMG!!! In just six years.... (2, Funny)

kat_skan (5219) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527899)

6k is equal to 6 for very... very, very, very large values of 6.

Re:OMG!!! In just six years.... (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528231)

Then I have some car insurance to sell you. :-)

Re:OMG!!! In just six years.... (0, Flamebait)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 6 years ago | (#24530597)

Geico? So easy, a caveman could do it!

Re:OMG!!! In just six years.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24528477)

good math, sir.

Did you use a neanderthal calculator when you turned 6k into 6?

He's just working inductively from the base case k=1.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24528631)

the neo-con calculator that is used to calculate our budgets.

that's impossible! (2, Funny)

pxuongl (758399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527341)

that's impossible! the world's only about 6000 years old.

Re:that's impossible! (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527701)

that's impossible! the world's only about 6000 years old.

Of course, but time is cyclical. There have been many Creations and Armageddons in the past. So what this means is that 110 universes ago, Neanderthals and Humans were related.

Oblig. Futurama (1)

Chr0me (180627) | more than 6 years ago | (#24529547)

time is cyclical

Nope. Straight line.

6,666 more years to go ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24527481)

Bwuahahahaha

Complete mitochondrial sequencing (4, Interesting)

swid27 (869237) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527559)

Since the summary didn't mention it (but TFA did), this is a big deal since unlike previous Neanderthal DNA analysis [isogg.org] , this is the first time anyone's published a complete mitochondrial DNA sequence.

The sequence has 206 differences from the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence [wikipedia.org] , which is about double the number of differences ever found in any modern human.

The authors believe they can extract enough uncontaminated autosomal and sex chromosome DNA have the rest of the genome done sometime next year.

It will never happen, but (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528679)

it would be interesting to clone this guy. I suspect that we will find more neanderthal material down the road that we can re-create enough of their DNA to make it possible. The hard part is that it would have to be done by a private enterprise. Few govs. would allow this to happen.

Re:It will never happen, but (0)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533571)

And for good reason they would not let this happen. I mean I'm all for scientific research, but this blows every moral limit existing out of the water.

This guy (girl ?) would be parentless, possibly violent and retarded. He would not tell us much about their civilization, since that's "software" and we can only clone the "hardware". He'd just depend on us and die, at worst he'll strike oil and become like the middle east.

Then what do we do ? Clone 20 and let them start breeding an army ? Then when they finally figure out how to hurt us, after 100 or 200 years, we eradicate the lot of them ?

I mean it will be VERY hard indeed to merely keep most modern humans alive & peaceful in the next 50 years. Any specific reason you want to bring back actual wild, but extremely intelligent monkeys ? Or alternatively called really dumb humans ? In case you've never been to africa : monkeys beat the crap out of humans all the time, and tend to steal in organized parties, commander, orders and basic language are all present. Dunno if they involve any prophets. So do humans, unless civilized (as long as you don't mistake "have fancy cars" and "civilized", this is an easily defensible position)

Let's not create this. It'd be horrible for the created, and a disaster in waiting for the creator.

Re:It will never happen, but (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#24534427)

wow. So this went from scientific curiosity to see exactly what would be created, to creating slaves/armies, etc.

As to blowing moral limits out of the water, what is the difference between NONE human humanoid, and a sheep? Do you have an issue with Dolly? See, that is the problem. I do not believe that this is unethical. But I know that ppl like you will be putting pressure on govs. not to do this. Fortunately, private enterprise is more likely to do this.

As to the creation of the armies/slaves, well, here is a clue; what does it cost to keep a slave, even a domesticated humanoid? A lot. What does it costs to keep a robot, which are about to start arriving? A lot less. Go back and read the article about our troops flying UAV needing psych help. The last thing we or any nation wants is an army of expensive dumb soldiers.

Really? Shocking! (4, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527597)

Giving the bizarre sexual practices you can find recorded on line, I find this rather amazing. It just seems that some hard up adolescent cave boy from one species would end up finding some slower running female of the other species more often than that....

Re:Really? Shocking! (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527685)

That's actually a big argument for why humans and Neandertals may not have been able to produce viable offspring. As the lesson of the European sailors during the Age of Exploration shows, regardless of physical differences between populations, people like to fuck. We're only best by Bonobos in the horny ape department, and if some humans can get off on copulating with sheep and even inanimate objects, it's hard to imagine them not making it a Neandertal.

Not just that (4, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528217)

Not just that, but it's sorta funny when you look at the mitochondrial DNA (inherited strictly from the mother) vs Y chromosome mutations (inherited strictly from the father) for any human invasions or migrations, all the way to the earliest tribes. Invariably you can track the Y chromosome mutations sweeping across the land with the invasion, but the mitochondrial DNA tends to lag behind or even stay put.

Virtually all migrations and invasions _fucked_ their way across a continent. They displaced or killed the males, but then proceeded to "recycle" the newly widdowed women.

It makes sense too, since for most of human history females had a life expectancy of about 2/3 that of men. Birth and birth complications took a pretty heavy toll. So there'd be a steady supply of widdowed men who are still young and horny. You know, given that their life expectancy wasn't high enough to reach andropause. That was in fact a major cause of tribal warfare, and as late as ancient Rome and Greece we find it documented that getting women was an integral part of warfare.

The Romans, for example, demanded women from the defeated Teutones in IIRC 102 BC, in an infamous episode remembered mostly because the german women killed their children and commited suicide rather than comply. They first begged to be at least used to tend the temples of Ceres and Vesta instead, but the Romans refused, and the rest is history.

So indeed it would be mighty peculiar if the same pattern didn't apply to Neanderthals. The offspring must have been sterile or non-viable.

Re:Really? Shocking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24527849)

Is there anyway to mod this +1 Funny AND +1 Insightful ?

I might be silly.. (4, Interesting)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527807)

Or perhaps I'm thinking "romatically", but I seriously believe that stories of trolls are the last vestiges of memory of the interaction between humans and Neanderthals. The whole meme just seems to fit so well with the established evidence. This, of course, does not mean a truth - but some part of me wants to believe it is. Perhaps looking at ancient stories from northern societies about trolls or troll-like creatures might provide some insight into their behavior and primitive society. (Matrilineal, etc). Course if wishes were ponies, I'd be up to my eyeballs in manure.

Re:I might be silly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24529477)

Read Julian May's Pliocene Epoch novels. Good reads and interesting take on the troll/fairy/boogey man legends

Re:I might be silly.. (1)

alleycat0 (232486) | more than 6 years ago | (#24531613)

...except that trolls belong to myths about "the little people", but Neandertals were more *massive* than H. sapiens (especially at that period in time)

Re:I might be silly.. (1)

yali (209015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533017)

I have a very similar theory about the origin of dragon [flickr.com] stories.

Re:I might be silly.. (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533483)

I swear, half the people living deep in the Finnish forest are trolls. They're not recognized as such though, and the males are forced into military service. There they are given assault rifles, violate each and every safety rule during target practice.

It's terrifying. I'm staying near the coast these days.

ps. They don't seem to be allied with the gnomes living in in our major cities.

Trolls (1)

dark-nl (568618) | more than 6 years ago | (#24533859)

I think those stories are much more likely to be from recent displacements, specifically the stories that expanding farming populations told about the hunter-gatherers that lived in the forests around them.

Re:I might be silly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24534449)

Or perhaps I'm thinking "romatically", but I seriously believe that stories of trolls are the last vestiges of memory of the interaction between humans and Neanderthals.

Don't be silly, they didn't even have an internet.

Atlantis! (1)

BigAssRat (724675) | more than 6 years ago | (#24527889)

It is now obvious how it is possible that Atlantis existed. Neanderthal Atlantis, not human Atlantis. Makes perfect sense now.

And that, children... (3, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528057)

... is where 'Chavs' come from.

not a statistically valid sample (1)

Iowan41 (1139959) | more than 6 years ago | (#24528307)

There are a number of problems and unexamined assumptions here, starting with the rate of mitochondrial mutation, comparative attractiveness of neandertal females to african males, and african females to neandertal males, and that 13 samples is by no means sufficient to evaluate a race that lived from Gibraltar to England, to Israel, to the Himalayas.

Best Buy / Geek Squad (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24528389)

Hey, I resent your insensitive remarks about Best Buy employees being Neanderthals.

Some of us belong to Homo Habilis!

so smaller is better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24531449)

Whew that is a relief. I haven't been this relieved since my 5th cousin twice removed was involved in one of those teacher student sex scandals and found out it wasn't in the papers because he was home schooled.

Humans and Neadertals Interbred, live with it. (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#24531951)

Just because we don't share mtDNA, there could have been human females impregnated by Neanderthal Males. That could have been the case. Plus there are some features in Neanderthals that have been seen in certain European / Eurasian populations.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>