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Neanderthal Genes Found In All Non-African Populations

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the bumping-really-uglies dept.

Science 406

Med-trump writes "Neanderthals, whose ancestors left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago, evolved in what is now mainly France, Spain, Germany and Russia, and are thought to have lived until about 30,000 years ago. Now scientists have identified a piece of Neanderthal DNA (called a haplotype) in the human X chromosome and conclude that this haplotype is present because of mating between our ancestors and Neanderthals. The study was published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution."

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Someone needs to check. (2, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804762)

Someone needs to do a little digging to make sure this isn't just an elaborate piece of GEICO astroturfing.

Re:Someone needs to check. (2)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804808)

Errr, more to the point, January called and it wants its (mildly but not excessively) controversial news back.

Re:Someone needs to check. (4, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804850)

I thought it was "homo sapiens and homo neanderthalensis miscegenated and the latter genes still exist in humans" in January.

Now it's "if you aren't 100% African, you're part Neanderthal."

Re:Someone needs to check. (1)

TheDarkNose (1613701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804870)

I thought the former has been known for a while now.

Re:Someone needs to check. (0, Troll)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804924)

Is it politically correct these days to use the phrase "Homo" in front of any words? Can't be to sure, you know. This also explains the urges I keep having to go club some animal to death and half cook it over an open fire. (Could also explain the tendency to howl at a full moon)

Re:Someone needs to check. (1, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805024)

Get out of here and take your 2 million+ user id with you. You're no nerd. Go back to Fox News.

Re:Someone needs to check. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805146)

Where in the hell did 2021702 come from? LMAO, I probably have posted on /. a grand total of 50 times. Maybe it is just because I am a voracious reader? Fox News? You sir have insulted my integrity and honor, I refuse to even program any Fox channels in any of my TV's. I challenge you to a duel of wits. Oh wait a minute, you already lost withe the off-hand Fox News comment. you may now return to your Trolling, nit-wit. ;O)

Re:Someone needs to check. (1, Redundant)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805330)

it's the serial number of your account, ie. you are the 2021702nd user of /.
He is calling you a noob.

Re:Someone needs to check. (4, Funny)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805182)

What was that?

I'm sorry, I can't read when 6-digit UIDs post.

Re:Someone needs to check. (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805608)

Put on yer glasses Grandpa. Let me go fetch yer cane so you kin whoop the young whippersnappers fer being uppity.

Re:Someone needs to check. (4, Funny)

rk (6314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805812)

Eh, sonny? Speak up! My hearing aid batteries have given up, and I need my grandson to take me to Walgreens on account of my rheumatiz actin' up.

Re:Someone needs to check. (2)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805076)

Is it politically correct these days to use the phrase "Homo" in front of any words? Can't be to sure, you know. This also explains the urges I keep having to go club some animal to death and half cook it over an open fire. (Could also explain the tendency to howl at a full moon)

you'd prefer gay sapiens and gay neanderthalensis maybe?

Re:Someone needs to check. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805164)

Only when gay means happy and carefree. I was only making a joke, lets not get into a pissing contest because of my intended humor.

Re:Someone needs to check. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805394)

"you'd prefer gay sapiens and gay neanderthalensis maybe?"

Wouldn't it be better to use the terms GLBT sapiens and GLBT neanderthalensis

BTW how do you pronounce GLBT anyway.

Re:Someone needs to check. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805528)

You prepend on the unwritten fa, the L, B and T are silent.

Re:Someone needs to check. (-1, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805388)

-1 Fucking Moron

Re:Someone needs to check. (0)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805430)

I am a noob I am told and just totally crushed by all the cutting remarks. I shall now go laugh at some other dim-wits.

Re:Someone needs to check. (4, Informative)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804968)

As far as I understood it, it was that the evidence suggested - to some degree of certainty - that the genes of all extra-African races were different from sub-Saharan African races to a level that agreed with Neanderthal sequences. Obviously the errors were large - and acknowledged in the studies - but so far as I understood the reasoning for the implications, Homo Sapiens was reputed to have interbred with Homo Neanderthalis at least in the Middle East at about the point that we left Africa, simply because all of us who aren't predominantly sub-Saharan African have the same gene sequence as some recently-sequence Neanderthal fossils.

So far as that goes, fair enough. I remember reading a lot of that kind of thing a good few months back. And a natural implication is that anyone who isn't sub-Sahran African probably has Neanderthal in them. (Entertainingly, of course, many sub-Saharans also will. This is due to humans, err, interacting constantly and repeatedly and the effects propogating through populations. But the studies took that kind of simple-minded thing into account, of course.)

In other words (3, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804816)

The Neanderthals didn't become extinct so much as they merged with H. sapiens.

Re:In other words (-1, Troll)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804902)

Creationists have been predicting this since 2003: http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v25/i4/neandertal.asp [answersingenesis.org]

Re:In other words (1, Troll)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804970)

So creationists have been arguing that evolution is true, and that we're the descendents of Neanderthals? Oh no, that's not it at all. You're "predicting" that Neanderthals were just like we are, and that "sub-humans" could never have been created. GTFO

Re:In other words (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805070)

No, that's a creationist site summarizing what we'd already learned at that point about Homo neanderthalensis, and then throwing in some nonsense about "evolutionary bias" and some other nonsense. They made no predictions at all, and predicting that in 2003 wouldn't have been much of an accomplishment anyways.

The page looks like one of those "scientific consensus was wrong at some point, therefore the Bible is the way to go" arguments they love so much.

Re:In other words (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805402)

No, they made believe that H. neadertals were just a race of H. sapiens, and certainly didn't believe that anyone before H. sapiens ever left Africa. Actually, I suspect almost none of them even believe that humans came from Africa at all.

more like we genocided them (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805054)

i have read some of the archaeology people's writings, and uhm, they have a nice euphemism. "outcompeted". they look at burial sites and so forth to chart the spread of the species.

and uhm. the neanderthals were mass slaughtered.

actually its pretty common in history, from the genetic records, to have waves of populations come in and slaughter the existing population, completely displacing it.

yay us.

Re:more like we genocided them (5, Interesting)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805486)

You missed the part where they've found evidence that most humans have Neanderthal genes.

I always wondered why the assumption was genocide, when human communities tend to favor marriage to members of adjacent groups, and by most accounts I've read, Neanderthals would have been almost indistinguishable from anatomically modern humans, anyway. It just always seemed to make the most sense that the Neanderthals would have simply been absorbed by the larger group.

Re:more like we genocided them (3, Interesting)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805704)

how would they be almost indistinguishable? They were more muscular, stockier, and had very prominent orbital ridges.

Re:more like we genocided them (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805878)

Watch football much?

Re:more like we genocided them (2)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805730)

waves of populations come in and slaughter the existing population, completely displacing it.

GP doesn't necessarily contradict this theory. It makes sense to me. They killed all the males and kept the females for pleasure, many of which resulted in offspring. These offspring came to dominate to the point that very few tribes existed that were not tribes descendants of this hybridization. Not too hard for me to believe.

Won't quiet the racists (3, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804834)

Somehow I doubt that telling those white supremacists that they're the ones descended from Neanderthals and that the Africans are the only group lacking Neanderthal DNA would do anything to change their perspectives.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804876)

It is pretty awesome though to know scientifically that Africans are the only ones whose ancestors didn't mate with genetically "inferior" stock... or at least, they didn't have any children that lived.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (4, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804938)

>>explain to me why we need that much overlap? i understand the different roles that each branch fills.. but there is zero reason why each of them can't use the same data center.

How do you know Neanderthals were genetically inferior?

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805006)

How do you know Neanderthals were genetically inferior?

Maybe because there's not too many of them around anymore. Or maybe they were just completely assimilated

Re:Won't quiet the racists (2, Informative)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805262)

Seems like there is a bunch of them, no?

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805268)

Maybe because there's not too many of them around anymore.

You're missing the point, Mac. Most of the human race is partly of Neanderthal stock. Ipso facto, there's plenty of us still around.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (4, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805278)

Or maybe they were just completely assimilated

Yes. Many of them (Neanderthals) are in Congress, even as we speak.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805350)

That's irrelevant. "Genetically inferior" has no meaning. Are ants inferior? If so, why are there so many of them and so few of us? Instead, we assert our current existence to be the pinnacle, and rate other creatures on a scale of how close they are to us. Not to mention that there are other factors that could have resulted in one species thriving while the other went extinct that was irrelevant to "genetic superiority" and instead adaptability or disease resistance or such. Perhaps the "genetically inferior" were less aggressive, so they were killed off, despite the fact they were smarter and stronger or whatever trait you associate with "genetic superiority."

Instead of proclaiming who is better or worse with subjective labels, why not define the underlaying definitions in your assumptions and address those specifically?

Re:Won't quiet the racists (2, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805230)

you *have* watched Olympic track and field right?

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805680)

Neanderthals are extinct. They were evolution's losers. QED.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (3)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805788)

>>Neanderthals are extinct. They were evolution's losers. QED.

No.

The whole point of this article is that they're still around. And not only are they still around, but they are still around in all the countries that are currently "winning" the global game of Civilization

Since Neanderthals left Africa first, and are currently still around in the Civs that have been teching the fastest, one could make the argument that their genes are superior.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (3, Informative)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805782)

Indeed, cross-breeding generally results in the deficits in each species diminishing and the strengths aggregating. It's a phenomenon known as heterosis [wikipedia.org] or hybrid vigor. The explanation is simple: dominant genes tend to be those which benefit the species (natural selection will tend to eliminate dominant genes which retard the species). Mating with an organism that contains a vast number of completely different genes which gives you a whole new set of dominant genes. Gene's that you didn't have to mutate in your own ancestral lines It's a genetic gold mine.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805160)

The Neanderthals actually had larger brains than humans did so it is doubtful they were intellectually inferior. More likely they were substantially intellectually superior in some areas but inferior in others.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805294)

Consider the big interspecies battle of the Pleistocene. It was Homo v. Panthera. Big cats were preying on hominids until hominids developed weapons and language to communicate and operate in large groups until pantherines were extirpated from areas of hominid settlement which allowed for agriculture. With sapiens as a less robust animal than neanderthalis, the need for collectivism eventually was understood. It's rather difficult to farm when every is being eaten by a cave lion Atrox or otherwise. Perhaps Neanderthal Man was too much of an individualist to compete.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805776)

they were not individualists, but they did live in small (30 person) clans. Their large muscle mass required a high protein diet so they had to hunt to survive.... literally.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805766)

you're an idiot... they had significantly larger amounts of muscle mass which correlates to brain size due to the increased need for muscle control.

Neanderthal had no significant culture until they encountered humans and did not change their social behaviors much at all in their entire existence.... both point to low abstract intelligence.... also known as the metric that humans use to measure what is colloquially considered intelligence.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (5, Interesting)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805276)

"Inferior" Homo Neanderthalensis lived as a distinct group for half a million years, surviving the toughest conditions imaginable with very limited technology, I's say that the modern hiker, who dies of exposure/starvation in 40F weather within 200 yards of a road is inferior! Could you live a night wrapped in several animal hides, probably without a fire, in ice age weather -70F?

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805816)

That inferior Homo neanderthalensis also evolved to live during a specific climatic period with specific fauna and as specific group sizes. those factors changed and they were very easily overcome by a much more flexible Homo sapiens sapiens.

Homo sapiens sapiens got the important genetic adaptations to survive in the region from Homo neanderthalensis inter breading, after that there was little that Humans could not do. All they needed was a few more layers of clothing than H. neanderthalensis.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804896)

Why should it change their mind? Neanderthal is a label that we attached to some image we made up in our minds. But 30,000 years ago, WE WERE ALL CAVE MEN.

BTW: Every black run area I know is a dump and rife with corruption. But the truth is not politically correct, too bad.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805106)

BTW: Every black run area I know is a dump and rife with corruption. But the truth is not politically correct, too bad.

I think it is more of a tropical thing. Toxoplasmosis and other like infections do some weird things to brain chemistry and that could give the appearance of inferior races. The problem is that AFAIK it is incurable. It's the tropics that make people lazy and it may not only be the heat.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805400)

I was talking various cities/towns in the States as well.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805424)

Well, thirty thousand years ago there was pronounced differences between Neandertal and modern H. sapiens toolkits. If you go back about 100,000 years where, for instance, Neandertals and modern-looking humans lived in close proximity in the Levant, the striking thing is that the toolkits were very similar.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804958)

Why would it? If you believe one race is genetically superior to another, why would hearing that there's a specific genetic difference attributable to a different race change that? It's obvious to me the white supremacist would then claim we got the best of both worlds -- Neanderthal physical toughness with white/Aryan/whatever intelligence, or something like that.

In fact, it would appear you're being racist, in your implication that the Neanderthal race is inherently worse than other races... on the basis of what, cranial volume of a few fossils? Look into all the equally "scientific" rubbish used to justify subjugation of non-whites back in the 19th century, you'd fit right in! When you can show me the average Neanderthal man's score on an IQ test is below 100, I'll be happy to agree Neanderthals are an inferior race; until then its so much "we're the best thing ever" arrogance with just enough scientific trappings to make it acceptable.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805034)

In fact, it would appear you're being racist, in your implication that the Neanderthal race is inherently worse than other races... on the basis of what, cranial volume of a few fossils?

On the basis that they're extinct.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805854)

In fact, it would appear you're being racist, in your implication that the Neanderthal race is inherently worse than other races... on the basis of what, cranial volume of a few fossils?

On the basis that they're extinct.

If TFA is correct then neanderthals live on in all of us who are not of pure sub-Saharan African descent.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805120)

"In fact, it would appear you're being racist, in your implication that the Neanderthal race is inherently worse than other races... on the basis of what, cranial volume of a few fossils?"

Where did you get *that* from? Yes, plenty of people have done that (though technically they're not being racist; Neanderthals are a separate species to us, and don't try and pretend different species can't interbreed because they can and any definition of "species" that works will yield separate "species" that do so - if you don't believe me, get a fucking education) but can you point out where TWX did that? Be serious, he didn't. You're just taking an excuse to jump on an agenda and setting up something that isn't even a strawman in the process.

Seriously, if you're gonna debate at least fucking do it properly. He said "Somehow I doubt that telling those white supremacists that they're the ones descended from Neanderthals and that the Africans are the only group lacking Neanderthal DNA would do anything to change their perspectives."

Firstly, it's obvious to me that he's joking, and I'm not even American and don't have so many fucking white supremacists in my country. Secondly, he's simply making a joke about white supremacists having to acknowledge that *they're* the ones descended from Neanderthals rather than some mythical pure-blood Homo Sapiens line, and never doing so.

What's the problem? Fuck all, except your own idiotic prejudices.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805582)

"In fact, it would appear you're being racist, in your implication that the Neanderthal race is inherently worse than other races... on the basis of what, cranial volume of a few fossils?"

Where did you get *that* from?

His neanderthal girlfriend.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804982)

Because I'm too lazy to look it up, explain to me what part of "whose ancestors left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago" means they're not from Africa?

Re:Won't quiet the racists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804984)

I'm sure they'd then simply start saying that their superiority comes from the Neanderthal part. I mean, after all, it's not like white supremacists can claim they're not descended from apes, can they? I mean the observational evidence is pretty strong, isn't it?

Sure, sure, mod this "flamebait" you idiots, because thousands of white supremacists are going to jump out of the woodwork and flame me.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804994)

Why would you ever suppose that it would?

Re:Won't quiet the racists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805184)

well no shit, because blacks are monkeys

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805198)

I think it's interesting to consider the fact that it might be used as evidence for actual species level genetic differences between "whites" and "blacks". You know, if ignorant racists are capable of understanding things like genetics.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805526)

White people are living proof that Africans fucked Neanderthals.

Sorry, couldn't help it. That was a silver platter if ever I saw one. I'm "white," BTW, whatever that means.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

Servaas (1050156) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805726)

White people are living proof that Africans fucked Neanderthals.

Rihanna in my bed or it didn't happen!

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805464)

Your doubt is reasonable... one could argue:
homo neanderthalensis was known for its superior hunting capabilities. Regarding physical and cognitive capabilities -- you probably wouldn't have a chance without your modern time rifle.

On the other side homo sapiens has superior endurance -- the feet are pure evolutionary magic (When _not_ put into shoes. Your body didn't evolve a complex part with 20+ bones by accident, stupid!), less body mass is also a plus in warmer regions. And btw. endurance hunting also is less risky than direct attacking. [you can read about the fabulous feet in 'Born to run' -- interesting sources provided therein...]

There are groups on that planet who argue that homo sapiens is only the second most intelligent species.
Homo neanderthalensis atop.
So, if one believes in that too, there might be a lot of retarded racist who could claim supremacy on basis of a few leftovers from mating with a really brainy species.

Sadly we can't ask them for their opinion. So that might as well be pure speculation *muahahaha*

Re:Won't quiet the racists (1)

Jimbookis (517778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805610)

Somehow I doubt that telling those white supremacists that they're the ones descended from Neanderthals and that the Africans are the only group lacking Neanderthal DNA would do anything to change their perspectives.

Well, it explains the white supremacists jutting eyebrows, sloping foreheads and rather dimwitted world view. Maybe they should be called NeoNeanderthals.

Re:Won't quiet the racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805838)

racism works two ways.

Black people score lower on standardized tests (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36804886)

Now we have an answer for why

So that begs the question. Are neanderthals human? (4, Interesting)

lazn (202878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804890)

So.. Just how "different" are/were they? It sounds to me like we are calling neanderthals non homosapiens when in reality they are no more different from us than say a tall blond Scandinavian is from a short Asian.. Or a chihuahua from a great dane.

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805010)

Of course phisical anthropology makes a distinction. Just watch Bones or read a paper: you can divide caucasian, asian, african. It's like red, green and blue: you have those 3, and infinite colors in the middle. And red is not "better" than violet or pink.
  There is no problem with races, the problem arises when one race is arbitrarily defined as being "better" than others. Also, there are no strict bounds, just like you can't draw a line between red and pink.

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805654)

JOf course phisical anthropology makes a distinction. Just watch Bones or read a paper: you can divide caucasian, asian, african. It's like red, green and blue: you have those 3, and infinite colors in the middle. And red is not "better" than violet or pink.
    There is no problem with races, the problem arises when one race is arbitrarily defined as being "better" than others. Also, there are no strict bounds, just like you can't draw a line between red and pink.

Well, that's one problem. The other problem is the idea that those three groups are the "natural" divisions, the way red, green, and blue are the natural primary colors (for human eyes, anyway.) The primary colors are dictated by our visial anatomy; racial classifications have no such biological basis. In fact you can make both anatomical and genetic arguments for the existence of anywhere from two to several tens of racial groups, and none of these distinctions is any more valid than any other.

Or to put it more simply, the three-races idea can be neatly disposed of with one word: "India."

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (0)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805706)

s/JOf/Of and s/visial/visual/, of course. Grrr arrgh. With all the rounds of needless "improvements" /. has made to the interface recently, couldn't they find time to put in some kind of editing function -- say, posts would be editable until someone replies to or moderates them? Please?

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (1)

tapspace (2368622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805028)

Maybe. I don't really know that much about the different species (and biology is more description and cataloging than discovery IMO), but I think it's more than that. Like the homosapiens are more intelligent (by a large margin) and the neanderthals are stronger (by a large margin). We couldn't have an olympics between the species because the homosapiens would get demolished. Nor could we have a spelling bee, because the opposite would be true. This is what I am thinking.

I also think that Africans and descendants are stronger by nature, so I think it's odd that they didn't interbreed with the stronger neanderthals. (I don't think that's racist to say, but certainly not PC)

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805790)

Taxonomy is about description and cataloguing. Biology is much much larger than that.

As to the "stronger" thing. I have no idea what you mean. Certainly there physiological differences. Modern humans are presumed to have had much higher endurance than Neandertals, who had a body much more built for a cold climate, and had shorter legs. Physically one would presume Neandertals were stronger, but moderns' greater range certainly would give them substantial edge at hunting, not to mention a larger access to a wider gene pool.

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805174)

From what I understand paleontologists love balling each other out over this sort of things. Doubly so when humans are involved.

If early modern humans and neanderthals were still closely related enough to mate should they be considered the same speciees? If so then our species has a much larger family tree than thought. If not then why would the offspring of the two different species mating be considered homo sapient and not homo neanderthalensis. Why why why?

Glad there's pepole thinking about this stuff....I sure can't wrap my head around it.

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805372)

From what I understand paleontologists love balling each other ...

*snicker* *giggle*

It's 'bawling out' [wiktionary.org] dude.

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (1)

jheath314 (916607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805348)

Currently we believe they were far more stocky and muscular than modern humans (from looking at the way their muscles connected to the bones), and they appeared to be more robust (several severely fractured bones show signs of healing).

I think the most interesting difference is that their children appeared to mature faster than ours, taking only 11 years to become fully-grown. (I think the evidence for this is still debated). Even though interbreeding evidently took place, it seems to me they were nevertheless very different.

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805602)

Morphologically there were considerable differences. Just because two species can interbreed does not make them the same. You would indeed know if a Neandertal was sitting across from you on the bus. I'm not saying he would be any less human, but this isn't the very minor genetic differences one finds between, say, an Amerindian and a San bushman. There may be Neandertal genes in everyone but sub-Saharan Africans, but all in all, humans are still a very closely related group, more closely related, for instance than some chimp populations are to each other.

It still leaves a lot of behavioral questions wide open. For instance, Neandertals basically kept the same toolkits for hundreds of thousands of years, maintaining the unimaginably slow pace of innovation that previous hominids were noted for. It was Cro-Magnon and related modern populations that pushed out of Africa around 60,000 years ago and within 50,000 years had pretty much reached every continent except Africa that brought with them the extraordinary advances, not just in tools, but in cultural trapping. Neandertals in Europe only began to respond to this technological revolution at the very end of their tenure. This suggests a very large cognitive and behavioral gap. Some seem to think it's language, that Neandertals, whatever their brain size might have been, lacked fully modern linguistic capabilities, and thus cultural transmission was limited and slow, whereas the moderns that flooded the Old World, and eventually the New World, had a neural skill package far beyond what Neandertals could hope to compete with.

Now it surely doesn't surprise me that there was some interbreeding going on. The one thing humans are noted for is screwing as often as possible, and it there was thousands of years of interaction between the two species, so it was probably prolonged, though the lack of mtDNA genes suggests that we're not talking about a constant screw-fest, and maybe there was enough distance that successful interbreeding was not all that common, but common enough to leave a mark in our genome.

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (1)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805690)

Human refers to the members of the genus homo. Homo neanderthalensis are in that genus and therefore definitely human. It doesn't come up very often because there is only one extant human species, homo sapiens. There is debate as to whether neanderthals are properly their own species of human, homo neanderthalensis, or actually just a different subspecies, homo sapiens neanderthalensis vs homo sapeins sapiens. Without reading TFA, assuming that the summary is precise in saying that "conclude that this haplotype is present because of mating between our ancestors and Neanderthals," then if the research is correct that would pretty much decide the issue in favor of the single-species two-subspecies hypothesis.

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805846)

No it wouldn't. There are numerous examples of interbreeding between closely related species. Interbreeding is not the definitive answer as to whether two species can interbreed or not. If it was, there would be no such species as a polar bear, and yet clearly, based on behavior and environment, polar bears are more than just a subspecies of brown bear.

When we talk about Neandertals, we're talking about a hominid that separated from our African ancestors and lived largely in isolation for several hundred thousand years, and retained robustness lost in modern humans, not to mention evolving considerable morphological differences.

Re:So that begs the question. Are neanderthals hum (0)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805702)

Apparently whether they are classified as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis is still debated by anthropologists. Neanderthal: Classification [wikimedia.org]

I'd say, given that they were at least very similar to modern humans and there was at least some interbreeding, that it's easiest to just call them humans,

are the neanderthal genes expressed? (5, Interesting)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804894)

The human genome contains all kinds of junk that isn't expressed, including code for various viruses. However, that does not make one a virus any more than it makes one a neanderthal.

Re:are the neanderthal genes expressed? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804942)

Sure. You know some people have out-sized protruding forehead? Yep, them's expressing it.

Re:are the neanderthal genes expressed? (2)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805002)

Sure. You know some people have out-sized protruding forehead? Yep, them's expressing it.

I asked a question about genetics and got a reply about phrenology. Welcome to slashdot...

Re:are the neanderthal genes expressed? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805238)

Neaderthal's gens are also expressed by their incomprehension of linkage between genes and physical features. Hope that helps.

Re:are the neanderthal genes expressed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805314)

if you had posted your question in the body of your post you'd have had a better chance of getting a good reply. The way you composed it made it look like you were just making a statement.

Re:are the neanderthal genes expressed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805116)

Most likely. Some facial features with large, rounder features could be it.
Same with those wide noses and larger lips usually only seen in a select few races.
Absurd hair growth is most likely a farther regression event.

Would be interesting to see if anything else is being expressed from our evolutionary tree.

Re:are the neanderthal genes expressed? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805224)

The human genome contains all kinds of junk that isn't expressed, including code for various viruses. However, that does not make one a virus any more than it makes one a neanderthal.

Neanderthal DNA would explain a lot. Current theory has us leaving Africa around 35,000 years ago. Some how all but overnight we wound up with blonde and red hair not to mention plain old brown hair. Also blue and green eyes and pale skin. There are also some facial differences in the three major populations. That's a lot of mutations for 35,000 years. It would also explain why Aboriginals kept a similar appearance to their african ancestors, they never mixed with Neanderthals. Remember Aboriginals left Africa 80,000 years ago so why don't they have more mutations not fewer? People of the northern hemisphere are a bunch of hybrids where as Africans tend to me more pure Homo Sapien stock. Like I say it can explain a lot about how we ended up so different in appearance after a few generations. It also explains where a group of advanced humans went, they interbred instead of going extinct. Some populations like the group in Southern Spain may have resisted mixing and ended up loosing out so the mixing was good for both populations. We got the cold adaptations and the Neanderthals didn't have to compete with the newcomers they merged with them.

Re:are the neanderthal genes expressed? (1)

Heddahenrik (902008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805818)

Of course not. You're a bacteria. There are more bacterias in your body than human cells, and they are probably more important than most of your cells. It's not like you brain does anything without the influence of chemicals created in your gut.

Obvious implication: (4, Funny)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36804944)

I think it's proof that most of us slashdot geeks are such social basket cases even our ancestors had to move to a foreign land and get a neanderthal to date them.

Those slashdotters who are from Africa get a free pass on this one.

Re:Obvious implication: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805234)

Depending on your timeline, that would ultimately be all of them.

Re:Obvious implication: (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805420)

"I think it's proof that most of us slashdot geeks are such social basket cases even our ancestors had to move to a foreign land and get a neanderthal to date them."

Yes, BUT IT WORKED!

Re:Obvious implication: (1)

Heddahenrik (902008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805836)

So how can we make it work again now when all neanderthals are mostly homo (;))?

and anyone that does not believe it (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805280)

has never seen Steve Ballmer dance around the stage yelling "developers developers developers"

So we are all homos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805290)

...

Classic example of the "species problem" (4, Interesting)

realxmp (518717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805436)

One of the problems here in saying whether Neanderthal's are a different species to Homo Sapiens is that the word species is poorly defined. It's actually been a problem since Darwin's day, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_problem [wikipedia.org] gives an idea of how long we've been arguing this. Personally if I feel if they were routinely successfully breeding with homo sapiens then calling them a separate species may be a bit of a stretch.

Re:Classic example of the "species problem" (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805686)

It's not poorly defined so much as there's no single definition that will do. The definitions provided are generalized by the very nature of the species concept itself. As with the definition of life itself, there's no black and white, but continuums. Take a look at ring species for the root of the problem with eukaryotic organisms. It gets even more complicated when you deal with procaryotes. It gets just as bad when you deal with some bizarre reproductive strategies like polyploidism in plants which can produce a new species in a single generation.

Neanderthal=Nordic (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805550)

The idea that Neanderthal Man was a sub-species is a product of 19th century "scientific" assumption. It might also be called a case of finding what you are looking for, or making what you find to be what you are looking for (seen most baldly in "Piltdown Man").

The "scientific" assumption error has been enshrined by the popular application of "Neanderthal" to characterize someone as "subhuman". Archaeological evidences indicate Neanderthals were human and had human intelligence, engaged in human differentiating activities (toolmaking, ceremonies, religious activities) and interacted with (other) humans.

If you look at "classic Nordic" facial features in profile Neanderthal elements, contradictory to assigned "Homo Sapiens" features, although modified by mixture with other human feature varieties, are visually evident: Back-sloping brow, for example (instead of vertically rising), heavy and prominent eyebrow ridges, prominent cheekbones, etc. For example, Google for a profile picture of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). Also see Albrecht Durer's study drawings of variant Germanic human facial features. Many he selected to draw evidence distinctively "Neanderthal" features.

Most who have scientifically, and independently, reviewed the science of the 19th century and "Neanderthal Man" evidences (Creationists and religious scientists are alike in locking to their learnt beliefs) have anticipated that DNA evidences would/will proof Homo Neanderthalis not a hominid sub-species, but a component of Modern Human (Homo Presumptuous) ancestry.

Re:Neanderthal=Nordic (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805872)

Neandertals have been shuffled around considerably since the 19th century. In the 19th century they were viewed as an apeman. By the 1960s they were generally classified as simply a variety of H. sapiens. By the 1980s as some molecular data became available they were again shuffled out of H. sapiens into their own species. I have yet to see that changed. That two members of the same genus can interbreed is not an argument in and of itself for them to be the same species.

They walk among us (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36805666)

This has been "obvious" for quite some time.

Take a look at NBA player Jason Kidd. Anyone with a brow ridge like THAT has got to be at least 50% Neanderthal.

Devo had it right... (1)

zoid.com (311775) | more than 3 years ago | (#36805828)

"God made man
But he used the monkey to do it
Apes in the plan
We're all here to prove it
I can walk like an ape
Talk like an ape
Do what a monkey can do
God made man
But a monkey supplied the glue"

-Devo

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