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Manga Girls Beware: Extra Large Eyes Caused Neanderthal's Demise

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the four-eyes-stays-alive dept.

Science 290

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports on a new study of prehistoric skulls which suggests that Neanderthals became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species. As a consequence of having extra sized eyes, an average 6 millimeters larger in radius, more of their backside brain volume was devoted to seeing, at the expense of frontal lobe high-level processing of information and emotions. This difference affected their ability to innovate and socialize the way we, modern people (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) do. When the last Ice Age set on 28,000 years ago, Neanderthals had no sewn clothes and no large organized groups to rely on each other, hastening their fall. Yet, they were not stupid, brutish creatures as portrayed in Hollywood films, they were very, very smart, but not quite in the same league as the Homo Sapiens of Cromagnon."

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This just in (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158707)

And from the departement of wild speculations we have the following gem...

Re:This just in (3, Interesting)

PoliTech (998983) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159417)

Now that cloning may have been perfected [techhive.com] , we just need an “extremely adventurous female human” to carry a cloned Neanderthal baby [nydailynews.com] .

Wild enough?

Re:This just in (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159551)

I hope that a woman will do that. It would be interesting to see what comes of that.

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159561)

Considering the fact that that women will probably get payed by the research firm for their labor. I am surprised there are not billions of women in line for that job.

Consider some of the less savory things that exist on the web and you know that having a Neanderthal baby is not very adventurous at all.

I've seen enough hentai... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158709)

...to know where this is going

Re:I've seen enough hentai... (1)

Jake S Griffin (1704486) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159009)

Tentacles. :(

Idle speculation (4, Interesting)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158721)

Personally, I'm more partial to the theory that we *are* Neanderthals (hybrids) and that they didn't 'die out', but were simply bred away.

There has been little hard evidence that Neanderthals were any less intelligent than Sapiens, just less evidence found for their intelligence, likely because there were far fewer of them. Studies of their flint knapping abilities show they were at least as skilled at toolmaking as Sapiens.

Anyhow, the article reads ore like a daydream than a piece on science, as evidence for the most important part (percent usage of the brain for eyesight, and the retardation effects of this difference)are omitted.

Re:Idle speculation (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158733)

Homo Sapiens seems quite "stupid and brutish" most of the time. Just saying.

Re:Idle speculation (4, Informative)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158993)

Homo Sapiens seems quite "stupid and brutish" most of the time. Just saying.

Actually, even when compared to our closest relatives the great apes, humans get along remarkably well. The frequency of violence in human communities is remarkably low compared to many other species. Chimpls for example have have rates of aggression between two and three orders of magnitude higher than humans. [springer.com] .

Re:Idle speculation (0, Offtopic)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159491)

Homo Sapiens seems quite "stupid and brutish" most of the time. Just saying.

Actually, even when compared to our closest relatives the great apes, humans get along remarkably well. The frequency of violence in human communities is remarkably low compared to many other species. Chimpls for example have have rates of aggression between two and three orders of magnitude higher than humans. [springer.com] .

Do animals build prisons to hold and torture fellow animals? Do animals build concentration camp to hold and kill millions of it's own kind? Do animals build nuclear bombs to destroy fellow animals far away?

Animals might be more aggressive, but they sure as fuck aren't as evil as humans...

Re:Idle speculation (5, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159519)

In certain ways, yes. Chimps are known to torture other chimps, and ape packs are known to go after other packs of the same species and try to kill them all off.

Forgetting something (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159577)

Human society is organized through violence -- just as in the animal kingdom. It's just that human beings are better at sweeping it under the carpet, or pretending it doesn't exist ("government by the people"). If government was by and for the people, then logically, government wouldn't need guns.

Remember the objective definition of government: it is the organization holding a monopoly on the "right" to employ violence as a means. Everthing government does is founded on either violence or the threat of violence. Government is ubiquitous in human society, and therefore, violence is ubiquitous in human society.

Putting it in the proper context, the fact that human beings show less frequency of visible violence than their closest relatives in the animal kingdom isn't exactly a call for celebration.

Re:Idle speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159107)

Compared to what?

Re:Idle speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159253)

Hollywood movies marketted as Romantic Comedy.

Re:Idle speculation (1, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159393)

We can be, we can be.

We've also got Medicine sans Frontier, Engineers without Borders, Save the Children, and footprints on the moon.

So we can also be pretty fucking rad when we want to be.

Re:Idle speculation: Size Matters (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158815)

I say BS! Neanderthals died out because the females preferred the larger penis of the Homo Sapiens.

Re:Idle speculation: Size Matters (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158877)

I say BS! Neanderthals died out because the females preferred the larger penis of the Homo Sapiens.

well.. that would explain the breeding out theory.

Re:Idle speculation: Size Matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158907)

Actually, that would be the hybrid theory the root was proposing. Pureblood neanderthal males were at a reproductive disadvantage, so hybridization won out.

Re:Idle speculation: Size Matters (4, Funny)

pnutjam (523990) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158925)

Yeah, back then they used to wrap them around their waist, unfortunately all the interbreeding with small peni'ed Neanderthal has left us with the 10 inches we have today. (Doesn't everyone else have 10 inches?)

Re:Idle speculation: Size Matters (0)

ickleberry (864871) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159449)

I do anyway! Assume most do unless they were malnourished growing up

Manga big...eyes?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159043)

Open slashdot (click-click)
Ok. New article...Big manga ... YES! (CLick)
WTF?? It's about their eyes !??

Re:Idle speculation (4, Informative)

glebovitz (202712) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159047)

There are some theories that the Neanderthals were actually quite smart, compassionate, and had a sophisticated social system. This is based on burial sites that indicated that they took care of the elderly. Some evidence points to a myth that Neanderthals were hunched over and ape like. It is also interesting that, except for some groups in Africa, most people have traces of Neanderthal DNA indicating that Neanderthals didn't die out, but were interbred with and absorbed into other populations.

I found this story on NPR that talks about one interesting speculation on how this may have happened.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/03/08/173813194/what-happened-when-humans-met-an-alien-intelligence-sex-happened [npr.org]

Re:Idle speculation (5, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159079)

Yeah, no kidding. My first response was, "what the fuck?" This is (seemingly typical) bad science.

I'm sorry, there's more than 10mm variability in eye size in existing populations. That variability is kind of how you get stereotypes and things like manga in the first place. Not only that, but extrapolating "they didn't have mental capacity because they had larger eyes" doesn't even begin to follow, logically. Maybe their visual cortex was the same size? Maybe it was actually smaller and significantly more efficient, allowing them to actually process more of what they saw (unlike us, who ignore most of it)? Maybe, just maybe, they used more of their brains - which were actually bigger, despite the "they were stupid by modern standards" stereotypes.

Pretty tiring. It's pretty irritating to see the "science" out of these types.

Re:Idle speculation (4, Informative)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159341)

Wikipedia disagrees with you on (adult) eyes varying so much in size...

Dimensions See also: mammalian eye The dimensions differ among adults by only one or two millimeters. The vertical measure, generally less than the horizontal distance, is about 24 mm among adults, at birth about 16–17 millimeters (about 0.65 inch). The eyeball grows rapidly, increasing to 22.5–23 mm (approx. 0.89 in) by three years of age. By age 13, the eye attains its full size. The typical adult eye has an anterior to posterior diameter of 24 millimeters, a volume of six cubic centimeters (0.4 cu. in.),[3] and a mass of 7.5 grams (weight of 0.25 oz.).[citation needed]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_eye [wikipedia.org]

Re:Idle speculation (1)

lcam (848192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159089)

Another Idle speculation of equal value is that Homo Sapiens killed out the Neandrethals as part of a "cleanse the world" campaign in the dark ages.

Think of our current racial prejudicial disposition aimed at something that can more easily be denied as being made "in the image of god". An animal. Something that would rather die than submit to slavery.

Why? Maybe because the short cronies had larger members and the inferiority complex protection mechanisms kicked in. Or maybe because the matriarchs of the time had takan a position to protect or shelter them and the men felt an insatiable urge to defy. Or maybe because the Homo Sapiens at the time needed something shorter to skull fvck (dominate).

Your idea that they simply where bred away is a logical start down a path supporting my speculations where Homo Sapien men would feel the need to reject and destroy the matriarchs as well as destroy their genetic opposition (Pre-Christian religions like paganism supported values largely around matriarchal ideologies and family lineages). Take that idea a little further and you have academic/intelectual reasoning of spiritual leaders writing about "original sin" being the fault of women who fell into temptation. Witch hunts, the raise of patriarchal values, christianity etc etc.

Re:Idle speculation (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159343)

This is my Theory also, we were bred away, there was even a report about breeding between the two. I still feel that we are missing important parts of this puzzle because we don't all look the same, I think there is a lot more that has to be discovered and some of it may even offend people.

There was also a story here that suggested we have stopped evolving. I disagree, I think people in warmer climates will eventually evolve to be completely hairless. Just imagine the potential market for Wig makers.

Article is brain-dead (1)

Vreejack (68778) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159407)

Since the visual region of a species' brain will tend to grow to be exactly as large as it needs to be, I do not see how this would lead to cannibalization of other organs. What is important is whether or not the other organs of the brain exist in the first place. Once they do exist, natural selection will tend to expand them appropriately. The notion that birth canal places a limit on the size of the human brain, implying a competition for space in the skull, does not appear to be correct. There is nothing limiting the width of the birth canal, which is free to adapt to the size of newborn skulls. Therefor the only thing limiting the size of our brains is our metabolism. We have a smaller occipital region in our skulls than neanderthals because we have smaller retinas. If neanderthals have not been able to keep up with us cognitively it is because either they were unlucky, or they lacked some of the specialized organs of the brain that we possess.
It is true that having more brain mass for any reason will require more nutrition, but the fact that neandertals had larger eyes in the first place suggests that it was adaptive, and gave them an advantage. Where the article really falls flat on its face is that on the one hand it argues that the expanded neanderthal visual system is adaptive (else why would they have it?) and on the other hand it argues that the expanded neanderthal visual system is non-adaptive. You cannot have it both ways. If having more visual power was not adaptive then selection pressure would have favored smaller eyes and more energy spent on the rest of the brain.

But...... (4, Funny)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158723)

We all know those big-eyed anime little neanderthal girls were killed of by tentacle monster rapists, thus preventing procreation!

Re:But...... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158857)

Oh sure, they always blame us tentacle monsters. We're always the villains if we show up in movies at all. Have you ever stopped to think that we have feelings too?

And feelers. Lots and lots of feelers.

Re:But...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159223)

Only if they are underage neanderthal girls...

Tabloid headlines (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158735)

Can you please stop the tabloid headlines. "Extra Large Eyes Caused Neanderthal's Demise" would have been just fine, thanks. No need to try and sex it up with some manga girls. BTW, manga boys have big eyes too.

Re:Tabloid headlines (2)

dabadab (126782) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158825)

Actually, "Extra Large Eyes Caused Neanderthal's Demise" is terribly tabloid in itself. It's not about the size of the eyes (eyeballs) but the percentage of the brain used for visual processing.

Re:Tabloid headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159255)

Even if the Neanderthals used more of their brains than modern humans for visual processing that doesn't automatically mean they were less intelligent than us, as their brains were larger than ours!

Besides, if brain size equates to intelligence, then human males are more intelligent than females, right?

Re:Tabloid headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159497)

Even if the Neanderthals used more of their brains than modern humans for visual processing that doesn't automatically mean they were less intelligent than us, as their brains were larger than ours!

Besides, if brain size equates to intelligence, then human males are more intelligent than females, right?

Ever see the result of a human female trying to load a dishwasher?

Re:Tabloid headlines (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159279)

no need, but the choice is there. free speech lady.

Re:Tabloid headlines (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159391)

"Can you please stop the tabloid headlines."

I'm glad you found something to complain about.
There is nothing wrong with that part of the headline; it's a joke, laugh.
Manga girls do not actually need to be aware of what the summary/article describes.
And "sex it up with some manga girls"? Not all manga and anime is about sex.
Large eyes allow characters to show emotions distinctly.

"BTW, manga boys have big eyes too."

Sure, but large eyes are a facial feature that primarily communicates physical attractiveness in women.
While "Manga Characters Beware" would've been more politically correct, when it comes to large eyes, most people will think about women.
You know, mascara, making eyes pop, things like that.
Chill.

And that is totally not just speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158737)

Come on, you're ruining the value of science with that nonsense.

That's quite a chain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158763)

Big eyes -> Larger region of brain devoted to sight -> smaller region of brain devoted to anything else -> Lower Intelligence -> Can't read emotions and transmit information -> Can't sew clothes properly -> Extinct.

6 millimeters!

Bigger than their stomachs? (3, Funny)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158771)

my mom always warned me about that

2001 A Space Oddyssey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158781)

.. can't get the picture of those Apes around a campfire tossing a leg bone into the sky out of my head.

Poor Amanda Seyfried (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158787)

Those giant eyes [google.com] are going to be her downfall during the next ice age.

Just admit you dont know and get over it (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158791)

This difference affected their ability to innovate and socialize the way we, modern people (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) do.

It amazes me that comments like this, with so little data to make such a conjecture, can be taken seriously by people who scoff at religion. We know slightly more about these other branches of humanity (their biology aside) than we do about the historicity and culture of Atlantis. Yet we are supposed to take for granted that we can just know, with virtually nothing known about neanderthal society, what caused them to go extinct.

Unbelievable.

Re:Just admit you dont know and get over it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158843)

theres idiots and people that get excited over speculation in just about all potential mental archetypes.

Course, thats only speculation.

Still a lot of evolving to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159059)

Human beings still have a lot of evolving to do. Specifically, until we finally abandon coercion (meaning violence or threat thereof) as the primary tool of social organization, and until coercion is strictly relegated to self-defense, we are no more than clever brutes. I believe that if an intelligent species is to evolve past the critical point of capable self-destruction, they have no choice but to abandon the concept of a special "right" to employ coercion as the means to progress (which all government is founded on). To clarify, at some point in our future (thousands of years from now), human society will either abandon this primitive relic from the animal kingdom (coercion as the defining point of society), or we will go extinct, never having graduated from the animal kingdom which created us.

Re:Still a lot of evolving to do (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159487)

Natural evolution is an unguided process, as such it has no goals, therefore we don't have any evolving to do.

Personally I am of the opinion that natural human evolution will end by the end of the 22nd century at the latest, by that time all new humans will be genetically engineered. Instead of relying on chance to pass the best genes from parents to their offspring, parents will engineer the embryo to have the best genes at least for the most important attributes, and in some cases, modified genes to prevent heritable diseases being passed on.

Re:Just admit you dont know and get over it (0)

doconnor (134648) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159101)

I don't scoff at religion. To create religion you need to have a vivid imagination. Neanderthals didn't bury trinkets in their graves like Homo Sapiens did, which suggests they didn't have anything like a religion because they didn't have a very good imagination.

Re:Just admit you dont know and get over it (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159399)

I don't scoff at religion. To create religion you need to have a vivid imagination. Neanderthals didn't bury trinkets in their graves like Homo Sapiens did, which suggests they didn't have anything like a religion because they didn't have a very good imagination.

Actually, I believe just last week a news article indicated that they did bury trinkets.

Re:Just admit you dont know and get over it (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159245)

It amazes me that comments like this, with so little data to make such a conjecture, can be taken seriously by people who scoff at religion.

We can't scoff at both?? :)

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger), ca. 4 BC - 65 AD

Radius vs. Diameter (1)

PuddleBoy (544111) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158813)

I believe the article alludes to the diameter of the eyes having a 6mm difference, not the radius.

A 6mm radial difference would be a 12mm diameter difference, which would be... practically Manga.

Hobbits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159011)

... practically Manga

or Hobbits!

Re:Radius vs. Diameter (4, Interesting)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159029)

Yep. From the article:

Ms Pearce found that Neanderthals had significantly larger eye sockets - by an average of 6mm from top to bottom.

From the summary:

As a consequence of having extra sized eyes, an average 6 millimeters larger in radius,

Submitter must be a science reporter...

Re:Radius vs. Diameter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159321)

Eyeballs aren't spheres, so maybe 6mm top to bottom is 12mm front to back, therefore 6mm radius front to back. :)
I doubt that's what the submitter meant though.

Re:Radius vs. Diameter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159339)

Yep. From the article:

Ms Pearce found that Neanderthals had significantly larger eye sockets - by an average of 6mm from top to bottom.

From the summary:

As a consequence of having extra sized eyes, an average 6 millimeters larger in radius,

Submitter must be a science reporter...

And the sad thing is, science reporters are probably the MOST accurate and precise writers you'll find today working for media outlets....

Just remember that the next time you read a "news"paper or see anything on any "news" channel on TV.

Trust Jesus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158833)

For this is what the LORD says-- he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited-- he says: "I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Re:Trust Jesus! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159057)

But does he offer free pizza if it takes over 30 minutes to deliver?

Big eyes versus blondness (1)

mynameiskhan (2689067) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158851)

All along we have been associating dumbness with blonde. Guess what it is the eyes. If you want your genes to be in a better place look for a narrow eyed gal/guy. They do not see well, but somehow know how to attain their goals.

Breeding (4, Informative)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158863)

They were bred out - this has been shown by DNA analysis. Early homo sapiens bred with them, and the homo sapiens traits were more effective.

Gratuitous slander of a noble species (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158865)

Yet, they were not stupid, brutish creatures as portrayed in Hollywood films, they were very, very smart, but not quite in the same league as the Homo Sapiens of Cromagnon."

But still smarter than your average Teabagger, right?

Re:Gratuitous slander of a noble species (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159413)

Yet, they were not stupid, brutish creatures as portrayed in Hollywood films, they were very, very smart, but not quite in the same league as the Homo Sapiens of Cromagnon."

But still smarter than your average Teabagger, right?

So are rocks.

Demise? (3, Insightful)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158869)

The last time I checked Neanderthals/Denisovans did not suffer a demise. It seems that at least some of them were absorbed by modern human populations [slashdot.org] so in a way Neanderthals/Denisovans are still around. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to eat a dinosaur [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Demise? (1)

armanox (826486) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159311)

Perhaps you'd be intrerested in a Chickenosaurus [ted.com] ?

Just so stories (2)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158879)

Really, these are "just so stories," not much better than fairy tales. If further research revealed that the neanderthals actually had smaller eyes, then you can be sure that someone (maybe the same people) would come out with a theory that neanderthals went extinct because they couldn't see as well as humans.

Am I the only one? (4, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158883)

I first read that as "they were not stupid, british creatures".

Poster unfamiliar with manga? (1)

Improv (2467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158885)

Manga guys usually have big eyes too.

Re:Poster unfamiliar with manga? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158991)

Manga guys usually have big eyes too.

Yeah, but sampling randomly from the internet, who the hell cares about THEM?

Re:Poster unfamiliar with manga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159069)

But, ya know - most of us don't masturbate to manga guys, so... the tremendous sex appeal of the article would have been partially lost.

Re:Poster unfamiliar with manga? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159277)

Isn't this /. ?
I thought the /. was just a code for BL.
I must be in the wrong forums.

Hrm (3, Interesting)

papasui (567265) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158919)

I thought it was already proven that Europeans are the ancestors of Neanderthals through DNA sequencing? And it's this very DNA responsible for a strong immune system in people with large amounts of Neanderthal DNA.

Re:Hrm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159237)

Coincidentally, their former territory resembles the EU. And if one reads financial news about the EU it is rather obvious that the Neanderthals are still alive and kicking.

Re:Hrm (2)

niado (1650369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159401)

I thought it was already proven that Europeans are the ancestors of Neanderthals through DNA sequencing?

Eh, not exactly. There is evidence to indicate that after leaving Africa, modern humans bred with Neanderthals and at least 1 other archaic species, [wikipedia.org] but to call Neanderthals "the ancestors" of Europeans is somewhat inappropriate, as we share no mitochondrial DNA and the quantity of admixture is ~%4 at most.

And it's this very DNA responsible for a strong immune system in people with large amounts of Neanderthal DNA.

You're thinking of this story [slashdot.org] . There is evidence to indicate that some immune-system-related genes were passed from Neanderthal's etc., which gave those receiving the genes an advantage in their new environment. This would have been great at the time but doesn't effect us much now (example: sub-saharan Africans with no Neanderthal DNA don't have weaker immune systems than the rest of the world).

You know you want to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158937)

...cue in the asian jokes (if you are one of those that find it funny to call someone smart as in smarter than you of course).

Precious Moments (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159135)

It's not just Asians. Western "cute" imagery, such as Precious Moments [feedio.net] and Love Is [loveisfan.com] , also has fairly large eyes. On the one hand, the characters in Precious Moments are super-deformed, meaning their heads are so big (roughly 38% of body height) that they can hold a bigger brain. On the other hand, such a bigger brain would need stronger neck muscles and take a lot of energy.

I need better eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158939)

Because I read: "Yet, they were not stupid, *british* creatures as portrayed..."

Re:I need better eyes (2)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159395)

Careful. According to TFA, better eyes can make you go extinct.

strange theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158943)

This theory only works if there was a barrier in the size of the skull so either the eyes or the brain could use the given space.

A little smaller ability to live in larger groups makes a big difference...

Head size (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159153)

This theory only works if there was a barrier in the size of the skull

There are three barriers. In no particular order, they are how big of a head the neck muscles can hold up, how much energy the digestive system can supply to a larger brain, and how big the hole in mommy's hips has to be in order to let baby's head through. Too big and one ends up like Pop-Tarts boy [youtube.com] .

Brain Size == Simplistic Drivel (4, Insightful)

repetty (260322) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158947)

Equating intelligence with brain size has always been both stupid and puzzling to me, particularly since there's no good evidence to support it that can't be countered by contra-evidence that at least as good or better.

Re:Brain Size == Simplistic Drivel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159215)

Agreed. I am unsure if it is perspective but the Neanderthal brain cast in the video looked larger than the human one. From then on it just goes further into conjecture and hypothesis. Unless there is some lucky find of caveman brain tissue this is unverifiable.

Maybe I should just ask a sperm whale or an elephant because my tiny monkey brain just seems unable to get this.

Re:Brain Size == Simplistic Drivel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159409)

Spoken like a true small-brain.

Re:Brain Size == Simplistic Drivel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159527)

Equating intelligence with brain size has always been both stupid and puzzling to me, particularly since there's no good evidence to support it that can't be countered by contra-evidence that at least as good or better.

I used to believe the same thing but I found some good studies that appeared to prove a correlation between brain mass and intelligence.

I don't have time to lookup the studies now.

Ancestral **Just So stories** (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158953)

Goldilocks and the two eyeballs .... BOOO kiddies if you look your (genes are) cooked !! Can you believe it & jeez who sez clear & bright is beautiful? Hellhot I say so stay in the cave at a comfy 57-F.  And if  ice_age Europa was so murky and ugly who would want ( big eyes ) to see more of  nothing ?

Now kiddies ... cuddle up tight; let's sit back and chew on some mammoth gristle while I tell you about ... TOE!

Actually they went extinct because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158971)

...they partied too hard. I know this because.

The underlying message (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43158975)

This racist article offers the underlying message that Africans are smarter than Europeans, and are therefore superior. The article itself is based on assumptions, speculation, and is short on facts, as well.

There is almost no evidence that the size of the brain dictates intelligence or problem solving ability, and most theories along these lines have been thoroughly debunked in modern times.

The article is just a bunch of white-hating racist bullshit.

You make Grug cry (2)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43158989)

Grug mom say Grug look cool. Grug may no have fancy sewn clothes, but Grug have feelings.

Re:You make Grug cry (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159027)

Grug may not be smart, but Grug know what love is....

Re:You make Grug cry (3, Funny)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159411)

Baby, no hurt Grug.

While size does matter... (4, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159039)

While size does matter, larger eye sockets does not automatically mean more of their brain was used for processing visual stimuli. For that to be valid, one would need to know what the size of the pupil and retina was, not the eye socket. It is quite possible that Neanderthals has more muscular eyes, just like they had more muscular bodies, but the actual visual portion of their eyes, the part that actually sees, was not significantly different than homo sapiens. Another explanation could also be that when Neanderthal developed, during the ice age, light levels were lower in the climates that they inhabited and the larger eyes were an adaptation, which again would not indicate more of their brain was used to process visual stimuli, but instead the larger eye was simply to enable more light gathering capability than their ancestors near the equator.

Without having an actual Neanderthal brains and eyes to examine, one cannot simply make this determination simply based on the size of the eye socket.

A waste of time and money. (1)

goruka (1721094) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159081)

This research is pure prejudice and a waste of taxpayer's money. The scientists should have waited a little more and ask the neanderthal [slashdot.org] directly.

Neanderthal Parallax indeed... (1)

The Night Watchman (170430) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159127)

Suck it, Robert J. Sawyer [wikipedia.org] !

Ben Bova had the Best Explanation (2)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159157)

I like Ben Bova's explanations better in his series of Orion's books. Basically, these superevolved humans created a special killer called Orion, and he teleports a bunch of Genghis Khan's men back in time to kill all the dinosaurs and the Neanderthals. The Neanderthals were actually smarter than humans, but lacked that killer instinct of the Mongols.

They lacked a pitching arm for projectile weapons (1)

stkpogo (799773) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159195)

They would have been masters of the club and hand spear. Creating a barrier to other migrating humans, until the humans developed a throwing ability for spears and ? Then they became the hunted and lost out from a early arms race.
http://phys.org/news151326825.html [phys.org]

The Neanderthal Parallax (1)

Psion (2244) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159229)

"When the last Ice Age set on 28,000 years ago, Neanderthals had no sewn clothes and no large organized groups to rely on each other, hastening their fall. "

Ha! Take that, Robert J. Sawyer!

But that's the way I want it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159233)

This is good! Its makes sure that I can convince my Manga Girl to stay with me (because if she gets too smart, she might decide she can do better than me). Plus, if she does catch the eye of some Manga Guy, I can say, honesty "Him? He's dumber than me. Why would you want that? Come here and get back into bed with me."

Must be early (1)

cshark (673578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159249)

I read brutish as British.

Re:Must be early (1)

LaggedOnUser (1856626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159379)

"In such condition there is...continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, British, and short." (Thomas Hobbes, author of Leviathan, and one of our nasty brutish ancestors)

Well, yeah, we all knew beholders were nasty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159301)

Guess the Neanderthals weren't smart enough to avoid them.

Neanderthals were killed off by Cromagnon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159427)

more likely cause: larger eyes were easier to gouge out with rudimentary weapons.

Survival of the fittest, or in our case the most warlike.

Diet (1)

hemo_jr (1122113) | about a year and a half ago | (#43159543)

More convincing is that the Neanderthal metabolism required more meat. They were not as omnivorous as H Sap. Neanderthals suffered and lost children when H Sap flourished and had many. They were out-competed that way.

ruh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159549)

Conspiracy theory rant from usenet's own Cleve Blakemore in 3... 2... 1...

Homo sapiens sapiens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43159553)

I know it's silly to be the biological equivalent of a grammar Nazi, but species and subspecies epithets like "sapiens" are not capitalized. Only the genus epithet is capitalized, and all parts of a species name should be italicized (it's Latin). Thus: Homo sapiens sapiens, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (or Homo neanderthalensis if you regard it as a species rather than subspecies). It's not *that* hard to write biological species names correctly. It would be nice if journalists didn't get it wrong all the fricking time.

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