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Did Large Eyes Lead To Neanderthals' Demise?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.

Science 139

An anonymous reader writes "Bigger eyes and a corresponding greater allocation of the brain to process visual information is the most recent theory about the reasons that led to the extinction of Neanderthals, our closest relatives. Neanderthals split from the primate line that gave rise to modern humans about 400,000 years ago. This group then moved to Eurasia and completely disappeared from the world about 30,000 years back. Other studies have shown that Neanderthals might have lived near the Arctic Circle around 31,000 to 34,000 years ago."

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Dupe (5, Informative)

Any Web Loco (555458) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201385)

Re:Dupe (5, Funny)

Ubi_NL (313657) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201391)

Seems slashdot editors have very large eyes as well

SIZE MATTERS (1)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201619)

you know what they say about neanderthals with big eyes...

Re:SIZE MATTERS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202003)

They can see small things?

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201739)

Seems slashdot editors have very large eyes as well

Slashdot editors are modern humans so they have small eyes, a Neanderthal would have spotted this dupe with his large eyes and superior visual processing capability. Mind you non African /. editors have about 4% Neanderthal genes but that doesn't seem to help.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201997)

Mind you non African /. editors have about 4% Neanderthal genes but that doesn't seem to help.

Sauce!?!?!

Re:Dupe (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201757)

The Creature Walks Among Us
Starring samzenpus as the mongus.

Re:Dupe (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201891)

The Creature Walks Among Us
A staring samzenpus as the mongus.

FTFY

Re:Dupe (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202005)

...Or perhaps not large enough?

Re:Dupe (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201525)

It's nice to know that the Dice purchase hasn't changed the old /. traditions.

Re:Dupe (4, Funny)

Lotana (842533) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202351)

Indeed. May as well carry on with other part of the tradition for dupe stories.

Quick everyone, re-post all the posts that have been modded up in the original story! Here comes free karma!

Re:Dupe (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201587)

I do wonder if the editors actually read Slashdot because I do and can remember stories from a couple of days ago.

Still, the headline is much better this time.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202129)

Naw, its asking a question. Never have the headline ask a question. Perhaps "Large Eyes May Have Led to Neanderthals Demise" would have worked.

I will agree with you that getting rid of the whole cartoon thing from the first title was a good idea. This is an improvement over the manga title any day.

Re:Dupe (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202715)

The Slashdot "editors" are a collection of Very Small Shell Scripts, none of which talk to each other.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201389)

What? [slashdot.org]

Correlation vs causality. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201395)

Neanderthals died out because they weren't smart enough. In other news, they had big eyes.

Re:Correlation vs causality. (3, Funny)

promythyus (1519707) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201415)

Lies. Neanderthals live among us, just take a look at your co-workers.

Re:Correlation vs causality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202283)

You'll have to be more specific. It seems to me that it is easiest to find them lurking amongst management and marketing groups where theyonly see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear.

Re:Correlation vs causality. (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202471)

just take a look at your co-workers.

Or /. editors...

Re:Correlation vs causality. (5, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201713)

I thought it was because they didn't know how to brew beer.

Re:Correlation vs causality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202365)

so you're just glossing over the fact that larger eyes led their brain resources to be spent on processing rather than intelligence... *slow clap*

Re:Correlation vs causality. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202529)

the fact that larger eyes led their brain resources to be spent

That's not a fact, it's wild speculation.
Size of the eyeball does not necessarily lead to a more complex nerve structure or supporting brain structure. It's entirely possible that they simply gathered more light. With all other factors equal, a larger eye would indicate better low-light vision... but also a lesser ability to track distant objects and focus on fine details. Which would make a lot more sense in terms of a significant disadvantage vs. Sapiens than some crackpot theory about robbing neural resources.

And we already went into all that last week when this exact story was first posted. That's what we mean by "DUPE".

Re:Correlation vs causality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202589)

Wow, this gets a +4? RTFA, the big eyes is what made them less smart, more brain went to vision processing, leaving less for creativity. When the large animals started dying out, humans started going after smaller but harder to catch game, like rabbits. The neanderthals either weren't smart enough to catch them, or weren't smart enough to realise they were edible. This stuff has been seen in the fossil record.

+4 to a completely wrong statement. Sad. Apparently just saying "correlation does not imply causation" gets you modded up now. There are four possible answers to correlation and causation.

A causes B (rule it out of B came first)
B causes A (rule it out of A came first)
C causes both A and B
Coincidence.

Saying it was simply coincidence that they had bigger eyes is a much a fallacy as saying A causes B. And don't forget that Occam guy.

Speciation ... maybe the explanation is simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202623)

Actually, Neanderthals had bigger brain mass than we do [nationalgeographic.com] . So it was the dumbest species that won, not the smartest. I imagine your eyes have grown a bit bigger now ?

I don't get why the article feels the need to grab to these far-fetched explanations. They do not seem to have read the speciation theories of Charles Darwin (which, unlike his evolution theory, is still pretty current). It basically states that if any 2 groups can (and do) interbreed, you might expect their genes to mix in their offspring. But that only happens in the short term. In the medium to long term one set of genes, never a mix, will "win out".

It could simply be that we were at peace with the Neanderthals, and intermarried, but moderns had greater numbers. If neanderthals allowed sufficient modern human genes to enter their race, they would have disappeared that way, like so many of the bird species Darwin described. There would have been a few mixed specimens, but only a few generations. The mixed Neanderthal-Modern "hybrid" humans would only have existed for a short period, maybe even only half a millenium (even shorter is possible, Charles Darwin described races disappearing in less than 10 generations, which for birds is less than a decade), which could explain why we haven't found them.

And yes the same will happen to current human races. They only developed because different human groups got separated, and now that we're flying humans around the planet, it is a matter of time until only a single species is left. The question is which one, of course. It seems a safe bet to say that Africans are doomed (they're getting near majority mixed blood and there are already reports of mixed-blood Africans getting white children (because both parents have black skin but 75% or more indo-european genes), something which will massively increase in the future), unless something changes, and so are ethnicities like Arabs. But a winner is not certain, Indo-Europeans have a decent shot, but are currently losing ground, while the Han Chinese are gaining ground. A distant third is the Indians. They're probably out of the race too, but ... you know, maybe. And of course, a big war might change the equation entirely.

Some groups do not have the numbers to defend their genes in, shall we say, the "open market", but intermarriage does not seem to occur, well, almost not at all, really. Obvious examples are the Japanese and Ashkenazi here. Something is holding up the barrier between those ethnicities and others. Those ethnicities will definitely not take over the planet, but they won't disappear either, unless something changes.

The weird part is how fast this will occur. In 100 years black skin will be a rare sight indeed in America. Another skin type will be about as common as blacks are today, and maybe white will have been replaced by yellow. Interesting times.

Re:Speciation ... maybe the explanation is simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43203097)

Whatthefuckever.

What they probably lacked was a larynx as well developed as ours. The reason we are where we are is because of our speech ability...intelligent homo sapiens individuals can communicate more abstract concepts more accurately than any other species.

Dupe (4, Funny)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201397)

Did large eyes lead to Neanderthals' Demise?

No. But perhaps if they had stuck around the large eyes would help the Slashdot editors spot their dupes.

http://science.slashdot.org/story/13/03/13/1247255/manga-girls-beware-extra-large-eyes-caused-neanderthals-demise [slashdot.org]

Re:Dupe (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201559)

No. But perhaps if they had stuck around the large eyes would help the Slashdot editors spot their dupes.

, yes but you are implying that the Neanderthals would do a better job than /. editors (not a hard thing to do obviously), but that means that the Neanderthals would outcompete the /. editors and then would there be a /. in the future, implying that smaller eyes of /. editors caused their demise and the victory for the Neanderthals? Unless of-course the Neanderthals are already running /. and are trying to hide in the open, by pretending not to see the dupes so that we would not think they have big eyes. But then they are only succeeding in turning the attention to their small eyes, so that we would ask these questions and suggest replacing the /. editors with the Neanderthals, but maybe that is what the Neanderthals that are /. editors want you to do.

Maybe the Neanderthals already own Dice and /. and their next move is to get into your government and to reduce human population with a breading program... This raises the question: what is Peter Joseph hiding under that beard and the glasses?

Re:Dupe (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201567)

obviously that's "breeding" program not "breading" program, unless the Neanderthals want to bake bread and cookies out of humans.

Re:Dupe (2)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201771)

Perhaps that is a little closer to reality. Neanderthals included homo sapiens in their dietary regime and homo sapiens where far more effective at mass retaliatory revenge attacks. So the mass homo sapiens opposition to cannibalism could stem from a history of being preyed upon by Neanderthals and their larger war party attacks against those that would kill and eat them.

Re:Obligatory Dupe (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201861)

obviously that's "breeding" program not "breading" program, unless the Neanderthals want to bake bread and cookies out of humans.

Are these cookies made from real Girl Scouts?

Re:Obligatory Dupe (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201933)

Well, you think the Neanderthals have such discriminating exquisite taste that they would be able to tell the difference between cookies baked with Girl Scouts rather than with, let's say US Congressmen?

I hope the Neanderthals go for the Congressmen first and leave the Girl Scouts for dessert.

Re:Obligatory Dupe (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202659)

obviously that's "breeding" program not "breading" program, unless the Neanderthals want to bake bread and cookies out of humans.

Are these cookies made from real Girl Scouts?

Mine are. But only the ones with real mince meat fillings.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202737)

obviously that's "breeding" program not "breading" program, unless the Neanderthals want to bake bread and cookies out of humans.

No, I don't think so. I saw an article last week about battered women, and I thought "damn, and I've been eating mine raw!"

Eloi and Morlocks (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202809)

unless the Neanderthals want to bake bread and cookies out of humans.

That depends on what happens over the next 800 millennia [wikipedia.org] .

Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201413)

Twice within a week? Talk about fucking slow news day.
As if it wasn't already obvious editors don't give a single fuck.

If you had seen (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201429)

the BIG TITS of Neanderthal women you'd have had BIG EYES too. Neanderthal tits were big but tough as leather. I know. I married one.

Re:If you had seen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201677)

Pictures or we don't believe you.

Re:If you had seen (0)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201747)

Pic of your mom's tits: (o)(o)

Pic of his wife's tits: {@} {@}

Re:If you had seen (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202647)

How many faces to you see in his wife's tits?

Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201431)

Here we go again.

Disappeared? (3, Insightful)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201473)

Neanderthals didn't disappear. As a distinct culture they "disappeared" from the archaeological record, but that certainly doesn't mean Neanderthals disappeared from existence. A big chunk of the world's population have a significant proportion of Neanderthal genes. You can't say a population went extinct if their descendants are still alive!

Re:Disappeared? (1)

Calydor (739835) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201569)

You can't say a population went extinct if their descendants are still alive!

Dinosaurs and birds spring to mind. Are you saying the dinosaurs aren't extinct because modern birds are very likely to be their descendants?

Re:Disappeared? (3, Insightful)

Andtalath (1074376) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201661)

Actually, the more we learn about bird/dinosaur similarities, the more it seems like dinosaurs aren't extinct.
The genetics between birds and dinosaurs are very few.

So, scientifically speaking, saying dinosaurs are extinct isn't entirely correct, or rather, almost meaningless since dinosaur isn't a very well-defined scientific term.

Re:Disappeared? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201835)

Many Synapsids would be identified by most people as "dinosaurs" and a few of their descendents are still around today and using slashdot ...

Re:Disappeared? (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202031)

You can't say a population went extinct if their descendants are still alive!

Dinosaurs and birds spring to mind. Are you saying the dinosaurs aren't extinct because modern birds are very likely to be their descendants?

Walking in to the aviary at the local zoo with Richard Attenborough saying "Welcome to Avifaunic Park" just doesn't seem to have the same ring to it.

Re:Disappeared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201589)

It's more likely that they were eradicated by our ancestors. Just like many species of animals disappeared around the time that humans entered their part of the world. But it's understandable that scientists don't like to research the obvious fact that humans have been a noxious species so far.

Re:Disappeared? (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201617)

They were our ancestors!

Re:Disappeared? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201675)

Yes we carry their genes. That means that Neanderthal women were most likely raped by our ancestors and their children raised as their own. Which means that these women probably must have been kept as slaves. I cannot believe that some Neanderthals were taken in by human clans in any friendly way, so that's the only logical explanation.

Re:Disappeared? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201731)

Belief is not a reason to disregard logical possibilities.

Re:Disappeared? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201863)

Exactly. So based on logic I cannot believe that our ancestors were nice enough to let strange looking individuals into their community in a friendly way. Given our known past, it's only logical to assume that Neanderthal women were enslaved and their men slaughtered.

Re:Disappeared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202359)

It's obvious that people here can't accept the harsh reality of our past.

That's an understandable reaction though, our history has always been written by the victors and not their victims.

Re:Disappeared? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201591)

Yes you can if the species is entirely gone. The "hard definition" is can to individuals breed and produce fertile offspring. So while we may have some of their DNA still in our population mostly they are now considered to be a district species, so they are extinct. An interesting question is could you breed a Neanderthal and a modern person, and would the offspring be fertile, I wounded if we are different species under the older firmer definition.

Re:Disappeared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201687)

OK, so how do you guys explain all the Geico TV commercials then? How could both Fox News and the WB Channel be running the ads if it wasn't true?

Re:Disappeared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202789)

Or Alex Ovechkin?

Re:Disappeared? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43203167)

An interesting question is could you breed a Neanderthal and a modern person, and would the offspring be fertile, I wounded if we are different species under the older firmer definition.

Most African people don't have Neanderthal DNA, so they would be the true 'modern person' if by that one means 'a continuous non-Neanderthal genetic line from the 400,000-year split'. The Neanderthals and descendants of the African people interbred, so non-African people are either a new breed or Neanderthals that took on some additional DNA - I think that's just a matter of semantics at this point. But TV writers use 'Neanderthal' to mean 'stupid caveman' so people seem to really resist that.

Re:Disappeared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201709)

Are you claiming the neanderthals are simply hiding in the trees?

Re:Disappeared? (2)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201741)

"Are you claiming the neanderthals are simply hiding in the trees?"

Not necessarily. They have jobs in the Sasquatch, Yeti and Bigfoot tourist industry.

Re:Disappeared? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202677)

Have you ever seen a Neanderthal hiding in a tree? See how well it works!

Re:Disappeared? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201805)

-1, Copypasta

Re:Disappeared? (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201827)

pasta? really? from where?

Re:Disappeared? (1)

Palamos (1379347) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201935)

You raise an interesting point and of course you're correct. I suspect that the truth is that Neanderthal women were really ugly, mingers (that's with a soft "g" as in Ming vase) if you like, this is certainly the case in all of the films on the subject that I've seen. Now the fact that we have some Neanderthal genes suggests that human women have always liked a bad lad and so some interbred, nothing wrong with that but shocking at the time I dare say. So here we are, all with a bit of Neanderthal in us and those with a greater proportion presumably go on to play rugby; remind me, who won the Six Nations at the weekend?

Re:Disappeared? (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201957)

[......]who won the Six Nations at the weekend?

Neanderthals?

Re:Disappeared? (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202185)

... So here we are, all with a bit of Neanderthal in us and those with a greater proportion presumably go on to play rugby; remind me, who won the Six Nations at the weekend?

All that this American Neanderthal could figure out (before giving up entirely) was that it wasn't England.

http://www.rbs6nations.com/ [rbs6nations.com]

Re:Disappeared? (1)

Palamos (1379347) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202241)

Sadly not, but thankfully it doesn't matter.

Re:Disappeared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202069)

Look around any farming community and note the number of stocky, big boned, heavily muscled folk wandering around, or feel your own head at the back for the distinctive shelf at the base of the skull. Neanderthals were smart, tough and physically strong, surviving in a very demanding environment. They spread their genes into the influx of new African immigrants as the climate warmed -- a great strategy for survival. One would hope that their descendants will do as well.

Re:Disappeared? (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202547)

I don't have time to cite references right now, but one of the more interesting theories I saw involved RH factor (the gene that determines whether you're A+/B+/AB+/O+ or A-/B-/AB-/O-. Apparently, RH-negative women have a MUCH higher chance of dying in childbirth if the baby is RH-positive. Suppose, for a moment, that in the very beginning, Neanderthal women were universally RH-negative, and Homo Sapiens (men and women) moving into Europe from Africa were universally RH-positive.

Assume that for whatever reason, Human men and women have sex with Neanderthal women and men. As the number of Human-Neanderthal hybrids increased, a RH-negative Neanderthal woman would be spinning the roulette wheel of death every time she gave birth. Even if the baby's father was "Neanderthal", if the mother and father were both RH-negative, but recessive for RH-positive blood, the mother's risk of death would go up. Factor in the nonexistence of birth control and perpetual pregnancy, and a Neanderthal woman's likelihood of living to see her 30th birthday would be pretty grim. At some point, just about any male she could possibly have sex with would be RH+... and if she herself were recessive for RH+, every single child would be a round of Russian Roulette for her.

Net result: Neanderthals were quickly, within a few generations, wiped out as a distinct group, but not before their genes had firmly entrenched themselves in the pool. If RH factor is a significant marker for Neanderthal genes, one might even expect to see the percentage INCREASE going forward, since RH-discordant mothers rarely die in childbirth anymore.

A better question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201537)

Will duplicate storys cause the demise of slashdot?

Lets watch and find out.

I'll bet they didn't see that coming... (1)

Smivs (1197859) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201657)

even with their big eyes - The double post that is.

big eyes (2, Insightful)

charlesr44403 (1504587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201659)

Horses have huge eyes and aren't going extinct any time soon.

Re:big eyes (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201701)

I dunno, the Europeans are eating the remaining horses at an alarming rate. I guess they taste like chicken.

Re:big eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202239)

No, they don't taste like chicken. They taste like unicorns.

Re:big eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202475)

Which is a sure way to know that they won't be going extinct for a long time. The best thing that we could do for the polar bears is to start eating them. Then we'd breed so many that they'd come off of any endangered-type list pretty damn quickly.

Night vision, arctic circle (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201685)

Has anyone taken a close look at the Inuit? They may have more Neanderthal genes than most.

Re:Night vision, arctic circle (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201917)

Inuit are generally considered to be northern Asians who crossed into North America in quite recent times ...They are not particularly distinct genetically ...

Ice Climbers (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202835)

Inuit are generally considered to be northern Asians

I guess that's why the Ice Climbers from Super Smash Bros. series don't look much different from the default "stateless" race of Japanese cartoon characters [tvtropes.org] .

Neanderthalians vs aliens (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201689)

The neanderthals didn't extinct. They lost all their hair, lot of weight, their eyes got even bigger and they were transformed into grey aliens. Well, at least some of them. The rest got sick and turned green. That's why we don't find neanderthals fossils lately: they are all in UFOs.

Re:Neanderthalians vs aliens (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201745)

"That's why we don't find neanderthals fossils lately: they are all in UFOs."

But one question remains: Did they eat the pudding?

Re:Neanderthalians vs aliens (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201911)

"The neanderthals didn't extinct."

Extinct is a verb now?

" They lost all their hair, lot of weight, their eyes got even bigger and they were transformed into grey aliens."

The grey aliens are the Asgard - they were around elsewhere in the galaxy long before any Homo Sapiens including Neanderthals were on earth

Re:Neanderthalians vs aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201987)

Extinct is a verb now?

"Humans extincted many species.", "I will extinct you."

I can get behind using extinct as a verb.

Re:Neanderthalians vs aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202215)

yeah, right... and I'm Chris Hemsworth. Oops, sorry... I meant Thor!
Loki, you've been playing around with the SG again, haven't you? Bad boy!

Galactica Crew screwed them all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202021)

The Galactica crew screwed them all off the Earth. Isn't that what Baltar said?

Re:Neanderthalians vs aliens (1)

Buchenskjoll (762354) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202465)

They were fairly advanced: When Neanderthals threw revolving bones up in the sky, they turned into space stations...

Deep breath. (1)

dohzer (867770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201781)

DUP... oh, too late, never mind.

Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201865)

Dupe of previous article. And it's still stupid this time around.

Sits on a bit of a shaky premise (1)

andy16666 (1592393) | about a year and a half ago | (#43201967)

The latest research I'm familiar with says the Neanderthals probably never went extinct at all, but rather inter-bread into larger human populations and essentially merged with humans. The large eyes thing might have played a role, but I don't see how since the premise that they became extinct due to a weakness (or at all) isn't broadly accepted anymore.

The summary is about when they died? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43201983)

Color me blind but I didn't find the summary useful as it was referencing more about when they may have died out instead of getting to the point on why the article suggests the big eye hypothesis. in b4 "you must be new here"

Interesting Concept (1)

docmur (813683) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202017)

Another interesting theory.

Oh how cute (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202019)

Dice is trying to revive the old Slashdot by upping the frequency of dupes.

Ass pulling shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202085)

I think they shouldn't pull shit out of their asses and call it fact. FTA

Do the editors even *read* Slashdot? (2)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202145)

It feels to me like the editors never actually look at the site, and they have such short memory that they become useless as editors.

I thought by now you'd realize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202195)

...There ain't no way to hide your Neanderthal eyes.

Huh? (1)

Sqreater (895148) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202237)

If nature needed more neaderthal brain area, she would have created it. Big eyes are meaningless as a reason for the extinction of the species.

"We couldn't let them live ... (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202329)

"... they'd seen too much."

Send samzenpus back for more training please (3, Insightful)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202473)

I rarely comment on /. innner workings but honestly, samzenpus needs some retraining. Last night it was the 'microsoft killing windows phone' fantasy headline.. now an obvious dupe.. among quite a few others of recent vintage.

It's not the big eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43202539)

it's the smaller ability to handle large social groups, which is based on the smaller amount of space in the brain due to better sight.

What needs to be proven with the theory given is why better sight was responsible for lesser social skills. As our brain is big enough to handle large defects without noticeble limitations, I doubt better sight was responsible but just a concurrent feature.

Psst (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year and a half ago | (#43202867)

Nobody cares.

Not about the original article or whether it was correct.

In latest news, jury is still out (1)

Archtech (159117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43203039)

"Neanderthals may not have been able to coordinate such a large social group as modern humans".

It is quite possible that modern humans are not able to coordinate as large social groups as they now have to. No system of government or economic management has yet been proven over a long enough period to engender confidence. For example, no system of paper money has ever lasted more than a century or so without undergoing catastrophic inflation. We are just about getting to the critical point - and it shows.

Neither have we been able to find a system of government that can handle billions of people fairly, safely, and sustainably. A visiting Martian would perhaps be puzzled by the complete absence of any attempt to research, let alone safeguard, the future security of the human race. Instead, everywhere we see businesspeople frantically enriching themselves while politicians plot their strategies to gain or retain power. Very few, if any, think more than five years ahead.

According to an old story, during Nixon's visit to China in 1972 someone asked Zhou Enlai what he thought were the consequences of the French Revolution. "Too early to say," he is supposed to have replied, thus giving a fine example of long-term thinking. It's now thought he was referring to the disturbances going on in France at the time, not in 1789, but it's still a nice story. Just so, it's far too early to tell whether modern man has really done much better than the Neanderthals. Indeed, we may turn out to have done much worse, if we pull much of our ecosystem down with us.

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