Neanderthals May Have Been Quite Sophisticated

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Neanderthals May Have Been Quite Sophisticated

#1  Postby Calilasseia » Mar 10, 2017 4:22 am

First of all, New Scientist has this account of the latest findings, which include:

[1] There were considerable geographical differences in diet - Neanderthal remains from Spy Cave in Belgium were heavy meat eaters, including Woolly Rhinoceros and various species of sheep, but remains from El Sidrón in Spain indicate a more vegetarian diet;

[2] Microbial DNA from Neanderthal dental samples indicate the possibility that Neanderthals self-medicated with poplar plants (a known source of salicylic acid, the basis of several painkillers including aspirin), and Penicillium moulds;

[3] Sequences of the genome of Methanobrevibacteria orallis, the oldest sequenced microbial genome, indicates that the serotypes extant in humans and Neanderthals shared a common ancestor, dating from the time when humans and Neanderthals first interbred.

Nature paper covering these findings in more in-depth, technical detail here.
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Re: Neanderthals May Have Been Quite Sophisticated

#2  Postby crank » Mar 10, 2017 5:13 am

How much of the early views of Neanderthal characteristics do you think stemmed primarily from biases and much less from the available evidence?
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Re: Neanderthals May Have Been Quite Sophisticated

#3  Postby jamest » Mar 10, 2017 3:09 pm

Given that some animals seem to exhibit smart & sophisticated behaviour, I'd be very surprised to hear that neanderthals did not. Though having read the article I'd say that the specific conclusions drawn here are quite speculative. Also, crank makes a good point about us imposing our values upon the conclusions that we draw, notwithstanding the kind of evidence we decide to use in making such conclusions.
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