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Fossil From Last Common Ancestor Of Neanderthals And Humans

by Astronuc
Tags: ancestor, common, fossil, humans, neanderthals
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Sep25-08, 12:08 AM
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Quote Quote by Peter Hiatt View Post
You have not yet given us anything to judge logically, simply emotionally. The latter doesn't cut it. But show us something to judge scientifically, and this can change. As for population numbers, they are throughout the literature.
Do you have a link to a reference about Neanderthal population estimates "throughout the literature?". If its so available then that should be an easy request to fulfill.

On the other hand, Dr. Charles Borden is only somewhat widely published and photo-documents of the excavations at Yale, on the web, are extremely rare or non-existent. I can produce some photos or illustrations of cobble stone tools but they aren't from the same excavation or from the same continent.
Peter Hiatt
Sep25-08, 12:41 AM
P: 38
Sorry, BW, but you are beginning to become boring. If you wish to elaborate on your views, fine. Do so with evidence, not emotion. If you wish to contradict more established theories, you need more compelling evidence than the competing theories. First you state megalithic structures may have been made by Neanderthals but state no evidence that they were either made by Neanderthals or that they were even old enough to be made by them...just that "they sure look worn". That is simply silly. It shows no logic.

As for Neanderthals in North America, don't you would think that would be rather topical if proper evidence existed? Again, we don't see any time evidence other than humans were here about 15,000 years ago and no evidence of Neanderthals proven any newer than about 28,000 years.

As for population numbers, I don't see you as being serious enough to look these sources up, but for your information, the most common estimates are no more than about 2500 breeding pairs estimated for Neanderthals. And this same number is estimated for humans during the vicious ice age of about 75,000 years ago (lasting an estimated 2,000 years) caused by volcanic eruptions in SE Asia.
Sep25-08, 06:01 PM
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Quote Quote by Peter Hiatt View Post
If you wish to elaborate on your views, fine. Do so with evidence
Please introduce some evidence of your own. Waving your hands and saying "its throughout the literature" is not a reference or evidence.

First you state megalithic structures may have been made by Neanderthals but state no evidence that they were either made by Neanderthals or that they were even old enough to be made by them...
My statement was:
To prove the structures, which are extremely weathered, are from 11,000 years ago or earlier, expeditions are underway off the coast of Malta looking for similar structures in up to 20 to 40 metres of water. The finds like this put the engineering and erection of these megaliths at around the time of inundation which was generally 11,000 ybp.

So far there is some evidence that similar structures to the above water engineering exist at these depths. But just look at the weathered state of the structures. That looks to me to be much older than the 4-5000 years of age that they are claimed to be."
You said:

"they sure look worn". That is simply silly. It shows no logic.
Those are your words... and yes they are silly. Weathering is an established method of dating rock and ruins.

we don't see any time evidence other than humans were here about 15,000 years ago and no evidence of Neanderthals proven any newer than about 28,000 years.
There is plenty of evidence of humans inhabiting North America before 15,000 years ago. Take the Blue Fish Caves in Canada's Yukon Territory for example:

The evidence consists of a variety of cut marks, incisions, scrape marks, chopping marks and striations resulting from the intentional butchering and defleshing of animals with stone tools, and penetrating, more or less deeply and in various places, the external walls of the bones. (Morlan and Cinq-Mars 1982: Fig. 10). It is important to note that we refer here to undeniable cultural indicators and not to similar marks made by carnivores, rodents, various geological processes or even excavators (Note 10). Thus far, we believe that we have been able to identify examples on numerous elements of the skeleton of nearly every large mammal species, with the possible exception of wolf, moose, wapiti and saiga. Almost all were found in Caves I and II.

This type of data also enables us to refine the time frame of the cultural content of the deposit. As there are no such markings on the faunal remains found in the humus-rich rubble, it is evident that this type of evidence and its causes date to the Pleistocene. This is confirmed by the 14C dates mentioned earlier and which were obtained from some of the specimens exhibiting such modifications. These dates suggest that cultural activities relating to the exploitation of the Bluefish fauna occurred sporadically between about 25,000 BP and 10,000 BP.

You said:

the most common estimates are no more than about 2500 breeding pairs estimated for Neanderthals. And this same number is estimated for humans during the vicious ice age of about 75,000 years ago (lasting an estimated 2,000 years) caused by volcanic eruptions in SE Asia.
At the risk of being even more boring I need to see references and links to your sources for these numbers and conclusions.
Sep25-08, 09:44 PM
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Quote Quote by Peter Hiatt View Post
The Clovis points are commonly now thought to be of European origin.
I'm afraid I am going to have to call in a favor by a friend that happens to be an archaeologist well known for specializing in pre-historic American cultures. He's at a conference this week, but I'm sure he'd do me a favor and drop by here.

In the mean time, please cite your sources that back this up, not only is it required, but it will help the archaeologist I am bringing in if he knows where you are getting this from. Who knows he may say you're right.
Peter Hiatt
Sep25-08, 10:02 PM
P: 38
The Clovis points are strikingly similar to the Northern European points of the time. The earliest Clovis points were found in the Chesapeake area and the newest finds are suggesting VERY early time. The Clovis type then spread West and areas include Texas and other Southwestern states. This was after the Eastern area had a climate change. The greatest concentration of Clovis is still in the Chesapeake area. In comparison, the early points from Siberia were smaller points imbedded in bones (usually jawbones). I'll look for the article for you.
Peter Hiatt
Sep25-08, 11:06 PM
P: 38
Evo, simply Google "Chesapeake Clovis Points". There are several articles on the first page. The points closely resemble the Solutrean points of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain/Portugal/So France). 17,000-21,000 years ago. The East coast Clovis finds date at 13,000, 14,000, and 15,000 years ago which predate Clovis, New Mexico at 11,000 years ago. Also 38 points have been officially found in NM and almost 400 at one area in the East. Also NO Clovis points found in the Alaska/upper NW area. Looks pretty cast in concrete. There are reports of some VERY early dates, but we'll wait until these get verified.
Peter Hiatt
Sep26-08, 12:14 AM
P: 38
As a side note, a point sold at auction last year for $116,000. I don't know what type it was. Value is determined by size, chipping quality, beauty of material, type, and flawlessness. There are some incredible modern chippers who have made it into an art form, but there are ways of determining if they are original (mineral deposits, etc). A nice Clovis might run $2000-10,000. A small nondescript point might bring $1-2.

One of my horses insists on digging in a certain area on my ranch. She found a 4" long Atlatal point. I haven't checked its value yet, but expect a couple hundred dollars. These are usually 6000-8000 years old in this area. I could bury a Volkswagon in the hole she digs.
Sep26-08, 11:39 AM
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Astronuc, I don't why there was an announcement of this find by the Science Daily article from April 2008.

I've found an article from 1997 describing the same excavation and the fossil evidence found there but is all from 1995 - 1996. The write up disputes whether or not the identified species, Homo antecessor, can be considered a new species.

Here's a link and excerpt from the article in the Archaeology Institute's publication of July 29, 1997

A New Species? July 29, 1997
by Mark Rose

Fossils from the Gran Dolina railway cut in northern Spain's Sierra Atapuerca are from a hitherto unknown species of early human, according to the site's excavator Josť Bermķdez de Castro of the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Madrid, and his colleagues. They named the newly identified species Homo antecessor (from the Latin for pioneer or explorer), and claim that it is directly ancestral to both modern humans and Neandertals.

The Gran Dolina fossils--nearly 80 postcranial, cranial, facial, and mandibular bones as well as teeth of at least six individuals--were excavated between 1994 and 1996 (see "The Peopling of Eurasia," ARCHAEOLOGY, January/February 1996). A key specimen is a partial facial skeleton of a juvenile, estimated to be ten to 11 years old, recovered in 1995. The fossils exhibit both seemingly modern features, such as sunken cheekbones with a horizontal rather than vertical ridge where upper teeth attach and a projecting nose and midface, and more primitive ones, including prominent brow ridges and premolars with multiple roots. The level in which the fossils were found, TD6, is dated by a reversal in the earth's magnetic field to more than 780,000 years ago. So far this level has been exposed only in a test pit of six square meters, but the excavators are confident that many more human fossils will be found when the larger excavations reach the level some years in the future.

I don't know if the U of Michigan went back to the site for further investigation or what but the jaw and teeth shown in the 2008 article are the same fossil from the 1996 excavations.
Sep26-08, 11:57 AM
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Evo, its widely known that the Clovis points appear to be of European, technological origin. Actually from Northern France to be precise. This is because the bi-facial, pressure point flaking of obsidian, basalt, quartz or jasper resembles those found in that area of Europe.

What is not widely known is Hiatt's claim that there were "2500 breeding pairs estimated for Neanderthals". That is something I'd still like to have a link or reference to follow up on.

What's more, Hiatt claimed "The 1.2 million year old fossil was not Neanderthal. It was Homo Heidelbergensis who it is thought by most was the progenerator of both Neanderthal and modern man"... when Astronucs link sites the species as Homo Antecessor. Its obviously a mistake or a result of not reading the article.

Further to all of this is the fact that this thread has the potential to explore the common ancestral root of the Cro-Magnon and the Neaderthal, it has been dubbed Homo antecessor. It would be interesting to go into some detail about what they're calling the "explorer" species.
Peter Hiatt
Sep27-08, 05:49 PM
P: 38
Rereading the Chesapeake article, two carbon-14 tests were of 50,300 and 51,200 years for older points found below the 14,000 year Clovis points. I don't know what variety of points they were. This was a 2004 article and nothing seen since to back up these older dates. Confirmed dates of that age would throw the human timetable of establishment in North America in a complete turmoil.
Sep27-08, 06:28 PM
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This may also cause some hand waving:

40,000-year-old skull shows both modern human and Neandertal traits (results from southwestern Romania)

By comparing it with other skulls, Professor Zilhao and colleagues found that Oase 2 had the same proportions as modern human crania and shared a number of modern human and/or non-Neandertal features.

However, there were some important differences: apparently independent features that are, at best, unusual for a modern human. These included frontal flattening, a fairly large juxtamastoid eminence and exceptionally large upper molars with unusual size progression which are found principally among the Neandertals.
Professor Zilhao said: "Such differences raise important questions about the evolutionary history of modern humans. They could be the result of evolutionary reversal or reflect incomplete palaeontological sampling of Middle Paleolithic human diversity.

"They could also reflect admixture with Neandertal populations as modern humans spread through western Eurasia. This mixture would have resulted in both archaic traits retained from the Neandertals and unique combinations of traits resulting from the blending of previously divergent gene pools.
Peter Hiatt
Sep27-08, 06:41 PM
P: 38
Not at all, even with the other possible occurance in Iberia. Horse can breed with donkeys with no problem, but the resulting mules can virtually never breed successfully. The MtDNA studies on Neanderthals document this. Common traits were NOT passed on.
Sep27-08, 08:28 PM
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Both nuclear and mtDNA findings are inconclusive..... so far.

Problems with the Attribution of Neanderthal?

Paleontologist Fred H. Smith (Loyola University), who in the 1980s and 90s participated in the morphological analysis of the materials from Vindija Cave, believes that this bone is likely Neanderthal, although the morphological characteristics were not necessarily clear-cut, and given the error margin in the dates, it could represent Anatomically Modern Human remains. When asked for a comment about this question, Dr. P„„bo spoke of his confidence that the bone is Neanderthal or at most mixed modern human and Neanderthal. "As Fred says, the morphology of the bone itself does not identify this as a Neandertal. But as Fred also says, the G3 layer in Vindija is commonly accepted to be Neandertal and 38,000 is old to be modern human in the Balkans. Also, the mtDNA sequences we find in the bone are typical Neandertal. So at the most, it could be a mixture, it could not be purely modern human. As we go on with the project, we will find out if there is evidence for interbreeding with modern humans in this individual."

And in response to the "donkey mating with a horse" comparison to cro-magnon and neanderthals mating... there is no comparison.

There have been claims both that Neanderthals assimilated with modern human beings and that they did not assimilate.
It is possible that the Neanderthals, with their small numbers, could have been absorbed by the much larger populations of modern Homo sapiens. In November 2006, a paper was published in the United States journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which a team of European researchers suggest that Neanderthals and humans interbred, citing distinct human and Neanderthal features in a 30,000 year-old fossil found in Romania. [b]Co-author Erik Trinkaus from Washington University explains, "Closely related species of mammals freely interbreed, produce fertile viable offspring and blend populations. Extinction through absorption is a common phenomenon" (Hayes 2006)

Assimilation is difficult to prove as genetic differences between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons were far more minute than the morphological differences between the two species might seem to indicate. Tests comparing Neanderthal and modern human mitochondrial DNA show some dissimilarity.

According to genetic studies, Neanderthals and modern humans diverged genetically 500,000 to 600,000 years ago, suggesting that, though they may have lived at the same time, Neanderthals did not contribute genetic material to modern humans (Krings et. al. 1997). Subsequent investigation of a second source of Neanderthal DNA supported these findings.
Two samples hardly warrant any conclusion.

Most researchers adhere to a view that has the European Neanderthals either interbreeding and being absorbed or having been marginalized by invading Homo sapiens until they died out, leaving no genetic legacy (Kreger 2005). ......"whether they left a large heritage in modern humans or an insignificant one is a question that might not be answered satisfactorily for a long time."
Feb4-09, 02:28 PM
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Here are some excellent evidences showing the hybridization of Humans and Neanderthals... using both morphological as well as genetic comparisons.

The early modern human remains from the Petera Muierii, Romania have been directly dated to ~30,000 radiocarbon years before present (~30 ka 14C BP) (~35 ka cal BP) (”calendrical” age; based on CalPal 2005) and augment a small sample of securely dated, European, pre-28 ka 14C BP (~32.5 ka cal BP) modern human remains. The Muierii fossils exhibit a suite of derived modern human features, including reduced maxillae with pronounced canine fossae, a narrow nasal aperture, small superciliary arches, an arched parietal curve, zygomatic arch above the auditory porous, laterally bulbous mastoid processes, narrow mandibular corpus, reduced anterior dentition, ventral-to-bisulcate scapular axillary border, and planoconcave tibial and fibular diaphyseal surfaces. However, these traits co-occur with contextually archaic and/or Neandertal features, including a moderately low frontal arc, a large occipital bun, a high coronoid process and asymmetrical mandibular notch, a more medial mandibular notch crest to condylar position, and a narrow scapular glenoid fossa. As with other European early modern humans, the mosaic of modern human and archaic/Neandertal features, relative to their potential Middle Paleolithic ancestral populations, indicates considerable Neandertal/modern human admixture. Moreover, the narrow scapular glenoid fossa suggests habitual movements at variance with the associated projectile technology. The reproductive and scapulohumeral functional inferences emphasize the subtle natures of behavioral contrasts between Neandertals and these early modern Europeans.

Apparently, this means that the bones have features of both Neanderthals and modern humans. I’m no anthropologist, so as far as I’m concerned, the abstract may as well have been written in a foreign language. But John Hawks knows what he’s talking about.

There’s more evidence of Neanderthal-human interbreeding in this paper from Bruce Lahn’s lab at the University of Chicago. This time, the evidence is genetic rather than palaeontological, and comes from the investigation of the origins of a version of the microcephalin gene called the haplotype D allele.

microcephalin is one of the genes that is known to have been subjected to strong positive selection in the human lineage. Although the exact function of microcephalin is unclear, it is known to be involved in regulating brain size during development, and may promote the proliferation of neural progenitor cells during development of the nervous system. Mutations in the gene give rise to microcephaly, a condition in which growth of the brain is retarded.

Previous work by Lahn’s team has shown that there are two distinct groups of microcephalin alleles (versions of the gene), called the D alleles and the non-D alleles. The genes in the D alleles group have very similar DNA sequences, and arose from the amplification of a single ancestral gene approximately 37,000 years ago.These versions of the microcephalin genes are now found in some 70% of the human population.

And here is the full paper on the presence of microcephalin alleles in both humans and Neanderthals:
May8-10, 08:35 PM
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Prepare for a hurricane of hand waving about this latest study... turns out we're related...

Live Science

Humans today could be part Neanderthal, according to a new study that found our ancestors interbred with an extinct hominid species some millennia ago.

Neanderthals walked the Earth between about 130,000 and 30,000 years ago. While they co-existed with modern humans for a while, eventually they went extinct and we didn't. There has been intense scientific debate over how similar the two species were, and whether they might have mated with each other.

"The issue has been highly contentious for some time," said University of New Mexico genetic anthropologist Keith Hunley.

Last week at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Albuquerque, N.M., Hunley and colleagues presented the results of a new study that found evidence for interbreeding between modern humans and some other extinct ancient human species either Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) or another group such as Homo heidelbergensis. The research was first reported by NatureNews.

The researchers looked at DNA samples from humans living today, and found signs of leftover Neanderthal genes introduced from this interbreeding. They looked at genetic data from almost 2,000 people around the world, and calculated how much genetic variation existed between samples. The results indicate that some extinct group of hominids mixed their genes with ours at two points in history, Hunley said.

One period of interbreeding probably occurred shortly after Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa around 60,000 years ago. The researchers found an excess of genetic diversity in all modern people except Africans, suggesting that the influx of Neanderthal-like DNA came after the exodus from Africa.
Feb19-12, 08:33 PM
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I reading up on the dawn of history in Inner Asia. I'm looking at the developments in the Paleolithic period. I found the following piece:

Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition
Dr. R. Quinlan ANTH 468, Washington State University
Jul29-12, 07:35 AM
P: 612
Though I'm not an archaeologist I find Pettitt and White's recent publication "The British Paleaolithic" very intriguing. The authors present a very large number of details about the surprisingly extensive finds of cultural artifacts from humans in all periods in Britain - 10,000 years to 980,000 years ago. They reconstruct the climate, geology, fauna and flora of each period to give a unified account of the island's pre-history.

In the Lower Paleolithic times (550 - 300 thousand years ago), humans in Britain would construct sharp handaxes and spears, even in an industrial sense, which would be used to successfully hunt large mammals such as horses and rhinoseros.

The antler hammer, made from made from the stem of an antler of the giant deer Megaloceros dawkinsii, tells a different story. According to Pitts and Roberts, this piece had been laboriously shaped long before it was actually needed, and had been used so extensively - perhaps to make over a hundred handaxes - that wear had rendered the end almost unrecognizable. This is clearly a tool that had formed part of a knapper's personal equipment, a tool to make tools that was carried around the landscape over long periods and which rendered the owner ready for action and able to produce a range of stone implements whenever opportunity required. A degree of forward planning is clearly demonstrated, showing that the long-held view that archaic hominins acted in the "here and now" and had limited planning abilities (e.g. Binford 1979, 1985 inter alia) was unfounded.

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