# Fossil From Last Common Ancestor Of Neanderthals And Humans

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## Main Question or Discussion Point

Fossil From Last Common Ancestor Of Neanderthals And Humans Found In Europe, 1.2 Million Years Old
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080403185958.htm
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2008) — University of Michigan researcher Josep M. Pares is part of a team that has discovered the oldest known remains of human ancestors in Western Europe.

The find shows that members of the genus Homo, to which modern humans belong, colonized the region much earlier than previously believed. Details of the discovery were published in the March 27 issue of the journal Nature.

The fossil—a small piece of jawbone with a few teeth—was found last year in a cave in the mountains of northern Spain, along with primitive stone tools and bones of animals that appear to have been butchered.

The team, led by Spanish researchers Juan Luis Arsuaga, José María Bermúdez de Castro and Eudald Carbonell, used three separate techniques (including paleomagnetic analyses performed by Pares) to determine that the fossil is about 1.2 million years old. That's 500,000 years older than the previous oldest known humanlike fossils from the area. The new find bolsters the view that Homo reached Europe not long after leaving Africa almost 2 million years ago.

. . . .
Wow.

U-M researchers involved in oldest European human fossil find
http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=6434

## Answers and Replies

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I would like to find out more about Homo Heidelbergensis, but cannot find much anywhere. It seems to be thought that he branched off to modern man in Africa but to Neanderthals in Europe (although N man has also been found around the Southern Mediterranian. Another interesting factor is that both Homo Sapien and Homo N have the same DNA (currently) known requisite for human speech and both have the hyoid bone physically requisite for speech. This leads one to believe the two arose from H.B. This leads to all kinds of possibilities for the capabilities of Homo Heidelbergensis.

Anyone have any more info sources on H. B.?

Since I posted this, I have come across a lot more information. I find it most interesting that there is such a wide disparagy between dates of existance. Homo Erectus was thought to only go to 100,000-300,000 years ago then fossils were found in Java that were only 30,000 years old. Neanderthals have been quoted from 230,000-300,000 years as origin but mtDNA suggests 500,000-700,000 years since origin. Homo Heidelbergensis was thought to go back to 600,000 years then a fossil was found that was 1.2 million years old. We have a lot to learn, still. Sometime this year, the DNA mapping of the Neanderthals will be completed and the comparisons to Homo Sapiens should be very interesting. I keep seeing articles saying there was no breeding between the two and more articles on fossil finds showing a combination of the two. Some DNA work showing more commonality than we thought is accused by some to be cross contamination with our own human DNA. The next couple of years should be interesting, especially if DNA work on H Erectus and H Heidelbergensis is done.

This Sunday will see a TV program on how the Neanderthals may have bred into modern humans. We know from DNA analysis that this is bunk, but there it is.

There is another recent finding to this end by a team who took measurements of our and their skulls to determine there no N is present humans.

But the TV is likely derived from the Geico ads and current public interest.

baywax
Gold Member
Very cool Astronuc.

I just happened across the latest (Sept.08) conceptual rendering based on DNA evidence gleaned from a 43,000 year old specimen of a Neanderthal woman. She's my "older" girlfriend now!

And here's the photo from my wallet!

Let's note that the DNA evidence shows a disposition toward blonde hair. Let's also note how the "brow" isn't as pronounced as so many artists in the past have represented the Neanderthal. If this wasn't my girlfriend I'd think it was my mum!

Artists and scientists have created the first model of a Neanderthal based in part on ancient DNA evidence.

She has been put together using analysis of DNA from 43,000-year-old bones that had been cannibalised.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1058538/Meet-Wilma-The-face-Neanderthal-woman-revealed-time.html

edit:PS. I think the Neanderthals knew how to wash their faces.

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baywax
Gold Member
This Sunday will see a TV program on how the Neanderthals may have bred into modern humans. We know from DNA analysis that this is bunk, but there it is.

There is another recent finding to this end by a team who took measurements of our and their skulls to determine there no N is present humans.

But the TV is likely derived from the Geico ads and current public interest.
Hello Peter,

There is also a controversial suggestion and some proof that has been mucked with over time that shows how the Neanderthal were probably the people who erected most of the Megalithic structures on Malta.

I will get back with those suggestions and proofs at a later time, especially if you are not familiar with the controversy.

Hey, BW, I haven't heard of the Malta controversy. I'd love to read some articles.

Until recently, the tools N used were thought to be inferior to early humans, but the knives, when tested, were found to be as efficient if not more so than early humans. Having lived very long in Europe (Northern lattitudes) it is understandable that N would be light skinned (and many blondes as well as the redheads discovered). Perhaps the number of blondes is the answer for them dying out (terrible thing for me to suggest :rofl: ). Humans DNA suggests humans evolved blondes (blue eyes at about the same time) about 8,000-12,000 years ago.

I saw the TV show tonight. It was rather pathetic. Lots of blather, but the only scientific finding that they attempted to convince us "proved" that we had bred with them was our exactly common FOXP2 "speech" gene. There was no other facts offered for our consideration.

So let us consider FOXP2.

Yes, it is considered exactly the same as our FOXP2 gene, and yes, Neanderthal did have a hyoid bone and both are needed for speech. However, Homo Sapiens have had both since our beginning 200,000 years ago and we were physically separated from Neanderthals until likely so sooner than 50,000 years ago. Neanderthals also had the same FOXP2 long before that time. Current paleontology suggests that both Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthalis evolved from Homo Heidelbergensus. I find it logical to assume we both received the same FOXP2 from grandpa. The recernt mitochondrial DNA mapping of Neanderthals leads us to the conclusion that we are separate species and we have not resulted from interbreeding.

The TV show started with a premise and went from there with no thought of scientific investigation.

The interesting factor continually raised by a common FOXP2 in H Sapiens and H Neanderthalis is that Homo Heidelbergensis likely also could speak. And he had been around for 1.2 million years.

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baywax
Gold Member
I'd love to read some articles.
Let's start with this one. I think you may have to pay to get beyond the abstract.

Discovery of Neanderthal Man in Malta

ARTHUR KEITH

Excavations in the cave of Ghar Dalam, in the south-eastern corner of Malta, carried out by Dr. Giuseppe Despott, curator of the Natural History Museum of the University of Malta, working for a research committee of the British Association, has brought to light the remains of Neanderthal man in that island, thus extending the distribution of this species to another continent; for, in a zoological sense, Malta is African rather than European. It is true that so far only two teeth have been found—a first upper molar and a milk molar—but those who are familiar with the characteristic form of the molar teeth of Neanderthal man will have no hesitation in assenting to the truth of Dr. Despott's discovery.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v101/n2543/abs/101404a0.html

This discovery came before "inundation maps" showed Malta as being attached to the mainland by an isthmus before the last glacial maximum and three "meltwater pulses" that changed so many of the world's coastlines, taking away the equivalent of a continent of land.

I can only find this one example showing the entire planet's missing coastlines.

Here's a bit more of the article by Sir Arthur Keith on the Discovery of Maltese Neanderthal (my term!)

http://www.jstor.org/pss/2843720

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baywax
Gold Member
On a side note, today's news has the startling discovery (not really) about how...

By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News

It seems Neanderthals enjoyed a wide range of foods - a much broader menu than had previously been supposed.
Excavations in caves in Gibraltar once occupied by the ancient humans show they ate seal and dolphin when they could get hold of the animals.
There are even indications that mussels were warmed to open their shells.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7630042.stm

Concerning the interbreeding and co-existence of the Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal species, you might want to find this lecture

Episode 3: "The Human Story: Traces of Humankind's Oldest Relatives"

51 min., 2000, VC 3906, pt. 3

In this program, anthropologist Richard Rudgley presents the results of his research into Neanderthal society, skewering the popular misconception that Neanderthals were subhuman. After a visit to Israel, where Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons once coexisted, Rudgley travels to Portugal, where he talks about the 24,500-year-old skeleton of a child that appears to be a Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon hybrid. Finally, seeking back even farther in time, he examines the few remaining clues to the thoughts and lives of humankind’s most distant relatives: some ochre stains, shaped stones, and tools crafted with fossils embedded in their handles.
http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth1602/video/Secrets.html

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baywax
Gold Member
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I could not get into all of them, but those I could were quite interesting. I didn't see anything that related the Malta megalithic structures to Neanderthals. The little I saw mentioned of the structures described them as neolithic which I believe is post Neanderthal. That may have simply been that author's belief. But ANYONE making such structures 24-30,000 years ago would be VERY interesting.

Since with large amounts of land available...even with ice age times (with which the N men were used to), I doubt there was very much warfare going on. I wonder if disease was the main issue. Tropical areas have much of it and the N men likely would not have had the natural immunities of the Southern boys coming North. Europeans/Early Americans revisited.

baywax
Gold Member
I could not get into all of them, but those I could were quite interesting. I didn't see anything that related the Malta megalithic structures to Neanderthals. The little I saw mentioned of the structures described them as neolithic which I believe is post Neanderthal. That may have simply been that author's belief. But ANYONE making such structures 24-30,000 years ago would be VERY interesting.

Since with large amounts of land available...even with ice age times (with which the N men were used to), I doubt there was very much warfare going on. I wonder if disease was the main issue. Tropical areas have much of it and the N men likely would not have had the natural immunities of the Southern boys coming North. Europeans/Early Americans revisited.
First of all, it was a major accomplishment to show how the Neanderthals were in Malta at around the last glacial maximum. The record had been tampered with at the London Museum and the teeth switched with neolithic type dental work. It is thought that the Maltese elite did not want Malta's inhabitants associated with the Neanderthals for some reason. Also I think some anthropological/archaeological theories were at stake.

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 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.

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Well, even if the structures were 11,000 years old, that would be a major accomplishment predating other megastructures by a significant amount. But they would have to be much older yet (perhaps 13,000-17,000 more years) to have been made by Neanderthals. It would seem that you would need a LOT of people properly motivated to make something of this nature. That means more than hunter/gatherers. It means serious agriculture to build communities of any size which there is no evidence of that far back of which I am aware. Doesn't seem logical from a lot of points of view. Digs around the structures themselves for fire pits or other items that could be carbon dated would seem easier that underwater structures which could be explained by local earthquake subsidences. But in any event, neat structures.

baywax
Gold Member
The find shows that members of the genus Homo, to which modern humans belong, colonized the region much earlier than previously believed. Details of the discovery were published in the March 27 issue of the journal Nature.
The fossil—a small piece of jawbone with a few teeth—was found last year in a cave in the mountains of northern Spain, along with primitive stone tools and bones of animals that appear to have been butchered.
The team, led by Spanish researchers Juan Luis Arsuaga, José María Bermúdez de Castro and Eudald Carbonell, used three separate techniques (including paleomagnetic analyses performed by Pares) to determine that the fossil is about 1.2 million years old. That's 500,000 years older than the previous oldest known humanlike fossils from the area. The new find bolsters the view that Homo reached Europe not long after leaving Africa almost 2 million years ago.

My guess is that 1.2 or even 1 million years is long enough for a build up of the population of the Neanderthal and for the development of their "colonization" techniques... ie: social, foraging/agricultural and cultural achievements.

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. Through DNA aging techniques, it is estimated that man is 200,000 years old and Neanderthal is 500-750,000 years old. Moreover, it is estimated that there were only about 2500-5000 Neanderthals throughout Europe and the Levant at any one time. That is a lot of area even when considering ice ages reduced it. Early man was reduced to about the same number during the severe ice age of 75,000 years ago. The numbers just are not great enough.

baywax
Gold Member
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. Through DNA aging techniques, it is estimated that man is 200,000 years old and Neanderthal is 500-750,000 years old. Moreover, it is estimated that there were only about 2500-5000 Neanderthals throughout Europe and the Levant at any one time. That is a lot of area even when considering ice ages reduced it. Early man was reduced to about the same number during the severe ice age of 75,000 years ago. The numbers just are not great enough.
Reduced from what number? It seems highly unlikely that there were only 5000 Neanderthals at any one time. Do you have some links to the studies on the Neanderthal population estimates?

There's still some debate about the American Neanderthal (and were it a reality, this would certainly boost the numbers) and no specifically certified excavations looking into this possible phenomenon. When I was working with Dr. Charles Borden of the U of BC he would often remark on the morphology of the skulls we were finding at excavations and relating them to the "primitive" Neanderthal. We also found cobble tools on the highest terrace of the Fraser River near Yale BC that also suggested paleolithic origin. Cobble and Spalding tools are made from river cobble stones by percussion flaking and simply throwing the cobble against another rock. There was no evidence of pressure flaking as is seen in the Clovis period points until excavating the lower terraces. The upper terrace dates back to 13,000 ybp.

The Clovis points are commonly now thought to be of European origin. The early Asian points/knives were quite different. It would be interesting to see the "cobble" points you mentioned and what % these were in an area. Might be some kids practicing. The N's had different and more primitive looking points, but they were as if not more effective than their contemporary early modern humans. Do you have photos which can be compared? 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.

baywax
Gold Member
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.

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.

baywax
Gold Member
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.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V93-4F0856C-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=361634b77803964ef755f4966a167323

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.

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Evo
Mentor
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.

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.

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.

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.

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