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Human evolution -- Neanderthals and Homo Erectus

  1. Feb 21, 2015 #1
    What differentiates a homo erectus from a neanderthal? They look very similar as they both lack chins and have brow ridges. To me, a neanderthal seems like a large brained homo erectus. Modern human skulls, on the other hand, look completely different.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2015 #2
    Neanderthal brains were actually larger than Homo sapien sapien. Homo sapien and sapien neanderthal are both descendants of Homo erectus. They are divergent lines, so they evolved somewhat different features.
  4. Oct 22, 2015 #3
    Both "species" have distinctive anatomical features in their teeth and skulls which are a bit harder to explain unless you're a physical anthropologist. Even the anthropologists argue over some of the fossils and usually they rely on the context of the fossils to make a judgement - Neanderthals are from Europe and the Near East, after ~300 kya, while Erectus is from Asia and Africa, before ~500 kya.

    You might have read of Erectus persisting into more recent eras in Indonesia. This is based on a dating of particular fossils to ~50 kya. This dating was later redone by the same team, producing a much earlier ~500 kya. There certainly seem to be archaic features appearing in some very recent bones, in Africa and China, but Erectus proper is gone by about ~500-300 kya, replaced by "archaic Homo sapiens" and then modern Homo sapiens.
  5. Oct 26, 2015 #4


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    The lines of evolution from homo erectus and how many descendant branches exist is still an evolving subject. From all of my collection of documents on anthropology the only thing that is becoming clearer is that it is evolving and evidence of many more branches on the tree is being found. At this stage of study, the apparent three longest survivors being Homo Sapiens, Neanderthal and Denisovan.
    The majority of our current Homo Sapiens branch still contains identifiable genetic percentages from interbreeding with both the Neanderthal and Denisovan branches primarily in the range 2% - 4% depending on whether they are of basically of European or East Asian. Those of East Asian descendant tend to have a slightly higher percentage of Denisovan genetic linkage than European descendants. This information is based upon the current findings of the ongoing National Geographic Society, "Genographic Project".

    See the below on recent study that proposes there were only 4 significant stages of humanoid physiological development along the way:

    Binghamton University. "Human body has gone through four stages of evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150831163841.htm>.
  6. Oct 27, 2015 #5
    When I was doing my undergraduate work, all we really had was Johanson's "Lucy," Dart's "Taung child," and the Leaky's habilis specimens. I think a lot of us built a model around that framework because there was nothing really new discovered for so many years...really until Ardipithecus. This prejudice is so ingrained in me personally that I tend to doubt the validity of the "hobbit" Homo Floresiensis:


    I also want to be a "hater" of the new Homo Nedeli find:


    But I'm probably wrong about both of these. I think my folly, however, may be instructive to those who think they know everything. The reality is that, in every science, we have just been presented with the smallest sliver of the piece of pie. So don't get too full of yourself and your scientific models. You may think you have it all figured out, but somebody, somewhere is going to repel down into a cave tomorrow and perhaps change the whole picture.
  7. Aug 27, 2016 #6


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    From the Denisovan cave in the Altai mountains comes this usable, 50,000 year old sewing needle. Also discussed is a bracelet, mysteriously said to have been fashioned in part with a high speed drill.

    The needle is seen as providing proof that the long-gone Denisovans - named after the cave - were more sophisticated than previously believed. Picture: Vesti




    The bracelet was carefully polished and grinded, with a heavy pendant added in the centre, probably hanging from a short leather strap. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya, Anastasia Abdulmanova

    The bracelet was discovered in 2008, and scientists have since suggested it showed the Denisovans to be more technologically advanced than Home sapiens or Neanderthals.

    Scientists found that a hole had been drilled in part of the bracelet with such precision that it could only have been done with a high-rotation drill similar to those used today.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
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