Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why are Neanderthals not a race?

  1. Feb 24, 2015 #1
    2) If Neanderthals and Early homo sapiens (Cro-

    Magnon) could interbreed why are neanderthals considered a different

    (sub)species and not simply a race?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2015 #2

    Simon Bridge

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

  4. Feb 26, 2015 #3
    Actually I think that you quoted a bit outdated article, which does not include recent studies concerning mixing up between homo sapiens and Neanderthals:

    http://www.livescience.com/42933-humans-carry-20-percent-neanderthal-genes.html

    Which I consider as highly disrespectful for our Neanderthal ancestors :D
     
  5. Feb 26, 2015 #4
    Looking at the first post, I don't see where the answer to my question is. I stated that scientists proved that neanderthals and humans mated successfully. However, modern people of different races can mate successfully. Why then, are the neanderthals never classified as a race (in other words, as a member of our species - homo sapiens sapiens).
     
  6. Feb 26, 2015 #5

    Pythagorean

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Race is not species.
     
  7. Feb 26, 2015 #6
    That fact is true. Why are neanderthals called neanderthals and not homo sapiens sapiens?
     
  8. Feb 26, 2015 #7

    Pythagorean

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Because they "speciated" from humans. Or at least were in the process of it. Speciation isn't a binary condition.

    You might say that before speciation, a geographically isolated population is a race. Botanists use the word "variety" instead of race, I'm not sure what zoologists use to describe different varietes of, say, bear. I think race is exclusively a human term, but it appears analogous to "variety" in botany

    I assume you could say that variarion is the first step to speciation, but I'm not an expert.
     
  9. Feb 26, 2015 #8
    Because even though it was possible to mate, it wasn't happening often during millennia. So counted as "not mate under normal conditions". (lions and tigers could also have fertile offspring and it sometimes happens in circus, but we count them as separate species)

    Yes, distinction is somewhat arbitrary.
     
  10. Feb 26, 2015 #9
    Thank you so much. I use to think that the production of fertile offspring automatically means that the two animals belong to the same species, but I forgot about ligers and the fact of whether or not such mating occurs in nature or only in captivity.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Why are Neanderthals not a race?
  1. Redhead Neanderthals (Replies: 1)

Loading...