The Neanderthal Enigma

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The Neanderthal Enigma: 

The Neanderthal Enigma Homo neanderthalensis

Homo neanderthalensis Neandertals (ca. 200-32 kya): 

Homo neanderthalensis Neandertals (ca. 200-32 kya) Species restricted to Europe, eastern Middle East during height of Ice Age Evolved to be specifically cold-adapted: Short and stocky body type Large nose (nasal passages for warming air) Barrel chest (also for warming air) Long, low, thick skull but with large cranial capacity (1250-1750 cc) Heavy brow ridge


Maturation Neanderthals' teeth developed faster than their human cousins, new research has revealed. This may mean Neanderthals reached maturity at 15 years old, around three years earlier than our early human ancestors. By counting the number of rings in adult teeth, José Maria Bermudez de Castro of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, Spain, and Fernando Ramirez Rozzi at the CNRS centre for anthropological sciences in Paris, France, calculated that the Neanderthal's teeth developed 15 per cent faster than those of Cro-Magnon man.



Range of sites: 

Range of sites

Homo neanderthalensis Neandertals (ca. 200-32 kya): 

Homo neanderthalensis Neandertals (ca. 200-32 kya)

Forbes Quarry   Skull: 

Forbes Quarry   Skull ~The second Neanderthal specimen found.  ~Discovered at Gibraltar in 1848

Neanderthal 1   Cranium : 

Neanderthal 1   Cranium ~Discovered in 1856 in the Neander Valley, Germany ~Neanderthal 1 is the type specimen for Homo neanderthalensis

Amud, Israel: 

Amud, Israel Amud   Cranium ~Found at Amud, Israel in 1961 by a Japanese excavation team

Amud 7   Infant : 

Amud 7   Infant ~Found at Amud, Israel in 1961 by a Japanese excavation team

Dederiyeh   Partial Skeleton : 

Dederiyeh   Partial Skeleton ~By Takashi Oguchi, from Dederiyeh, Syria, and contains the remains of a 2-year old child

Kebara 2   Partial Skeleton: 

Kebara 2   Partial Skeleton ~Found in 1982 at Kebara Cave, Israel ~Dated to 60,000 years

Kebara 2 Skeleton (“Moshe”): 

Kebara 2 Skeleton (“Moshe”) The archaeological evidence seems to indicate that Moshe was indeed buried. He had been placed on his back in a shallow pit with his right arm placed across his chest and his left arm across his abdomen. Study of the skeleton suggests that Moshe was between the ages of 25 and 35 when he died. His death was apparently a result of natural causes as there is no evidence of violence or disease in his bones. Moshe was about 1.7 meters tall - a height that is taller than the average European Neanderthal.

Neandertal language: 

Neandertal language The most important part of this find, however, may be the fact that along with all of the other bones, a complete hyoid bone was found. Whether or not Neandertals possessed the ability to speak is a question that incites more furious debates than those on Neanderthal burials. This hyoid bone is identical to ours, thus suggesting that the Neanderthals shared our capacity for language.

La Ferrassie 1   Skull : 

La Ferrassie 1   Skull ~Found in 1909 at La Ferrassie, France ~Dated to 50,000 years

Le Moustier: 

Le Moustier This is the skull of a juvenile Neanderthal excavated form a cave site in 1909.

Using teeth as tools: 

Using teeth as tools

Not the “Cave Men” they were made out to be!: 

Not the “Cave Men” they were made out to be! First to bury dead First to create art on rocks and bone Elaborate Stone and Bone Tool technology Mousterian tools Some degree of altruism Old Man of La Chapelle Individual from Shanidar

Mousterian Tools: Period of stone tools associated with Neandertals: 

Mousterian Tools: Period of stone tools associated with Neandertals

Middle Paleolithic Tool Technology: 

Middle Paleolithic Tool Technology The Levallois Technique The Disk Core Technique

Burial at Tabun, Mt. Carmel, Israel: 

Burial at Tabun, Mt. Carmel, Israel

Shanidar 1: Eye Socket crushed-blinded in that eye: 

Shanidar 1: Eye Socket crushed-blinded in that eye

“Old Man” of La-Chapelle: 

“Old Man” of La-Chapelle

Old Man of La Chapelle: 

Old Man of La Chapelle The Old Man of La Chapelle, who dates to about 50,000 years ago, suffered from sever arthritis in his neck, had a deformed left hip, a crushed toe, a broken rib, and damaged patella. The fact that despite all of these ailments, this individual was able to survive indicates that he was cared for by other members of his clan.




mtDNA Genetic evidence from a comparison of human and Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) shows that while chimpanzee and human lineages diverged over five million years ago, the Neanderthals diverged over 550,000 to 690,000 years ago. Human trunk and limb bones of Homo antecessor , recovered from the Gran Dolina site, in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain) have been dated at about  780,000 old and are said to represent the last common ancestor for H. sapiens (modern humans) and H. neanderthalensis (Neanderthals) (Krings, 1999; Ovchinnikov, et al, 2000 Relethford, 2001)

Modern vs. Neandertal: 

Modern vs. Neandertal

Neanderthal vs. Modern: 

Neanderthal vs. Modern

Clone a Cave man?: 

Clone a Cave man? Svante Pabbo to reconstruct DNA by next year (2007). Would it be possible to clone the specimen? Should we?

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