November 30, 2019

Where are all the Neaderthal?

Timothy Birdnow

Did Cro-Magnon Man exterminate the Neanderthals?

According to new research:

In their study, Vaesen and his team ran population simulations for Neanderthal societies of various starting sizes (from 50 individuals to 100, 500, 1,000, or 5,000), ignoring the hypothetical factor of competitive interactions with the direct ancestors of modern humans.

While the historical impact of that long-ago conflict was discounted, the researchers included in their simulation three elements known to have a big effect on small populations.

These included the impacts of inbreeding, Allee effects(a biological phenomenon where a small population reduces the average fitness of individuals in the group), and stochasticity: random demographic fluctuations in births, deaths, and sex ratio, which end up putting smaller groups at a disadvantage in terms of overall survival.

That and they interbred with the early Homo Sapiens. They simply could not afford to not reproduce with their own kind.

This research ignores the major factor of climate change in Europe; where the Cro-Magnon lived in warm and wet Africa the Neanderthals lived in Europe and the, uh, unusuually cold weather of the last Ice Age sure didn't help them survive. Cold is the real danger, not warming. And that without industrial particulates in the atmosphere! Oh, and the Ice Age didn't end because of all those Neanderthal autos. Fred Flintstone's foot-powered car just didn't emit enough CO2.

Oh, Here is something the English have been saying for centuries; the Irish and the Scots appear to possess higher levels of Neanderthal DNA than do most other peoples. According to the article:

Red hair may be the genetic legacy of Neanderthals, according to a new study by British scientists.
Researchers at the John Radcliffe Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford were quoted by The Times as saying the so-called "ginger gene" which gives people red hair, fair skin and freckles could be up to 100 000 years old.
They claim that their discovery points to the gene having originated in Neanderthal man who lived in Europe for 200 000 years before Homo sapien settlers, the ancestors of modern man, arrived from Africa about 40 000 years ago.
Rosalind Harding, the research team leader, told The Times: "The gene is certainly older than 50 000 years and it could be as old as 100 000 years.
"An explanation is that it comes from Neanderthals." It is estimated that at least 10 percent of Scots have red hair and a further 40 percent carry the gene responsible, which could account for their once fearsome reputation as fighters.
Neanderthals have been characterised as migrant hunters and violent cannibals who probably ate most of their meat raw. They were taller and stockier than Homo sapiens, but with shorter limbs, bigger faces and noses, receding chins and low foreheads.

Well, most of the women I dated called me a Neanderthal, and I do have a lot of Irish blood. My wife too, but then she's got a lot of English in her...

On the other hand, she's probably right. I certainly BEHAVE like a guy who just shuffled out of a cave.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 03:48 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 520 words, total size 4 kb.

1 Does that last explain your fondness for the OH, Tim?

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at November 30, 2019 10:14 AM (LVmqo)

2 I expect so, Dana. If I had a cave down there I wouldn't have bothered building a cabin...

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at November 30, 2019 10:52 AM (Av220)

3 But if you had a cave, Tim, you'd probably have had other animals sharing it with you, and that might have been a negative experience.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at November 30, 2019 11:22 AM (LVmqo)

4 True, Dana, but many of them are sharing the OH with me now, alas!  I've got mice, rats, wasps, and my snake friend.  On the other hand caves have bats - something I really hate. And a bear might find it cozy accommodations.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at December 01, 2019 07:16 AM (ItMSC)

5 Bats'll eat the mosquitoes that otherwise would eat you. I admit it's kind of spooky hearing bat wings fluttering overhead -- I shared an upstairs bedroom in a hunting cabin with a bat once years ago. But they won't bother humans.

Bears, on the other hand. . .

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at December 01, 2019 08:57 AM (eE7jE)

6 Many years ago I was walking through a park at night and a bat attacked me. I could hear it squeek and then it dove at me. I had to get a stick and play pinata with the damnable critter. Eventually I hit it a couple of good whacks and it left. I never knew if it was rabid or what, but I have always been more than careful about bats ever since.

I know they eat mosquitoes, but I just can't warm to the filthy flying vermin.

I don't much like bears either, or anything that can challenge my role as apex predator, but I at least know a bear won't eat me (unless he's really, really hungry.)

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at December 01, 2019 01:38 PM (GWhsQ)

7 Attacked by a bat in a park? Man, those parks in St. Looie must be something! I've never heard of such a thing! What were you wearing on your head? Or should I ask what were you doing in the park at the time?

Mebbe you were wearing earphones with screechy music playing through 'em?

As a kid I remember a friend of mine and myself going after bats in his backyard, with no success. We had bats in our neighborhood, and should have had enough sense to leave 'em alone to prey on the "skeeters." They never went after us.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at December 01, 2019 09:50 PM (1uSDQ)

8 I was a teenager and was coming home from a friends at night. I always cut through this park, which featured some  sheltered fields and a lot of woods. But it was a major time saver. I didn't have any music on or even a hat. Never did figure out what made the bat go after me. Maybe it thought it saw a mouse or something? It was prettty scary; a full moon night, so I could see it, and these BAT dive bombing me!

Another time in the same park I almost got mauled by some guys dogs; he apparently walked them off leash at night in that same park. Rottweilers. He had to run and grab them before they feasted on my flesh.  Then he was irritated with ME for being in the park at night!  What a jackass.

Teenagers often went there at night to drink beer or make out. I was hardly the only kid who used that place after dark.

I had a lot of memories from that place.  Before it became a park it was a part of a farm, and the farmer used to shoot salt from a shotgun at any kids he caught trespassing. Everyone did it anyway. I guess that's why he sold it to the county; he had no control over his own property, and the value was rising so when he got a good offer he took it.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at December 02, 2019 07:04 AM (rFgaF)

9 Very interesting article. In the Neanderthal period, musical instruments made of animal bones were already being used. The soprano recorder Thanks for this notes

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