Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Neanderthal extinction theories

Neanderthal extinction: Do they walk among us?

There are several theories about what happened to the Neanderthals:

Neanderthals were killed off - There is an interesting article in TIME on Shanidar 3, a Neanderthal who appears to have been killed by homo sapiens. Unfortunately, it’s bad science, since the rib of Shanidar 3 only shows a stone spear mark, with no evidence that it was inflicted by a modern man. It’s just as likely that Shanidar’s wife killed him . . .

Neanderthals Melded with Homo Sapiens - This the “Clan of the Cave Bears” theory that Neanderthals interbred with modern humans, becoming today's Europeans.

Neanderthals became natural extinct - Still others believe that the Neanderthals died off naturally.

Nothing happened - Neanderthals live among us - Some say that the Neanderthals moved to France, where they live today. Me, I believe that Neanderthals still walk among us, I’ve seen them with my own eyes.

Neanderthals are not just the stuff of Hollywood

The stocky build, low intelligence, excessive body hair, heavy brow, the receding forehead and chin, all Neanderthal features, which can still be seen today in some modern humans.

Some picture the 21st century Neanderthal as a cross between an Arab terrorist and Rosie O'Dnnell:

A 21st Century Neanderthal

I also saw a live Neanderthal on the streets of New York city, swear to God.

Neanderthals are not that different from French people

And I’ve seen a few Army soldiers who I suspected have Neanderthal blood:

There's crazy, and then there's Army crazy

Neanderthal descendents in Hokkaido?

It's hard not to stare at a living Neanderthal, but they exist. I took an advanced computer class with a real live Neanderthal in the 1980’s in Silicon Valley, and he had all of the classic Neanderthal features. Sadly, I did not have the guts to ask to take his picture.

However, I did manage to strunke up a chat, and he said that he was one from Hokkaido, incidentally, the home of the Minatogawa Man, where an Asian form of the Neanderthals has been found.

This article says that DNA studies suggest that natives Ainu people of Hokkaido have a mixture Mongoloid, Neanderthaloid, and Australoid blood. . . .

How did Neanderthals look?

With only skeletal remains, there is a debate about how a live Neanderthal would look. Some say that Neanderthals had African features, but I'm so so sure:

Do Neanderthals remain today?

This article suggests that Neanderthals were ginger, with bright red hair and freckles:

Some cite evidence that Neanderthals are ginger

Somewhere, there should be preserved Neanderthal hair, since Woolly Mammoth hair has been recovered from over 10,000 years ago. They have completed the Neanderthal genome, so it sould be interesting to see the new research on the subject . . .